This is a guest post from my friend Ana at They Call Me Blessed.
Homeschool mom burnout is much more common than you think. Here is why.
We are educating multiple children, running a house, driving kids to lessons, volunteering in church, some of us are working outside the house or working from home as well. We are doing it all! The cycle never ends, day in and day out, 24/7, 365.
We are falling into the trap of being busy and doing more so easily in this generation. We are proud to be multi taskers but we’re rarely able to keep focus in only one place. Our brain is everywhere. Yes, we get the job done but the end result is purely physical and mental exhaustion!
Two years ago, I burned out completely and I ended up at the hospital over 10 times. The diagnostic? Stress!
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I knew I had been dragging my exhaustion for far too long and I kept pushing harder and harder until I reached my breaking point. With that, came panic attacks, depression and a lot of other physical issues. It didn’t happen overnight. I saw it coming, little-by-little.
At that time, I was homeschooling my three kids while also working 40-60 hours a week as a pastor and certified health coach. See the irony in it? I burned out because I was too busy taking care of other people and I completely neglected myself. My plate was overflowing but my church was cared for, my family was cared for, and I was falling apart. Can you relate to it?
The Consequences of Homeschool Mom Burnout
I blamed myself, day and night while my health, our finances, and even our marriage was falling apart.
All I felt was shame and condemnation. That brought me to isolation. Isolation, shame, and guilt brought me to depression. I became so depressed I started to question God’s calling in my life. Yes, me a pastor. A preacher of the Word of God. An inspirational speaker. Trapped in a dark tunnel where I couldn’t see an end to it.
Spiritually I couldn’t even pray out loud. Mentally I was a mess. Physically, I had no strength in my body to even cook a meal for my kids and had to rely on friends to help us daily, even with homeschooling. My kids’ stress watching me caused my son to vomit constantly and my daughter to pull her hair in her sleep. It was so heartbreaking!
I honestly did not know how I would reverse the damages I caused myself and my family. These were the worst days of my life. I wrote about how this culture of hustle has burned me out in my blog.
It wasn’t just working or homeschooling that caused me to burn out. Yes, sure we’d like to blame on it, but the real cause of homeschool mom burnout is the neglect of ourselves and the incapacity of saying no. We just keep adding to the plate.
If you are reading this, chances are, you’re feeling also exhausted and afraid of burning out. Perhaps you are even thinking about quitting homeschooling. I’m so glad you are here! Friend, don’t give up! There is hope!
God rose me up from the ashes. The road to restoration was harder than I thought. But He restored my life and gave me a new mission: to help other moms heal and turn their lives around, from stressed to blessed!
6 Steps to Reverse Homeschool Mom Burnout:
1 – Pray
When I couldn’t pray out loud, I prayed in the Spirit. Even though I had no strength and even my faith felt weak at that time, I knew God was with me, I knew He was listening to my prayers. I could give you many Bible verses to remind you of the power of prayer but this is the one that kept coming to my mind.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26
You have an intercessor when you do not know where to begin and what to pray for. Any way you can pray be certain that your prayers are powerful and effective! He is going to listen and answer your prayers. Above all else, pray the Word of God because it never turns back void but it produces what was sent to accomplish (Is. 55:11).
Go to the Lord! Speak to Him. Pour your heart and sorrows in His presence. Meditate on and declare His Word. Jesus is calling you to come to Him just as you are, where you are. His Word is life (John 6:63), a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Psalm 119:105). As you begin to pray, directions will come, clarity will come, and healing will come.
2 -Find Someone To Talk To
One of the traps of the enemy is to isolate us and keep us covered in shame and guilt. Of course, I did not want anyone to see me in that mess. Of course, I wanted to keep acting like everything was normal to my friends when it really wasn’t.
But let me tell you this, the day I call my friend over to my house and told her everything that was happening – healing began to happen! I felt such a relief in my chest. She prayed with me, she kept visiting me and she kept encouraging me. I was not alone. I broke through the trap of isolation and the chains of misery Satan was trying to keep me on.
She could associate with my stress and struggle. I also sought counseling and began to share with other moms in my circle. More and more other moms going silently through the same began to open up to me and we began to pray, have Bible studies together, and encourage one another.
3 – Learn to Say NO
The first reason we burn out is that we neglect ourselves. But the second reason is that we don’t know how to say no to others! In Portuguese, we have a saying: “we want to whistle and chew sugar cane at the same time.” We are addicted to busy. We want to do it all and that’s when stress comes in.
