I was going to create a long video on how to juggle homeschool when you’re coping with more than a mom should, but I didn’t. In my short facebook live video on my group, I do talk about it a little.
Although I’m not a weepy person, the truth of it is if I created a longer video, I couldn’t get through it without weeping and airing my raw emotions.
Why Juggle Homeschool During Extreme Stress
That’s not a negative for me; I want you to know what is working and not working for me. It’s important to me that you have some tips to ease your load and know that you’re not alone.
Read my words, but feel my raw emotions as I pour them out to you. I hope to encourage and lift you up in my transparency.
Circumstances are different for every mom, but the same raw emotions ebb and flow. You don’t have to feel the exact same pain as another to put yourself in another’s shoes.
What I went through years ago as far as crisis in my life pales into comparison to what I’ve recently been through and am going through. More on that in a minute.
Life wasn’t finished beating me or my family up. The longer you homeschool which is living life, the more stress can head your way.
When You’re A Control Freak But You Have No Control – None
So why keep homeschooling? More on that in a minute too.
Also, keeping things to your self is not always a good thing. You couldn’t possibly know what a very private person I am, but I am. I love my family and try to be dignified with their feelings and privacy.
It’s important for me to to not overshare. Know that there are things I must keep private; I’m walking a line here.
However, understanding what I’ve been through I hope I can reduce your stress and anxiety; I want you to know that sending your kids off to public school is not always the least stressful thing to do.
Life Can be Like the Cycle on The Dryer. Tumble, tumble, tumble. (Beat you up). Wait. Catch Your Breath. Hold on. REPEAT.
It was enough then and is enough now, but I have no choice as more is heaped on me.
First, look at what was heaped on me then.
One year my sister who homeschooled her kids got a staph infection.
First Sign of Homeschool Stress – What Will YOU Do
She had to be intubated because she couldn’t breathe and was unconscious for days. I cared for her in the ICU, comforted her kids and the whole family while taking care of my kids and husband.
Driving to get there when I first found out, I wondered if she would make it. Facing fear is not easy. It’s the kind of stress and sickness you feel that brings you to your knees and makes you puke.
Thankfully, she had wonderful doctors, the infection was contained and she was sent to a long-term facility for months.
Driving to see her and support her 40 minutes away from my house 4x a week or more was exhausting. My kids were with me the whole time. I thought that year would never end.
However, I had no clue what the next year held for me.
My husband had a massive heart attack. It was also the year my first son got to high school.
You know high school is scary enough, but it had nothing on what we went through that year. Yes, my husband beat the widow maker.
Vividly, I recall that day years ago. I shared with many of you who still follow me how I agonized over choosing the right words when you think they may be your last to your husband.
I finally made it to my husband’s side at the hospital in time to be with him while the doctors shuffled my husband off to surgery and saved his life. That night which I’ve never shared was one of the loneliest nights I’ve ever been through.
Knowing how close I came to life changing forever, I cried all night alone.
Some Stress Is Unavoidable
Next, the long year to recovery and hubs changing jobs was ahead.
Did I mention too that folks want to give you all kinds of nutritional advice assuming your lifestyle contributed to his heart attack?
I never shared before that he inherited heart disease from both sides of his family and his heart attack although happening while he was young, didn’t happen at 40 years old like his father and great grandmother before him.
Matter of fact, the doctors said it was our lifestyle which saved his life because of how stress free we tried to lead our life.
Life as I knew it went back to some kind of normal. However, my kids and I were forever changed.
Knowing the value of how you never know what the next day holds, we seized the time time together as a family and made a big change in our life.
We sold our huge home with pool and packed what we wanted in two cases for each of us and moved overseas to South America.
It was the BEST decision we ever made. Our years spent together in adventure was just what we need to get over what we couldn’t control.
Is Returning to Public School the Answer
Look at these four things that my kids and I learned from those years of hardship.
- We drew closer together as a family. If I had to put my kids in public school, we would have been separated at a time we needed each other. However, I weathered the storm remembering that it is just that. That means it’s temporary.
- It taught my kids to seize moments of friendship both in the family and with their friends outside of the family. You don’t know what will change this afternoon.
- Although I worried my sons may have grown up too fast, in fact teaching them to stand with me as we face feared helped them to set reasonable standards for themselves during our crisis. Even adults today don’t know when to stop putting pressure on themselves when under enough strain.
- Homeschooling is all about modeling how I want to my kids to learn meaningful things. What would I be teaching them if I didn’t set the example on what their focus should be when life hits hard? Everything I believe in about the homeschooling lifestyle came full circle. In life, sometimes we need to be a caregiver. I knew their academics wouldn’t be interrupted too long, but my kids’ education reaches far beyond academics.
Next, you want to take a self-check. Long term stress can cause terrible emotional and physical harm.
There is a difference between BENDING and BREAKING. You never want to get to the point of breaking.
With all of my heart I believe our emotional and mental health while homeschooling is not talked about enough.
There should be NO judgment or feeling like you’re weak or less if you send your kids to public school.
Choosing to Look on the Bright Side – A Choice
At this point, I’ve not had to seek professional help, but have not ruled it out if I need it. Seeking professional help is a sign of strength and not weakness. It means you care about your health and the health of your kids.
