Just like there are ups and downs in life, we have cycles where things are great and we are productive and feel good, and then there are times where life is really hard. Perhaps your not a in a great place health wise or your children are uninterested or struggling in life. There are loads of different reasons in our lives for our current struggles. As home educators we have a great responsibility as we are not only taking care of our homes, our children full time along with many of us potentially jobs and business also added into the mix. Of course then the social meets, the time studying ourselves as well as our own self growth there is a lot to think about and at times can feel very overwhelming. The truth is the best learning happens when you feel safe, unhurried and have time and space to really explore and play. Rest is also a crucial part of life too. Rest gives us space to clear our minds. One thing I truly love about home education is that I don't have to push myself beyond what my body really needs. I remember being utterly exhausted in high school and actually falling asleep at the table and going for naps after School. Staying at home was never put forward as an option. It was not deemed as important, School work came first. Rest is not considered a good thing or a productive thing in Western culture and to be honest it's absolutely vital. I know when I have been well rested I am more productive and imaginative, creative and inspired. Rather than heading the other way of constantly pushing through, pushing harder, feeling like there's something wrong with me, I'm not good enough and eventually burning out and needing a much longer recovery. It is very toxic conditioning. Rest rejuvenates us and we have better learning experiences because of it.
The pressure to feel a certain way in any given moment actually stops us from honouring how we feel in that very moment, because if we know that we feel a certain way we might feel sad or quite negative and suddenly we are trying to push to feel happy and content and positive we are not actually honouring how we really feel.
And that is where some of our problems start, I "should" be feeling like this and I'm not and so then you end up really in war with your own self and actually if you just allow the emotions to be present that need to be whatever it is that you need to feel in those moments you just surrender to it and maybe just take some time to figure out why you feel like that, maybe just a little journal entry, you know a quiet 10 minutes where you can ask yourself why do I feel like this and usually in the quiet the answer will come to you and actually if you just surrender to that then you realise this is how my body wants to feel, this is what it needs to express so we don't need to be at war with ourselves or mad at ourselves that we feel angry or that we feel sad today or negative today. If you are feeling like that everyday then you might need some further assistance and help for that like therapy as there may be something deep under the surface that you need support with. As a general human person we are here top feel a range of emotions. I believe it is crucial to honour pour own emotions and feelings as well as our children's. We all require space to do this.
I just wanted to share an experience with you that happened recently and I woke up with all intentions of the day going well, I was even prepared the night before. I had done two busy shifts in my part time job I had worked 25 hours over the space of 2 days, I took the dog for a walk after I had been to work I got plenty of time in nature and some exercise too to clear my head and make my body feel good and this was after each of those long days and then on the Sunday I even made sure that the living room was tidy that the books were changed over for the week ahead, that there were some lovely materials out on the table, I think I put out some beeswax as an invitation to mould before breakfast time and I made sure our space that we use downstairs was tidy. I had even prepared a delicious breakfast too before I went to bed. Which was really nutritious millet, compote with fresh fruit and also tried making oat milk for the first time! I was prepared, I felt that I had prepared the night before I had a couple of good days, and I had even spend time writing blog posts too and really I had actually done a lot over that 2 days, and so I went to bed and Monday morning came and I woke up not feeling particularly great and I woke up to a really demanding child who was demanding I come downstairs right now and get him breakfast in quite a rude and gruff manner and it really annoyed me to to the point where I thought I had been so prepared oh he'll come and say good morning and we will have a nice cuddle as we usually do and perhaps he will just play downstairs for 15 minutes or more whilst I get myself up and ready before breakfast. Then I'm ready to start to day but instead this argument elated that no he wasn't going to go and play and my husband wasn't getting up and I just wasn't ready to get up get as I was tired and I was in a bad mood and I kinda lost it and shouted and I was so angry and I knew I needed to get out of the space. We are not perfect and we do shout sometimes but in order to be able to communicate better with out children we have to work on being more present and I was not in the mood of presence so I got myself up and dressed and took the dog for a walk, I went for a walk and ready for the day and I'll feel calmer and then we will talk about not having these demands straight away in the morning that you can go and get yourself a piece of fruit or a yogurt of biscuit and play for a short time on your own before I come down and give me chance to wake up I need that for my own sanity on a Monday after 2 busy days.
