Real Life Work

Healthy Working Homeschool Mom – Part 1

These last several months while writing the Working Homeschool Moms Series, I have noticed a trend with every post…well more specifically, with the comments section. Maybe you’ve noticed too. There are actually quite a few of us! Are you surprised to see so many other moms living the homeschool life while working, just like you? I have found so much encouragement from all of you awesome people, and today I want to remind you that you can find encouragement with Hip Homeschool Moms as well. For the next few posts I want to write about us, the moms – focusing on what it means to be a healthy working homeschool mom.

Do you work and homeschool?  Check out our working homeschool moms resource page that contains more articles about how to balance homeschooling and working.

Working Homeschool Mom

Other than seeing that there are a ton of us working homeschool moms out there, I’ve also seen another common theme. Generally, we do a lot no matter how many hours a week we put in at the office (or whereever else we work). To put it bluntly, we are a worn out group of chicks….well, at least I am sometimes. But, we see homeschool as the best option (or the only option) for our family. We continue day in and day out working, schooling, managing the home, etc. Many of us also have different physical struggles ranging from just plain old exhaustion to more debilitating things like adrenal fatigue or other more serious medical ailments. But we keep on because that’s what we do. How long do you think you can continue to work so hard before you crash? Is there a way to do work and school and be a mom and a wife (or a single parent) while also taking care of you? Yes, there is a way…or at least, we need to make a way. In my experience, letting God make the way seems to be the biggest help. We seriously need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of everything else around us. If we neglect us, we set ourselves up for failure. We will no longer be effective.

Working Homeschool Mom

Below are some things I want you to ponder this month.

  • What are you feeding your mind and spirit?
  • How much do you sleep? Can you sleep?
  • Is coffee the best part of your day?
  • What are you eating?
  • Do you get enough water?
  • Is your physical activity up to par for overall fitness, or does exercise consist of walking to your car in the morning?
  • Do you ever have quiet time just for you – pure quiet?
  • Do you have time for socializing and hobbies?
  • What about friends or a support system?
  • How much are you working?
  • Do you have balance in life?

If you are finding it hard to address areas of healthy living, then you must make some changes. Burnout will not be too far off if we ignore our needs. Not only will you, your family, your marriage, and your school suffer, but so will your employment and ultimately your health. Homeschooling while working can be a great combination, but we need to make sure we are fit before we can accomplish this important task. Sometimes I think of my time like a game of Tetris. It is an art to manage the life of a working homeschool mom. It takes practice, but over time it does get easier. When shooting for a healthy lifestyle in a fast-paced season, we need to set priorities, chipping away at one or two issues at a time. Look at those questions I asked earlier. What two issues do you think you struggle with the most? I want to challenge you to set two personal goals this month. Here are my two goals for the month:

#1

  • For me, admittedly, my spiritual life does need some work. I forgo Bible time and prayer more than I should. If I could just get out of bed early and spend some time in the Word before my little people are up and about, my perspective on the whole day would be much different. I know I would have more enthusiasm, patience, kindness, and so many other positive characteristics if I let God start my day.

#2

  • That leaves my second priority. Sleep. I don’t get a lot of it. I drink a ton of coffee because of this, which only extends my sleep problems. Sometimes I go to work on 5 hours…or less. I like to stay up late because it is that one time of day that I can be me and hang out with the husband (or write). I don’t have people following me to the bathroom or hanging on my leg demanding all sorts of things. I can relax. Unfortunately, the choice to stay up late messes me up for the next day when I have to hit my snooze button for an hour.

How do I accomplish these two goals? Well, the spiritual part is straight forward – GET OUT OF BED and spend time with the Lord. But what about this sleep thing? Are you like me? If so, we both have some work to do. In this in-depth article at the Sleep Foundation, many areas of sleep are brought up including how much sleep we need, why we need sleep, and how to get more sleep. It’s a good read if you have the time. 😉

To sum it up, lacking in sleep, or more specifically, having a chronic lack of sleep, is going to affect every part of your life. It is going to change the way you react, your patience, your efficiency and memory, your health, your overall happiness, and it will even affect those around you. It causes stress on your body in so many ways which will only cause more problems like chronic fatigue, hormone issues, and depression just to name a few. It also makes you look older faster (okay I made that last part up, but I bet it does).

Sleep is very important, as is general rest. It is rejuvenating. You literally NEED it. You must have it to live. And even God says to rest…just not be lazy. There is a difference. So what can we do as working homeschool moms? How do we get that recommended 7-8 hours of sleep when it seems as though our clocks need to run on 36 hours instead of 24?

