When I was growing up, television and the media cast a picture of the perfect family. Remember shows like Leave It To Beaver? Images of Dad going to the office, as Mom stayed at home wearing her best dress and heels, a pretty lacy apron, looking beautiful while vacuuming, washing dishes and keeping a perfect house were broadcast into our living rooms every night. In this “perfect” family, the children were away at school all day, so tending to their needs was only required in the early morning, late afternoon and evening, before and after school and on the weekends.
In some ways, these images have been carried forward to the present day as moms struggle to maintain the perception of the perfect family. Homeschoolers have an added layer to contend with, creating a full-time job for mom as she skillfully teaches her children everything they must learn, going to every event possible while still maintaining that image of the perfect household. How many of you moms out there have discovered that this is just plain madness? It simply doesn’t work. There are those who have reached this level of awareness, yet for some reason can’t seem to let go of the fantasy and think that somehow, some way they can make it all happen in spite of knowing it’s a formula for disaster, holding on to the belief that if you’re good enough, and smart enough you can do it all. Stop lying to yourself and let go. Your health and sanity are needed not only by you, but your family. If mom crashes and burns, then what?
Moms: You don’t have to kill yourself by doing it all. In fact, you don’t have to give up your business or earning an income to homeschool. There are many families in which both parents work and they homeschool their children successfully. That is because they have set themselves up in a way that supports the life they want to live. So first things first, let’s let go of the fantasy that can literally kill you and recreate what you really want to experience, which is a truly wonderful life. Start with a blank canvas and write your unique family plan.
8 Steps to Create Your Unique Family Plan for Work-at-Home Moms Homeschooling:
- Consider the unchangeable. Look at Dad’s work schedule and Mom’s work schedule. Coordinate how you can work in partnership to care for your children’s needs as well as their academic and extracurricular time. Can one or both work from home? Create set hours for work, focused work time and work time when you can be interrupted. Consider the needs of your children according to their ages and abilities when creating your schedule. Also allow for flexibility in your schedules.
- Implement self-education. Instead of creating a full-time job for the parents by traditional teaching, choose to homeschool through self-education. As children get older they will spend time studying while you can quietly be working. Younger children who need more guidance can easily be helped any time of the day for a couple of hours. I’ve known families who wake before dawn while others don’t crack a book until afternoon and evening depending on the work schedules of the parents.
- Get help. You can’t do it all yourself, no one does. Help can come from those you live with who are willing to pitch in, share the work and keep the household running. It can also mean having a grandparent, relative, friend or nanny watch the children for a few hours each week so you can focus on work. I knew of a mother who went to her daughter’s house and did her ironing each week while watching the children so her daughter could do what she needed to, even if it meant taking a nap. Maybe it’s a housekeeper you need to free your time from cleaning. Help doesn’t have to be full time; many are affordable and can come once a month, every two weeks or once a week. Perhaps some of your work can be outsourced to a virtual assistant, or you might even bring on an apprentice, a personal assistant or one of your older children. Teenagers make lovely personal assistants and it gives them excellent experience.
- Say no. You can’t be everything to everyone all the time. It’s OK to say no to social events, or requests to help with group events. It will get done without you there. Focus in on purposeful interactions that are of high value for your entire family.
- Honor yourself. Keep true to what you need to do professionally by setting yourself up for success. Get plenty of rest, exercise, eat right, drink plenty of water and take time to be quiet. Daily, pre-plan your next day, setting up your next work on your neat, clean desk so you can jump right in at the start of each new day.
- Do what you love, love what you do. Because you are working hard, raising and educating your children, it’s imperative that you do what fills you up, satisfies you and leaves you with more to give. This can be taking time to read your favorite books, doing a hobby, shopping or traveling. Whatever it is, it needs to be what fills you up and satisfies you.
- Make your relationships a priority. Become deeply interested in and authentically connect with others. Take time to do something new and creative with your spouse, your children and those you love on a regular basis. Love them to pieces.
- Practice gratitude. Be grateful for all that is showing up in your life. Even the parts you’re not so excited about. Remember, it’s all for your highest good. When you stay in gratitude and count it all as love, you are empowered to open up to your true being. This intensifies what you have within to share with others, creating an immeasurable sense of peace and fulfillment.
In today’s economy it’s difficult for families to live on one income. A lot of people are looking to replace that second income if it was lost. If this has happened in your life, consider what your purpose is and look for ways to fulfill that purpose by serving others. These freedoms should not be taken lightly but used to the fullest to create exactly what your family specifically needs. Set yourself up with a lifestyle of true freedom. You are worth it and so is your family.
Moms Inspired to Action
- Take time to talk and plan with your spouse. Make it work for the needs of your family, letting go of have-tos and shoulds.
- Set up your home to support your new plan. Get rid of clutter and distractions. Make it easy to exercise, eat right and rest by setting up your exercise area. Fill your pantry with healthy foods and set a schedule to go to bed and get plenty of rest before the next morning.
- If you have little ones at home and are working, do the bulk of your work while they are sleeping. Set a timer for the times you work while they are awake. This way you are aware of how much time you are spending on work which helps you balance your time allowing you to be fully present with them. Using the timer will also help you work more concentrated and faster.