Most of the time I'm awake before everyone else to walk to dog, exercise and journal and meditate, and usually I will usually be ready to welcome my family when they wake up but I was tired and I had had a busy couple of days and this demand made me feel really unappreciated. As I was taking the dog on my walk, I felt quite grouchy and normally feel better after being in nature but my mood was just not budging at all and I felt really angry and annoyed and irritated and at the core of it was just sadness, I realised I just felt sad today and then I thought what have I noticed happening in the last 7 days that is not usual for me. I noticed in the last 7 days that my eczema has returned and I have not had any for 10 years, the last bout I had was so bad I had to see a dermatologist and my skin was awful and that came around a time of real stress, and I just started to think, I also thought I have been really tired this week and then I also thought what have I been doing in the last week or two that could have bee made this happen. Have I been feeling overwhelmed and stressed? Yes I have, I've been working, I've then been going into home ed Monday morn, been trying to focus on eating nutritious meals, and cooking going out and seeing friends, I've been trying my best to clean the house, we are moving house, and have been stressed about the mess in the house and its heard to feel clean and organised.
I have made sure that the main space we use downstairs in tidy and organised with what we need and use each day, so that we do have our spot to eat as a family and morning time and when George will play inside but the mess has triggered me and stressed me out. I'm not a tidy person in a general kind of way I try and keep things tidy but typically in the house isn't super tidy or clean. I will clean certain rooms on certain days. I realised that Oh you have been also doing a lot of work any free moment you are not needed you have been creating courses and new posts for my new business, alongside being with a child I was overwhelmed. It made complete sense, I was getting headaches, eczema, irritation, it all felt too much. They all add up and that's what we don't realise all the little things add up and suddenly we reach that burn out overwhelming point but if you look at what has happened beforehand you can see that things have culminated. One thing after the other has led to that feeling.
On the Monday we had planned to get up early to take the dog early so I could come back and make the picnic as we were supposed to be going to an art gallery and to a picnic with friends. I was all up for it until I realised that my body and my mind felt overwhelmed and I'm going to make a decision that I'm not going to push myself over today and I realised I needed rest I needed to say no to the day and so my son was very disappointed because we home educate I have to make sure we are getting out and seeing people and we usually have 3-4 playmates per week and we have other things on top sometimes so I felt overwhelmed and I said I need to think about myself today and I feel really good about it yeah I do need to think about myself. He was grumpy, I wanted to do this and I wanted to see this person, I said I know you do and I always make your playtime a priority but today my sanity and my need for rest and winding down needs to be a priority, I felt like I wasn't going to get through the day and couldn't push to go out and do things. My body was tired, and emotionally regulate that everything had built up. The dog had had her walk we don't normally have much TV it's normally
an audio book or film before dinner I said we are going have a film day and he quite liked that idea, I'll get the duvets and we can snuggle up and have some snacks and get comfy and mummy can rest! so yeah, even though I felt that we had watched TV all day we only actually watched 2 films so George was busy building a den all morning quite happily with that, I managed to get a couple of washes on the go and outside to dry I managed to make a wholesome lunch and breakfast. After we watched one film it was lunch time, I asked him if there was anything he would like to do, and he said he wanted to learn about golden eagles my idea of lazy parenting when we are not using a book, I don't have any thing on golden eagles and we don't use YouTube very much unless I'm looking for a video of something I can't find in a book but well its a lazy day and so we watched a video about golden eagles on YouTube and one about people in Mongolia who hunt with eagles and we learned about the Mongolian lifestyle and that was really interesting and then we had a lovely conversation afterwards about what we had watched and we shared that together and it was a lovely learning experience especially because it was something he had asked about. The we went for a walk and nature is part of our day was part of life and we had a walk and George biked and climbed trees and had a potter at the pond and we went home and had another film and I even had a tiny little cat nap and I said to my husband lets have take out tonight. We sat down and ate dinner together and chickpea salad and pittas and then we read books together and by that time I was feeling more playful and I managed to play a little, I generally play with him 15 minutes or so a day and I hadn't really wanted to talked much or smile that day I felt just sad and that sadness was able to be expressed and processed throughout the day when I was resting I wasn't putting any pressure on myself to be happy or to be content or that I should be doing something else but that I could allow myself to feel what it was I needed to feel in that moment and then I started to feel better. We read some lovely books and George went to bed and I thanked hi for being patient with my that day and I apologised we couldn't go to do the things we were going to do not only that twice in that whole day when I'd felt sad and upset he had said to me "Your the best mummy, I love you." and I got quite upset and we had a little conversation in the day and I'd talked about why rest was important and why it's important for mummy and others and you to get rest because we are needing to take care of ourselves. we don't want to be b burnt out and overwhelmed me and my husband both work and home educate and we are responsible for a lot of things, we are not just sending him to school and then just doing homework and the nice bits at the weekend, its everyday and I committed to that, but apart of life is to feel our emotions and being able to say no I'm overwhelmed I need to rest is OK and I think a great lesson really has been learned in understanding that mummy's not going to work herself to the bone.