We need to learn our limits and create healthy boundaries in our lives. At first, people who are not used to it may find strange, especially if they don’t know what is happening to you. But believe me, this will not only give you immediate relief but also will produce major benefits in the long haul.
When someone asks you to bake a pie for an event, just say no! It might sound heartless, but if you don’t learn to say no now, you will fall back into the same trap or being busy and overwhelmed. I had to learn to say no even to myself!
In order to reverse mom burnout, you need to avoid any stress you can. You have the choice and the power to say no!
4 – Put Yourself First
Girl, if you don’t care for yourself, who will? And if you burn out, who will care for your family? I’ve learned my lesson the hard way so you don’t have to go through the same things I did. You come first! God said we should love others as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31).
Put your oxygen mask on before you try to save other lives out there, shall you? Look for ways to help you relax. For me what helps me is setting some time aside for Bible journaling on my own or with friends, putting some worship songs around the house while diffusing some essential oils to unwind and breathe. Some times it just laying down for 30 minutes while I send the kids to their room for quiet time.
What would help you relax and recharge? Will that be spending time with God, taking a nap, having coffee with friends?
Today, I block the first hour of my day to spend time with God, pray and care for myself. I pump the K-Love app on my phone out loud while I wash my face and get dressed. This prepares me and get me excited for what’s ahead. Sometimes I don’t leave my room and start homeschooling until 10 am, and it is ok. I know I will be a much better mom and wife after spending my first hour of the day alone.
5 – Cut Back on Your Schedule
Cancel everything in your agenda for as long as you need to rest. I mean it! You deserve a break and you need to rest. Take a homeschool break if you need to. Go for a year of unschooling, why not? Help your kids be independent learners. Don’t sign up to volunteer at every church event. Cut back on your schedule as much as you can.
While I was recovering, I took my kids off swimming, ice skating, piano lessons, and co-op. What a relief! We still did all the fun things, but we did together as a family. This gave me a blank agenda with plenty of margins to rest and focus on my health and my family which consequently, filled me with peace.
Today, I am a master of my time with plenty of margins to breathe, care for my house, homeschool my kids, encourage other moms and enjoy my family. I would love to teach you how to manage your time as a homeschool mom and create your ideal week schedule. Check out my free video and template here.
6 – Add Flexibility to Your Homeschool
Let’s finally talk about how to make things easier in our homeschool. I couldn’t deal with the homeschooling topic until I dealt with the other causes of mom burnout.
There are many ways that have helped me immensely in my homeschool to avoid stress and overwhelm. The main one was to add flexibility to our homeschool. First, I had to transition from being a type A homeschool mom to becoming a more flexible homeschool mom. And here is how it looks like:
Plan for a Flexible Homeschool Year
Homeschooling year round allow us to stretch our curriculum and take breaks more often. We can work as fast or as slow as we want, taking time to create memories, dive deeper into our favorite subjects and find beauty and wonder in what we are learning. When we finish the curriculum, we finish the year. Everything is unhurried. We do less but we do better.
Some homeschool families add a Sabbatical week every 7 weeks, taking a complete break after every 6 weeks of homeschool. I think it is brilliant! And I think I will be trying this method this year.
Adopt a Flexible Homeschool Schedule
We follow our family rhythms and routine instead of a set schedule, even though I have one but just as a guideline. I never plan when we will be done with school. When we finish the curriculum, we finish. Everything we do is unhurried to avoid stress and overwhelm.
I stopped overscheduling and overworking my myself and my children. We adopted the model: “do less but do better” and I can see how my kids retain more of our learning time. Today I simplify our homeschool as much as I can by grouping my children to teach, learning at our own pace and adopting a loop schedule.
Ready to reverse your homeschool mom burnout and find joy again in homeschooling?
I hope my story speaks to your heart and that you will take heed of my advice. It’s never too late to slow down and avoid or reverse homeschool mom burnout.
My desire is that you will find peace, joy, and fulfillment in homeschooling your children. That you will find yourself present in their presence wholly and counting every blessing.
No more homeschool mom burnout! I promise.
Don’t forget to grab your free copy of “10 Habits of a Highly Encouraged Mom”!
Here is a little something to help you avoid the homeschool burnout and become a highly encouraged mom instead!
10 Habits of a Highly Encouraged Mom
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Hi. I’m Ana, the unrushed homeschooling mom of 3, wife, mompreneur and blogger. I am a proud Sonlight Curriculum ambassador, Illustrated Faith Bible journaling addicted and a messenger of the Good News! I love to encourage, inspire and empower moms to go from stressed to blessed one day at a time.