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As moms we are very busy, aren’t we? Your days are filled with cooking meals, cleaning up one mess after another, organizing kids activities and if you’re also a homeschooling mom you’re also trying to squeeze in lessons and learning throughout the day. Sometimes it can feel like we are spinning in circles, doesn’t it?
The truth is yes we need to make caring for our families a priority but we also need to take care of ourselves!
I know, I know you’re thinking but I don’t have TIME to read that inspirational book, I don’t have time to relax, I don’t have time to exercise.
But the truth is, it isn’t because we don’t have the time needed to do these things, it’s because we feel guilty taking time for ourselves.
Yes, our time is precious, we are busy from morning till night and if you have young children you’re probably up a lot at night too.
I understand! I still have young children and at one time I had a house full under age 5, it’s a busy time. But as mothers and wives we need our sanity to keep caring for our families the best we can.
So please don’t forget to find a little time for yourself each day and most of all don’t feel guilty for it. If that guilt sneaks in you’ll end up feeling worse and not feeling refreshed.
Tips For Finding Time For Yourself
Setting Up Your Day For Your Personality
I’m an introvert and homeschool 6 kids. Yeah, are you laughing right now? LOL
Realistically this means my home is noisy and busy and this can really drain my energy fast. I was always thinking about all the projects I wanted to work on if I just had more time and quiet. My time management was terrible, I’m a go with the flow type of person and schedules just do not work for me.
But, I learned that if I don’t manage my time right I would never have any peace.
I’ve tried many schedules over the years and they would work ok for a day or two and then flop. Why? Because I was trying to fit someone else’s schedule into my day. Sure you can find great inspiration online for scheduling your day but remember it is YOUR day.
THE RIGHT SIDE OF NORMALThe Big What Now Book of Learning Styles
As I learned more about my personality type and the personality types of my children I came to understand that a fixed time schedule will just never work well for us. What we needed was a routine.
We are each individuals and it’s about finding a rhythm that works well for you and your family.
The first thing I did was take a good long look at what curriculum we were using. I needed to see if it was working with or against the routine I wanted to build. Was there any curriculum that was just taking too long to teach or required to much prep work?
Things that you want to consider are:
Is it an individual grade or group curriculum?
Can it be used independently by your kids?
Does it fit with your teaching style?
Does it fit with your child’s learning style?
Is there an audio version?
Is there an online version?
When my children were younger I found it helped a lot to use as much multi grade level group curriculum as I could. This gave me a flexible framework to build on. We would all learn about 1 common topic but I could let my children pick independent activities based on their unique interests.
One of our favourite history books for young children is The Story of the World. I love reading these books aloud but I found it was more practical to use the audio versions.
Guess what? My kids loved them! We could listen to our history lessons while we worked on projects from the activity guide. If we were in a hurry we could play them in the car or take the lessons outside easily with a laptop or stereo.
What child wouldn’t love to listen to an audio story about pyramids while building one in the sand box!
I still read aloud to my children but taking advantage of online videos and audio books opened up a lot of free time, since it made our lesson times faster.
Get A Homeschool Morning Routine Going
One of the biggest steps to keeping my sanity is to get a morning routine going.
Now, I already said that schedules just don’t work for our family but a routine is different. It’s more of a flow pattern. When I set this up I intentionally worked in some small quiet time breaks.
This is the current morning routine that I use.
When we get up in the morning I have coffee time with my hubby. This didn’t work when all of my children were younger but now that we have teens who love to cook they enjoy making breakfast.
While they are making a quick breakfast (toast and eggs or cereal) hubby and I can have 15 to 20 minutes to enjoy a coffee and go over our plans for the day.
This puts me in a calmer mood right off the start and we know what activities need to be tackled that day.
After breakfast we finish up the chores and then start our lessons.
I like to do group work first and will often start with Bible study and family read alouds making sure to include some fun stories for my younger children.
After this is finished we take a 15 minute break. Then my older children start on their independent work for the next few hours and I help my younger children with their math and reading.
When we are finished it’s time for lunch and our afternoons are used for quiet time and finishing up projects.
