I have read (and have written) many positive posts about homeschooling. You know the ones...this is the best decision I have ever made or I love spending time baking and crafting with my kiddos. These words are true. But we all know, life isn't always a bed of roses, is it? Sometimes, our kids (or we) have attitudes. There are conflicts within families. There are financial hardships you didn't see coming. There are traumas to process and recover from. There are rejections in friendships, medical concerns and battles that are private and personal. There are things that many of us go through that others would have no idea about and yet each day, food needs to be prepared, dishes or clothes washed and learning activities undertaken. We often hear about the joys and the highs but what about the times (sometimes whole seasons) when things feel so tough and overwhelming?
How do you carry on when you are nursing a bruised heart or ego? How do you keep going when the unknowns and questions far outweigh the answers and solutions? How do you move forward when you just want to crawl under a rock and hide from the world for a while?
Here are some practical things that have helped me when I've felt this way. I share them in case they may also help you too.
1. Cry it out.
Cry or wail, lament or mourn. Our emotions are God-given and it behoves us to allow ourselves to sit with our pain, grief or sadness. You don't need to solve anything, you sometimes just need to let it out rather than bottle it up.
2. Give yourself time.
Don't rush the processing of hard things. Give yourself the permission you need to rest, to recover, to eat well and whatever else it takes to get through. Remember that homeschooling is a marathon not a sprint and you are homeschooling THROUGH life's ups and downs. This means you need to find ways to ride out the highs and lows. Give yourself time to find these ways so that you can keep in that marathon.
3. Go fill your cup.
I'm often at my most vulnerable when I'm most depleted. This is usually at a time when I've poured out to my friends, my community, my family and THEN life happens. My reserves are low and I feel most run-down. During these times, I need to go fill up my cup. I'm not going to tell you how to do that but hopefully you know what makes you feel satisfied, fulfilled and restored. For me it usually involves being in quiet, in nature and taking some photos. Sometimes it involves reading or writing and other times it means heading to a fave cafe for a hot brew and something sweet. Whatever it is for you, do a bit of that. See if it doesn't make a difference.
4. Pray, be still and go gently.
You might not be the praying type but prayer has been super helpful for me in getting back to my centre. I just let God know how things are and what is going on. I ask Him to help me through or I might pray for guidance. Being honest is important in my prayers. I also remind myself of truths I know. I am loved. I am not a burden. I am forgiven. Being still is another thing I've found helpful in being able to reflect upon my situation. And above all, I've found I must extend grace and understanding to myself, just as God gives it to me and as I try and give it to others in my life too.
5. Slow rhythms for the win.
When big trauma or upset happens in our lives, one of the kindest things we can do for ourselves is to establish (or re-establish) little rhythms that can help anchor us back in the flow of life.
A morning rhythm might look like making a coffee, getting showered and dressed, putting on a load of washing and continuing with a read-aloud. Life doesn't have to be all or nothing. You can have a middle-ground of slow, mundane activities that helps give everyone a sense of predictability in an otherwise emotionally tumultuous time.
My one hope at the end of you reading this, is that you will know that we all feel like it's too hard sometimes and that ultimately, you feel less alone. More soon, Lusi x