When you homeschool as a single parent, it can be hard to find time for yourself. It can be hard when your kids are in public school, too, but it is different.
As a homeschooling parent, we have to focus on preparation for homeschooling: figuring out what to teach, when to teach it, how to teach it, what to use to teach it, etc. Then there’s the actual teaching process itself, and helping the kids do their work, understand their work, checking over their work, etc. There’s homeschooling group events like field trips, park days, parties and more. And if you’re not doing something related to homeschooling, you’re spending time with the kids or working. Sometimes you might go through the whole day, from the moment you wake up until the moment you drop into bed exhausted at the end of the day, without a single moment that allowed you to focus on you.
But as a single mom that homeschools and works from home, I want to tell you that I think it’s crucial that you find some time for you. It doesn’t have to be every day, but you need some time that is all about you. No work, no school, no kids, just you.
I know what some of you are probably thinking. Some of the biggest excuses for not finding time for yourself:
- I have no money.
- I have no sitter.
- I can’t find several hours all at once to do anything I really want to do, so what’s the point?
- I don’t want to leave my kids to go have “me time” – I’ll have it when they go to their dad’s/mom’s (and then you spend that time doing other things)
- My kids won’t let me go out/be alone. (Sometimes disguised as “I can’t even use the bathroom without a kid underfoot.”)
Look, I get it. I do. Trust me. But here’s the thing. Me time doesn’t have to cost a dime, doesn’t have to require a sitter, doesn’t need several hours, doesn’t require you to leave the kids, and doesn’t need your kids to let you go out or leave you alone. There are ways to get me time that shoot down all of those excuses.
A few ideas:
- Watch a movie after the kids are in bed. You don’t even have to wait for them to be asleep (unless they are the type to need a drink or to pee or to suddenly tell you the 500 things they forgot to tell you all day). Pick an old favorite from your collection, find a movie on TV, record one that you’d like to see so you can watch it at your convenience. It doesn’t have to cost you a cent. Pop some popcorn, grab a cold drink, turn off the lights and enjoy.
- Read a book. Check them out from the library, buy them on Amazon, read paperbacks or hardbacks or ebooks, take your pick. Lose yourself in someone else’s story for a while and you’ll find that you come back to your own life feeling refreshed and a little less stressed about your own situation.
- Take a bubble bath. Go all out on this one. Light some candles, use some really fragrant, decadent bubbles, pour a glass of wine, turn on some soft music and really relax. Use your toes to add more hot water when it starts to cool, and spend some time really letting all your tension and stress seep away.
- Listen to some music. Whatever your favorite genre is – pop, country, rock, indie, world, techno – turn it on, close your eyes and listen. Put in some earbuds if you’re worried about waking the kids. Try some new music, too.
- Go to bed early. No, really, I’m serious. Sleeping can count as me time, too. Let’s be honest, as single parents, we are often running ourselves ragged trying to get everything done. Sometimes me time can really be as simple as deciding we’re not going to stay up until midnight trying to get everything on today’s to-do list done, but instead we’re going to go to bed at 8 or 9 when the kids go to bed. Getting that extra few hours of sleep now and then can be as refreshing and reinvigorating as anything else – sometimes even more so.
It’s easy to get so caught up in trying to get everything done that you forget to take time for yourself. It’s also easy to make excuses. But sometimes it’s important to remember to take that time for yourself and to throw the excuses out the window – even if they might actually be valid. That little bit of time for you will help you come back to your life – to homeschooling, working, and parenting – with fresh eyes, a more relaxed attitude and a lot less stress.
So, here’s my challenge to you now: pick one of the five suggestions above, any one that you want, and do it. Tonight, tomorrow night, this weekend. But before next week, I want you to take one of them, and take the time for yourself. See if it doesn’t make you feel so much better.
I promise it will.