Homeschooling moms are GIVERS.
We serve our children by educating them at home day in and day out. This is our calling.
It is important, however, for moms to take care of themselves.
Believe me, I'm not advocating being SELFISH, but to a certain extent we need to place ourselves FIRST so we can best serve our children.
2015 has been a year where I've been focusing on me, and our homeschool (and family in general) has never been better. I have more energy, patience, creativity - and it's all because I have been giving myself GIFTS - gifts that will benefit my entire family.
Let's talk about 10 gifts a homeschooling mom can give herself - EASILY.
*This post contains affiliate links.
1. Devotions/Staying in the Word
It's always been hard for me to have a morning "quiet time" before my kids get up. I can, however, arrange to read devotions at other times of the day.
#SheReadsTruth is an app I use each day. It contains devotional plans, Bible readings, and beautiful images. This method of Bible study speaks to me.
I've even been ordering some of the #SheReadsTruth images as prints and framing them to hang in our home.
Another book I would highly recommend is Jesus Calling - simple, meaningful daily devotions that really speak to a mom's heart.
I know this is a tough one. I have made every excuse IN THE BOOK over the past several years as to WHY I cannot exercise.
I don't have time. My kids couldn't stay home alone while I went to the gym. I am not a morning person and getting up early to exercise just wore me out. My husband travels and I never have time alone to exercise. Blah. Blah. Blah.
Stop making excuses and just DO IT.
After recent health crises of THREE grandparents in our family I was finally snapped into action. I've been walking 5-6 times each week and have lost 15 lbs.
I did not realize how BAD I felt until I started to feel better.
*I am also using a Magnesium Oil spray daily to help with sore muscles and back pain I have struggled with for years. This spray, from Seven Minerals, works very well - it even helps me get to sleep each night!
Moms - take care of yourself. It's IMPORTANT!
Diet is important at ANY age, but the older we get the more our diet affects us - our moods, energy level, and so much more.
I start each day with Shakeology. This way I know I am getting all of the nutrients I need and it gives me incredible energy for the entire day. I also recently did a 3 Day Refresh with Shakeology. I lost 3 lbs. and my system was completely cleansed.
Smoothies are also a huge favorite in our house. We always eat a balanced dinner, and if I can get a healthy smoothie into my kids for breakfast or lunch I consider the day a dietary success.
The BEST thing I use each day in my kitchen is my Cuisinart Immersion Blender. My kids know how to make individual smoothies (check out my Smoothies Pinterest board) and it's easy clean up and storage.
Music is wonderful therapy.
Do you have music playing as the backdrop of your day?
Do you ever just stop and turn on dancing music for you and your kids?
This is such a simple thing that can make such a BIG difference in our days!
(Please don't laugh, but I've been using these wonderful noise cancelling headphones when I just want to escape with some music, a podcast, or maybe an episode of Downton -- they make such a huge difference!)
I might get in trouble with this one.
So many families live a frantic lifestyle - a lifestyle devoid of TIME.
Our children need time to contemplate things. They need time to entertain themselves, time to play, and time to be BORED. They need time to recognize BEAUTY in their lives.
Moms, we need the SAME thing. TIME.
This year I have had to say no to a sport for one child so I could give myself the gift of time.
While other families are running around each evening from practice field to music practice to the drive thru for dinner, I am relishing in the fact that I have chosen to give myself the gift of TIME.
I know by eliminating this sport (and the hectic practice schedule that comes with it) I will be a better, less stressed out mom.
That's a big deal.
My son is actually finding other ways to occupy his time; he's coming along with me (during our new found TIME) to shoot hoops at the YMCA while I'm walking. He's had the gift of making new friends and getting physical activity while I get the gift of EXERCISE!
Be relentless about your time. Protect it and make having it a priority.
6. "Not Right Now"
Full credit for this idea goes to Sonya Shafer, of Simply Charlotte Mason.
Recently, I heard Sonya speak. One of the BIGGEST things I remember is her telling us we don't have to be obligated to do certain things.
Using the answer "Not right now" is a wonderful "out". It means you aren't closing the door on an opportunity, but that you are just saying it's not right for your family RIGHT NOW.
Isn't that awesome?
Try it some time.
"Would you like to join this excellent Bible study for homeschool moms and their kids every Friday morning from 9-11?"
"I would love to, but not right now."
Ahhhhh -- don't you just feel the stress melt away?
It is SO important to have a good friend.
What a blessing it is when you can have another mom who is like-minded, knows your heart, encourages you, and can listen to the BIG things and give you wise counsel.
I pray that you are in community with other moms and have that valuable support.
My sweet friend, Denise, has been my friend and mentor for the past six years. I like to think that we encourage each other - but Denise is further along this homeschool journey and offers me such valuable advice and insight.
When I have a problem, my husband always says, "Have you asked Denise about this?"
It's also a gift to be well-versed in your craft - and by that I mean well-versed in homeschooling.
Make sure you are READING - reading good literature and reading books about homeschooling that can benefit you and your children.
I've shared the 10 Best Books for Homeschool Moms - and I know there are so many other great books out there, too!
9. Keep Everything Simple
Another thing that took me many years to understand was the benefit of things being SIMPLE.
Less is more, my friends.
(I think this is why I love Classical Conversations so much - that whole stick in the sand method works for me.)
Whether it is decluttering your home little by little, or deciding that you won't be able to bake everything from scratch, there are a myriad of ways we can just SIMPLIFY our lives.
I always felt guilty when I was paring back in our lives, but now I realize what a gift it was to myself and my family (just like many other things in this post!).
*My favorite resource that has simplified our homeschool is the Tinker & Doodle Crates! This once a month subscription delivered to our door keeps my kids learning, exploring, and happy! They use these independent of me - this gives them freedom and me TIME.
10. Have FUN!
This is one of the easiest gifts you can give yourself.
Just have FUN.
Have FUN with your kids. Have FUN with your spouse.
It's ok to laugh (a lot) during your homeschool day.
Stop and do a craft WITH your children. Play a game WITH them.
(Recently I engaged in blowing magnetic slime bubbles with my kids and I had a blast!)
Please please please don't forget to have fun, moms!
So... which gifts will you be able to give yourself this week, moms?
Start with one or two and add more as you feel led.
YOU are vitally important to your homeschool - without mom the homeschool would cease to exist, and you need to be the most healthy, happy, and educated you can be!
I'm right there with you, so let's encourage each other!
Visit other bloggers from the iHomeschool Network today as they talk about Renewing Themselves Through Mom Time!