Can homeschool moms do it all? Many think we can, sometimes we think we can, but the truth of the matter is we don’t have to! So, stop believing the lie.
I like to regularly poll my readers because I think knowing what YOU all are going through in the trenches is important. It lets me know how to help you, what you need to be encouraged with, and honestly makes ME feel like I’m not alone.
However, one common theme that I have noticed through the years that rubs me the wrong way is this assumption that homeschool moms can do it all. It’s like we think that we can work at home, take care of the kids, run the errands, keep the house clean AND homeschool our kids. Does anyone else feel this way? Then, when we don’t, we feel like a big fat failure.
I hate feeling like a failure. I often get asked how I do it all. And, when I do, I laugh because moms let me tell you I DON’T do it all. Balance and I don’t always mesh. I promise!
When I first became a work from home mom, it was as a childcare provider. I really had no clue what I was getting into. My house was a disaster a lot of times; I had a new baby and was overwhelmed. I realized a few things were going to have to change if I was going to keep it all up. Once I felt like we were in a good rhythm I began homeschooling, and that changed the ball game all over again! Then, the boy came along and let’s just say havoc ensued. Regardless though, the methods are the same. Here is how I am attempting (imperfectly) to balance it all.
But, through it all, I have attempted to balance as much as I can. I have attempted to do it as well as I can. And each new season has led me down a similar path. The path of figuring out how to “do it all”. And each time the basic methods of attempting this balance has been the same. Regardless though, the methods are the same. Here is how I am attempting (imperfectly) to balance it all.
Here are some time management tips and strategies that can help you balance time more efficiently
I Always Have a Daily Routine
The first thing I do when a new season comes upon our home is come up with a daily routine. Now, not everyone likes routines, I know this. But really, they help! Yours doesn’t have to look like mine; the point is to find one that works for you.
When I try to get into a new routine, I write down how I want my days to look. Then, I post it everywhere! On my desk, on the fridge, on my bulletin board, anywhere I may look throughout the day. This keeps me on track and helps establish a new pattern to my day.
Mine has changed many times over the years. We began to homeschool, my job has changed, and my children have gotten older. Routines change, so tweak yours, as you need too.
I Keep Work and School Hours
I cannot stress this enough! If you work from home, the easiest way to disrupt your day is to allow work to step in during times when you are NOT supposed to be working. I used to fall into this pattern way too often. But, having a separate workspace, and work email have made me step back and do a LOT better at keeping work hours.
If you work from home and are struggling with balancing your time, ask yourself what do you want your work hours to be? For me it is first thing in the morning, and occasionally evenings. Set your work hours and stick to it.
Another area where you NEED to stay firm is your homeschool hours. When do you plan on homeschooling? Write it down. Post it. During this time turn off your phone. Eliminate distractions. It is SO easy to push school aside, lunchtime roll around and never even open up a book. Why is this? Because we don’t make homeschooling a priority. If NOTHING else gets done in a day, SCHOOL should be one thing you mark off of your to-do list.
I Seek Help
Having help does not mean you are a failure, it means you are admitting that you can NOT “do it all” and you shouldn’t have to! During my busy years of daycare, and while I was new to homeschooling I hired someone to come in and help me one day a week for two summers. This was worth every single penny. It gave me sanity and allowed me to get much-needed work done around the house. A few years later I did it again when I had a newborn. A teen from our church came over twice a month and did messy art projects with the girls for Art class. They got their Art credits in, and I got some one on one time with my baby.
If you are overwhelmed trying to do it all, chances are you are doing too much. Please, consider seeking out help! This is an important part of time management skills. If you can’t afford to hire someone, offer to swap childcare with a friend one day a week. This is a win/win situation for both of you!
I Train My Children to Help and Work Independently
Now that my girls are older they are a HUGE help around the house. We began training them in household chores around the age of three. My oldest can now wash and dry clothes, cook simple meals and babysit. My middle can fold and put away clothes, empty dishwasher, and dust. They both have taken over some of the basic household responsibilities. They each have chores they must do every day. This helps me, and it helps them! Training our children to work is an important job. If we don’t teach them to do these basic tasks who will? Also, it teaches them much needed responsibility.
If you homeschool, I also recommend you teach your children to work independently. This will free you up time to work, get chores done, or care for younger children. There are many independent programs out there, so look around, read reviews, and find one that works for you.
I Say NO (and don’t feel guilty for it)!
If you regularly say yes to babysitting a friends child, taking on a mid-day volunteer project, or running errands for your inlaws I want you to do me a favor. Stop what you’re doing and look in the mirror. Now, say NO. Try it again. With more UMPH. NO!
Okay, good job. Because, here’s the thing, we cannot say YES to tasks that take away from our homes, our kids, and our number one job-homeschooling. Remind yourself that when you say YES to something you are saying NO to something else. What are you saying no to?
Are you saying no to your husband because you now have to work after the kids are in bed.
What about your kids because you are grumpy for running too much?
Your child’s education because you missed a day of school. Again.
Homemaking because those floors aren’t going to mop themselves.
Managing your money, because being too busy means less time for cooking at home.
What is more important? Doing it all? Or your family. Again, practice saying no. You can do it. I promise. Once I started saying no I felt so much freer. I was more joyful. My to-do list got done a lot more often, and my kids were much happier. Remember what your priorities are. Keep them. And then, when you say YES to something you will know it’s because it is the best YES you can give.
As homeschool moms, we have many hats to wear. The idea of “doing it all” is one that is not realistic. In reality, we can’t do it all, and we definitely can’t have it all. We can, however, find a balance and better time management and work-life balance which in turn will help us successfully (most of the time) run our homes, teach our children, and complete our jobs.
What do you think? Can a homeschool mom do it all?
- Surviving Marriage and Motherhood
- Time Management Tips for Busy Moms
- Getting it All Done: Managing Your Time as a Homeschool Mom
Are you trying to balance time as a work at home, homeschool mom? Check out my book Schooling at Home, While Working at Home.