We all need time alone. We need time to think, to dream, and to create….without relentless interruptions from our children.
Finding time to be alone is especially difficult for those of us who homeschool, because we’re with our children so much. But we aren’t superhuman, no matter what outsiders may think. We need to be refreshed. The hard part is figuring out how to do that.
It sure gets easier once your children are older. I recently found that one of the quickest ways to find myself alone is to put on my DVD, Josh Groban’s “Live at the Greek” (or, as my husband calls it, “Live at the Geek.”) You should see my loved ones scatter when it comes on! Another surefire road to solitude is my collection of Doris Day movies. The opening credits of “That Touch of Mink” send my kids flying out of the room as if it were on fire.
Still, it wasn’t always so easy to find myself alone. There was a time when I was outnumbered 4 to 1, and I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without someone banging on the door with some real or imagined emergency. Back then, I truly believed I would never be alone again. If only I had bought those Doris Day videos sooner…..
My point here is that you must carve out some regular time alone for yourself to prevent homeschool burnout, a very real occurrence that you’ll want to avoid. Some homeschool moms feel guilty for wanting time to themselves. Don’t! Even Jesus took time to be alone and pray….it’s important to regroup when you need to.
Working moms have time alone while commuting and on their lunch breaks. Most stay-at-home moms experience time alone once they send their children off to school, which these days can be as early as age two. But those of us who homeschool are never alone, it seems, especially during the early years of raising our families. (I love sleep, but I actually enjoyed waking up for middle-of-the-night feedings of my third and fourth babies because the house was quiet and no one was talking to me!)
Believe it or not, there will come a time when you can be alone for minutes, even hours, at a time, on a regular basis! But if that’s far down the road for you, don’t wait that long. Try to schedule some time for yourself now, when you really need it. Snag your husband, a close friend or Grandma to keep track of the kids, and set a date for your time alone.
You can start small, by going for a walk alone. Doing the grocery shopping is much easier and quicker if you do it by yourself. Find a Ladies’ Bible study that keeps its meetings brief. (I joined my church’s hour-long evening class when my youngest was six months old—what a blessing! I ended up attending that class every week for 14 years.)
As your family becomes accustomed to Mom’s little breaks, stay out a little longer. Take an exercise class, or a crafts class. It’s a nice break to be the student instead of the teacher. Find another mom and go out for coffee and chat. The time will fly!
Whatever you do, try to enjoy yourself. Don’t feel guilty if there were tears when you left the house. They may cry, but the kids need a break from you, too. Besides, they’ll appreciate you more when you come back.
(Excerpted from Stages of Homeschooling (Book 1): Beginnings, available HERE.)