Do you feel ever feel overwhelmed with all the responsibilities you have in a given day?Are there just not enough hours in the day to get everything done? Do you fall into bed exhausted and wake up feeling like you just need another hour of sleep?
I think most moms feel this way at various points in their lives. But as moms we can also get in a vicious cycle of busyness, trying to do more than we really should be doing, trying to be “Supermom”.
Being a mom is a big job! You’re care-giver, housekeeper, nurse, cook, counselor, disciplinarian (or referee, depending on the day!), chauffeur, and more! And that doesn’t even include your responsibilities as a wife!
Being a homeschool mom adds a whole new level of busyness and pressure. Depending on how many children you have, homeschooling really is like a part-time to a full-time job. And some homeschooling moms are working outside the home as well! Many homeschool moms end up volunteering at church or in their homeschool co-op too, and their lives are very, very full, making stress levels sky high!
About 10 years ago, we were in the midst of homeschooling all four of our children who were in the middle school and high school years. I was also volunteering in several ministry areas in our new church plant, I was co-teaching a class at our homeschool co-op and teaching water aerobics at the YMCA part-time. (I get tired just reading what I was doing!) I sensed God was leading me to slow down and drop some of my responsibilities so I wasn’t so busy, but I didn’t think that I could quit any of what I was doing. My husband was telling me I was too busy too. Finally my body said “Enough!” and I became quite sick with what they thought at the time was a chronic autoimmune condition. Suddenly I could do almost nothing without becoming weak and exhausted. I couldn’t even cook my family a meal without needing to lie down part way through the process.
I share this story with you because God used it in big ways to get me to see that I was doing too much. I not only paid for it with my health, but my family was paying for it in other ways too. I didn’t even realize how much it had affected our marriage, plus our children were getting the short end of the deal with my time too. As God worked in my heart, He also restored my health… but it was a long, difficult process and I want to share the lessons learned with you so you don’t have to go through something similar to learn the same lessons!
As moms, we need to learn to have boundaries with our time. Here are some suggestions for you to consider as you think about how you use your time each day:
- Think through your priorities – write them out. For me, God is first in my life, then my husband and my children. Next was homeschooling our children, my health, my extended family, my friends and finally ministry. (This was not the way it was before I got sick!) Spending time with God each day, gaining strength and peace from Him, makes a huge difference on how each day goes for me! Also, if you don’t make your husband a high priority, the other urgent things in life will push him down on your list quite quickly. Certainly there has to be flexibility in your priorities at times, but if you think through them ahead of time, it’s much easier to say “no” to some things that will come up that you need to hold off on doing.
- Pray and seek the Lord’s guidance before you commit to anything more in your schedule. When someone asks you to do something for them, tell them you need to pray and think about it before committing. Learn to say “no” if God leads you to do so. Some people struggle more with being able to say “no” than others. Friends often think that moms who are staying at home with their children have extra time on their hands, but that frequently isn’t the case. Especially when you’re a homeschooling mom, it’s important to set boundaries on when you need to be doing school, and seek God’s direction when you’re asked to be involved in an activity that requires a lot of your time (or any activity for that matter, even if it’s only a little bit of your time!) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your steps.” Proverbs 3:5-6
- Pray and seek God’s guidance on your children’s commitments too. In our society, we get a lot of pressure to have our kids involved in so many activities such as sports, music lessons, and so on. Our children can get burned out too if they have too much going on and they don’t get enough time to play and rest. Besides, everything your child is involved in means you have to get them there! I’d suggest that you let each child have only one activity that they’re involved in (it’s even better if you can have more than one child in the same activity!) and if you feel you can handle more, then consider allowing more for each child.
- Don’t forget to take care of yourself! As moms we’re so busy taking care of everyone else, we often neglect our own needs. Take time for exercise, for eating healthy, for rest and doing things you enjoy, for going to the doctor or chiropractor or whatever you need. Know your limits as far as what you can handle without getting run down.
- Listen to your husband regarding your commitments outside of the home. If he cautions you that you’re too busy, then you probably are! They can see more clearly than we can what we can handle sometimes. Plus, if your husband says you’re too busy, that’s an indication that he’s feeling neglected, and that will not be good for your marriage.
- Delegate household chores: it’s good for your children to be helping with chores around the house. They’re learning life skills that they’ll need when they grow up, plus it helps build responsibility and other great character qualities. Even little ones can help with sorting silverware and socks, putting away their toys, etc. Build independence in your children by teaching them to help and also do things for themselves.
- Limit your time on social media, the internet, etc. I hesitated to put this one in here but actually social media puts a lot of pressure on us whether we know it or not. It’s nice to know what’s happening in our friend’s lives, but sometimes it fills our mind to overflow knowing everyone’s business! We feel like we need to be posting or responding to posts, and this can add pressure to an already full day. Social media is also another place where we can often begin to compare ourselves with others, and usually there’s someone that we don’t measure up to, so we begin the game of trying to be “more like Susie” or whichever supermom we decide we want to be like! And lastly, there’s always the fact that the internet and social media can suck us in and waste a lot of precious time that we could be spending with our husband and family.
- Don’t compare yourselves and your family to others! There’s such a temptation in our society to compare ourselves with others, and to try to keep up with what others are doing. But God created us to be ourselves! We don’t need to be like anyone else, and we shouldn’t try to be anything more than what God has called us to be!
- Change curriculum or your homeschool schedule if needed: sometimes we can feel overwhelmed because we get curriculum that is way too teacher intensive and we find we just can’t balance doing school and getting everything else done that we need to do. If you’re teaching multiple children and it seems like you can’t get everything done for school in a given day, or you feel pulled in too many directions, you may need to change your curriculum or schedule. Evaluate your curriculum and schedule. Talk with your husband about this if you think this is an issue in your home.
- If you’re already overcommitted, be willing to ask for help: First, pray for guidance on what needs to change in your schedule. Ask your family for help too. Ask your husband to help you figure out what needs to go in your schedule to make life less stressful. It’s okay to admit you need help and it’s okay to step down from doing things that are putting you into “supermom” mode and causing you too much stress.
May the Lord bless you and guide you as you homeschool your children! May He help you to find balance in your life and help you to guard against the “supermom” syndrome of overcommitment.