We’ve all had those days where we know the difficulties of the day were caused by our own actions, attitudes, and words. When you are the cause of your bad day, how can you bounce back?
It is important to know what makes you tick. As an introvert, I know I am prone to being overwhelmed by lots of noise and invasion of my personal space. That can make long days with small children a challenge. When I feel I have reached my limits, I know I need some quiet or creative time to refuel. If I don’t, I am more likely to be irritable with my kids and less likely to provide them with my best teaching and parenting. I love to read, sing, and nap. If I can take about a half an hour to do any of those things, I feel more prepared to face the rest of the day. I need time to reset, or I’m no good to anybody!
People say they worry about the socialization aspect of homeschooling, but I have never found this to be difficult for my kids. Now, for me? Yes, socialization can be a real challenge. You may be your child’s main teacher, but remember to reach out to others around you! Our feelings tell us that we are the only ones struggling, but that is a lie! Your friends and loved ones can be a great sounding board to help you assess your priorities and expectations and help you adjust to a more workable plan. Maybe you have a friend who could teach your kids a life skill you lack once a week, or every other week while you catch a break. And never underestimate the power of adult conversation over a strong cup of coffee on a regular basis! Even in this crazy time of social distancing, you will thrive best when you engage in community (in the ways you feel are safe for your family) with people who support you.
Make sure you are taking care of your body. I don’t mean you should strive for physical perfection, but if you are feeling run down, you cannot provide your children with your best. Drink water regularly (use an app if you need reminders!). Get up and move when you can. I sometimes walk in place while reading to my kids. Steps are steps, even if I’m not going anywhere. Eat meals at regular intervals, and like the oxygen masks on an airplane, take care of your food BEFORE you feed your children. By eating lunch before you prepare for lunchtime with your children, you stabilize your blood sugar and gift your children with a mom who is not ravenous and shaky while they melt down over hating the same meal they loved last time (or various other mealtime drama). You will be prepared to face their potential drama with calm and patience you do not have when you are hangry.
Finally, engage in your preferred spiritual practices. I use an app to keep me on track with Bible reading plans and devotional studies. I am active in women’s ministry in my area. I have friends I can call on for prayer support at any time and who lift me up when my faith (or body, or mind) is weak and I’m struggling. I believe God has imprinted the need for Him into our hearts, and I believe He will fill that place in our heart in a way that nothing else can. If you are consistently struggling to find meaning in your life, maybe what your heart needs most is some healing time with Jesus. His word tells us that we will find Him when we seek Him with our whole hearts. I think He is just what a “hole heart” needs, and He loves you just as you are! Rest in the peace of knowing you do not have to impress Him or fix yourself up to come to Him.
So, next time you have a tough day, heap the same grace upon yourself you would want someone to give to your child. Tomorrow is another day. You’ve got this!