This routine works well for us but each family is different. Take some time to see how your family works best and build around that.
Questions to think about
Do your children learn better in the morning or afternoon?
Do you need quiet time first thing in the morning or the afternoon?
Do your children do group activities together without fighting?
Do your children work better alone?
Answering these questions will help you understand what type of routine will work best for your family.
Building Quiet Time Into Your Day
Quiet time is something I made a fixed part of our day. I started slowly with just 30 minutes in the early afternoon. That was a perfect starting time with younger children.
After the lunch chores were done everyone had 30 minutes of quiet time with a short list of activities to choose from. This was normally silent reading or craft projects.
During this time I would relax with a coffee and catch up on emails and other online work.
As my children grew older I started extending this time to 1 hour and later 2 hours of quiet time. Although naturally the activities during that time have changed. Older children can catch up on lessons, read books of their own interests or work on more involved projects.
The important part is that during this time everyone needs to be as quiet as possible so that they aren’t disturbing each other. Since many of my children are also introverts they find this time very refreshing.
I make use of this time to work on garden projects, online work or just read and enjoy the quiet for a little while.
Getting Up Early
If you are a morning person, you might find that getting up early in the morning will give you the quiet time to yourself that you need.
Start getting up 1 to 2 hours before your children do. Take your quiet time to get cleaned up, enjoy a cup of coffee or start working on a new project.
If you’re a morning person and your kid’s are not, this will often work the best for you.
Staying Up Late
I know, I know, I just told you to get up early right? Well that’s only for morning people and I’m not one of them.
Oh, sure I used to be a morning person. I loved waking up at 5 am to have my quiet time. Then I became a mother… I’m still up often at night with my youngest so getting up early just doesn’t work well for me right now.
My children all take after their daddy, they are night owls. So it works better for us to stay up a little later and sleep in a bit in the mornings.
But instead of just surfing the web or flicking TV channels put those late hours to good work!
The late evening is my favourite time to work on writing projects, craft projects or hey just go for a walk.
Hire A Babysitter
If you need some out of the house time find a babysitter you trust and higher them to watch your kids for an afternoon.
You can meet a friend for coffee, take a class, or head to the gym. Your kids will be safe and having fun while you get a few hours of quiet.
Setting Up Playdates
Find a friend or a few friends who would like to setup playdates. You can take turns having each others children over to play for an afternoon giving the other a few hours out of the house to have some alone time.
While you might think that bringing more children into your home will increase the chaos it actually has the opposite effect. Children will often play games longer and quieter when they have friends over. When it’s your turn for an afternoon off you can relax knowing a good friend is caring for your children and they are having a lot of fun!
When I really needed some quiet time hiring a sitter wasn’t a good option for us being in such a rural area. So my hubby started making sure he spent extra daddy time with our kids.
While we always spend lots of time together as a family, learning not to feel guilty for having my husband take the kids to the park, play outside or watch a movie together without me is an important step.
Your kids are having fun with their dad so make sure you’re enjoying your free time also!
You can use the time to work on projects at home or head out to the library, gym, or take a class to learn a new hobby.
TV and Computer Time
While I don’t use electronic devices all day they can be a real lifesaver when I’m desperate for some time to myself.
You can let your children play some fun games on the computer or let them watch their favourite shows for a while. Suddenly you have an hour or so of quiet time and your kids are busy and staying out of trouble while you have some time to rest or enjoy a hobby.
Understanding What You Need
Taking time for yourself isn’t selfish. There is a big difference between wanting to be away from your family all the time and just needing some time to refresh your mind.
Often we don’t need hours alone each day if we can just get 15 minutes a few times a day. It’s when we try to take that breather and are constantly interrupted that we feel worse.
Use what you have to get some preplanned quiet time each day, even if it means turning the TV on for a little while. Sit down, relax, read something that inspires you and then turn the TV off and have fun with your kids.
Need more ideas? Check out these tips for when you feel overwhelmed as a homeschool mom.
What is your favourite way to work some quiet time into your day?