Working Homeschool Mom

  1. Consider actually scheduling sleep. Schedule a bedtime routine and a morning routine with the goal of keeping it somewhat similar to other days.
  1. Chisel away at interferences to sleep and rest like OD’ing on caffeine during the day, lack of exercise, worry, depression, poor diet, stress, etc.
  1. Instead of setting the alarm early so the snooze can be pushed, set it to when it really needs to go off. That way all of the best sleep can be obtained.
  1. Make the bedroom an oasis. Keep it cool and clutter free. Simplify it as much as possible. Limit electronics. Use essential oils and even an air purifier (this makes great white noise). Make it like a spa (I so need to do this). Invest in a good mattress and pillows. Waking up with a sore or stiff back means it might be time for a new mattress. Satin sheets are a must! Splurge, you earned it!
  1. Address issues that may be keeping you up at night. If anger is your issue, give it to God. If worry is your issue, give it to God. Whatever is keeping you up, just give it to God. Go to sleep knowing that God loves you like you love your precious children – but even more. He wants the best for you and will help you through any trouble you have. Don’t worry about anything. It’s not like you can solve your problems while sleep deprived and in the dark.
  1. Drink tea like Sleepy Time, Stress or Tension reducer, and chamomile before bed. Take baths with lavender oil and Epson salts or other essential oils. Learn how to do deep breathing or meditation-like exercises. And if all else fails, take something to help you sleep like homeopathic supplements found in the organic section. I don’t typically advocate for sleep medicine, but if you are truly having problems with insomnia or even depression that you cannot beat, you should talk to your doctor. Sometimes we can get into an endless cycle, and we just need a nudge to get out of it. A naturopath may have some healthy alternatives.
  1. And just as a disclaimer, alcohol will not help anyone sleep…or at least one won’t stay asleep. Alcohol can greatly affect sleep quality. I am not against enjoying a drink here and there, but don’t get into the habit of using this as a stress reducer or to help you fall asleep. It will have the opposite effect.

Do you work and homeschool?  Check out our working homeschool moms resource page that contains more articles about how to balance homeschooling and working.

As a working homeschool mom, do you feel like you are taking care of yourself? Do you feel healthy or rundown? How is your sleep? What kinds of things do you do to get the sleep you need? Are there other areas of overall health that you feel you need to work on? Please share in the comments. What are those two goals of yours? 

FDA disclaimer for posts with info about supplements Oct 2014

About the author

Heather

Heather is a Christian gal who lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she married her high school sweetheart in 2001. She has 3 children ranging in ages from 4-12. Asperger's and sensory processing issues are also in the mix. At this time, Sonlight is their main curriculum which Heather and her husband find nice for the working homeschool family. Heather juggles the responsibilities of being a part-time RN and police officer's wife. She has a reputation of creating kitchen disasters, but loves collecting new recipes and learning about natural, holistic living. Also in the family is a bunch of animals like chickens, goats, a few dogs, and cats....

2 Comments

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  • Gosh I think the one thing I don’t get is sleep. Although to be honest it has nothing to do with the homeschooling it’s just me. I am rather hyper and always have to battle a racing mind to get to sleep. I can say I get about 4-5 hrs sleep Mon-Thu, then Thursday night I’m usually rather exhausted and try to force myself to go to bed by 10pm (9pm if I can get myself to sit still). Friday – Sunday I usually get 7 hrs which is lovely. I am super organized though and tend to get more accomplished than most people because I have a daily todo list. It helps to stop my scatter brained task hopping. Also, getting up at 4:45 am to get home by 2:30pm and start my half of homeschool by 3pm makes for a pretty tight schedule. However, after following your blog, I feel like I live a rather boring life compared.

    • LOL, You don’t live a boring life! If I remember right, you work full-time! And you are a rockstar homeschool go-getter. 4 hours of sleep is crazy. I use to do that regularly and then I ended up with adrenal fatigue. My brain doesn’t shut off either. I can’t not be doing something. But looking at the health side of things…that makes for a bad outcome with the hormones. Our bodies only compensate so long until they crash. It might be years but eventually it catches up, especially if we are neglecting other areas like food. I’m glad to see you get a good amount of sleep during the weekends though. That just might be your saving grace. Working and Homeschooling turns into quite the balancing act doesn’t it?

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