Bodies react differently to stress.
I allowed the stress to bend me although many days I feel like breaking. In my heart of hearts I knew what was right for my family.
But that wasn’t all I learned, I also learned:
- If I sent my kids to public school that there was no way I could have the flexibility to care for my sister and husband on my terms.
- You’re told to live one day or one moment at a time, but you embrace the true meaning when you experience extreme stress.
- Control what I really had control of. That means I couldn’t let my mind worry about things that were not on my plate for that day. I saved my energy for what I’m experiencing NOT what I think I MAY experience. I was turning my load to anxiety and had to rein that back in. Do you know how REALLY hard that TRULY IS? There is a line between staying ahead of caring for all what is on your plate versus unnecessary worrying.
How to Power Through Homeschool During a Crisis (The Second Time)
Recalling all of what I just shared with you, I’ve been hit hard AGAIN.
Look at what I’m currently dealing with.
My husband is experiencing more complications with his heart. Each day is a precious day. For now, he is good, but managing his health is on my plate again.
My mother is now at end stage renal disease.
This is weighing heavy on my heart. Not only does she have to go to dialysis 3x a week, but she had a stoke and has continued to decline in health. Did you know seizures follow because of the stroke?
Although we’re managing my mom’s care daily, there is no controlling what you can’t control.
There is just letting my mother know what a treasure she is when she can understand me.
Seeing your mother go from an extremely intelligent, compassionate, and caring woman to almost a child is gut-wrenching daily.
But again, I remember whatever I feel is not anything I know my mother is going through. That keeps me going daily. All my mother knows right now is that I love her deeply and she loves me deeply. There will never be enough words to tell her how precious she is to me, but I try daily.
My mother-in-law now lives in an assisted living and my husband and I manage her care as well. Right now, she’s been exposed to Covid and with the onset of dementia, we constantly remind her daily of what is going on.
Did I mention my dad is now 80 years old and has his own set of health problems which needs to be managed while he helps care for my mom?
Any given day, I’m not sure which one of my family members will need help for the day.
Currently many days are not all my own to plan or juggle homeschool units.
How to Plan When You Can’t Catch A Break
However, I choose to trek forward. Look at five mindsets I’m utilizing now as I manage in STEPS.
- Ask: What TRULY is important to me today? That is my ONE goal for the day.
- Live today, not worry about tomorrow. This one is really hard for me because I’m a planner. Instead of worrying what may happen to any of the precious people in my life right now, I save my energy and passion for dealing with what is REALLY happening.
- Identify the difference between stress and anxiety. I’m still learning new things. Stress is unavoidable because it involves life. Stress turns to anxiety when I worry about things that may never happen. All I have done is add anxiety instead of keeping my mind and body healthy.
- Know when to stop homeschooling and when to cut back. I know now that my sons could have never gone to public school because they felt they would have missed what was going on at home. I had to think about their feelings. Knowing when to get help either online, by a tutor, or when to stop for a short time is paramount. Weigh EACH day as it’s happening instead of planning like life is normal until it is again.
- Self-care for the caregiver is necessary. (I know, but heart my heart. It’s NECESSARY). Passing out is not a good when you’re the caregiver. When so much is on your shoulders, you have to find time even if it’s a short time to rejuvenate. Many days I am physically EXHAUSTED, but waking up REALLY early when all is quiet has calmed my nerves and allows me to think. I spend the time thinking, meditating, and reading. Sure, I’m physically exhausted a lot of days, but my mental and emotional health needs the recovery. Not every day can I get up that early, but a few days a week it has become necessary. Find time whether really LATE or really EARLY to feed your mental health.
Adopt Compassion Over Compulsion
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is compassion over compulsion. Compassion moves a person to try to spare the suffering of others. Compulsion is what a person does by rote or grudgingly.
Deep in my raw and exposed heart, I know I can’t relieve any of the things going on in my family right now. But by me being there for all of them every day and my words, they know they are not alone as they face challenges every day.
When to Let Others Know And When to Let them In
Lastly, even machines are made with escape valves. I’m no machine, I’m not unusually strong, but I choose to share with others. Writing about this is self-help like one wise homeschool mom told me.
Life is precious and each of these people in my life didn’t ask for this to happen to them, but I manage each day as it comes up.
Yes, I would like to go back to a nothing but homeschooling life and blogging, but it probably won’t be for a while.
Tell me friend, can you relate? Has life thrown at you more than your fair share? Have you lost someone dear to you or have had a terrible setback? I don’t have all the answers, but know I TRULY care.
Look at these other tips on how to juggle homeschool when life hits hard:
- How to Cope Successfully With Homeschool Mental Stress
- How to Survive Homeschool Sick Days
- 3 Foolproof Ways I Cope When I Can’t Homeschool (or Blog)
- 10 Biggest Homeschool Burnout Triggers (and how to cope)
- What I Gave Up to Homeschool (and what I got in return)
- Is Homeschooling Making the Grade? It’s in and the Grade is ALL Fs!
- When Homeschooling is Not an Overnight Success (Is it Worth the Risk?)
- 7 Simple Fitness Tips for Busy Homeschooling Moms
- 26 of the BIGGEST Gripes about the Homeschooling Lifestyle!
Hugs and love ya,