I grew up seeing seeing my parents work themselves to the bone and feel ill overwhelmed and unappreciated and still maybe not doing the things they really wanted to do and it's been really lovely to be able to take this into account and to understand that hard work and focused work and there is the idea of slow living and sometimes it is fast paced for me anyway with my other things I need to do aside from the day time and so even though there's some slow parts of our day there are sometimes some parts of the day that feel faster paced and so I do get overwhelmed sometimes and it was a great lesson to my son actually. I don't see home education as an opportunity to sit and do workbooks and teach maths but to have learning appear from all different kind of things and all different kind of ways, unexpected and created and spontaneous and some of the best learning opportunities we have and just in everyday life and I think today was a big lesson so even though I felt I hadn't done much I felt like Id sat in front of the couch and resting I actually hadn't because in reality we only watch two films and a short video on something George was interested in and we were out in nature I did washing we had lovely of conversations and read books and I rested in between.
In the evening I had a lovely candlelit bath and it really just washed the worries away just sitting and looking at that candle and feeling completely at peace just with that single little light and it's amazing how such a small little light can relax you immerse in a lovely bath of hot water and I felt like today went OK and I made the right choice staying home and I had an early night and so I think the reason why I'm sharing this is because being a parent can be hard whether your home educating or sending your kids to school we all still have responsibilities some of us work , some of us are carers, some are doing work in the community, some people are doing other things and having other responsibilities, perhaps small babies and children at home etc there's loads of different ways in which different people have different responsibilities we shouldn't always have such high expectations of ourselves sometimes to uphold this idea that life should always be rosy and bright we are here to feel the spectrum of emotions, if we don't honour how we feel we are constantly pushing for something that is not attainable, when we let our bodies feel what they need to feel pretty soon we feel better a lot quicker, It's just like when a toddler has a tantrum once they have had that little scream and cry they feel better, we don't stop them, we don't need to say you can feel like that because they processed that they feel great it's the same with any other emotion so long as we are not hurting each other we can always work on certainly things on our lives that need more time like shouting less or getting less irritated and that is what I use meditation for. To work on myself. I'm not perfect though, I think we do get irate sometimes but the more we push for something we are not the more discomfort we feel, allow yourself to feel it's OK and the thing is we are not up against anyone else in this education we are not thinking we have missed a day of school it's the worst day in the world the things that we learn we are meant to learn life experience give us the best learning opportunities that's the great things about home ed when we need to rest we can, there might have been a day when I have planned something and George might say I'm tired I just want to play Lego at home and I'm disappointed but I respect that and I kind of the same I also deserve the same it's remembering that we can have a day like that and go back to it slowly tomorrow and that it's OK because our self care is important and we need to remember to make sure we take care of ourselves so we don't get to the point of burn out but I don't think I had fully got to that space yet luckily nip it in the bud and I've made self care a priority and then I know I wont get completely burnt out or then I might need a lot longer to rest I just needed one and I'm up early on the next day to walk the dog and to make breakfast and ready for the day and Life has cycles where things are great and then they can be rubbish again and then brilliant again!
It's just OK!
Up's and Downs are a part of life.
Don't do too much.
Make sure you get rest.
Help your children to understand the importance of rest.
Quiet cosy days can sometimes be more productive than you realise!