As a homeschool mom, I get asked frequently if there are ever days when I feel like I need a break. Other moms ask how I do it, staying home with my elementary aged kids all day.
They could never deal with the constant noise and little people all needing something at the same time. They tell me they just don’t have the personality for it.
Quite honestly, I don’t either.
There really are some women out there who initially start homeschooling because they truly enjoy being with their kids all the time. That wasn’t me.
Not very long ago, I felt like I needed a break all the time. The thought of spending practically all of my waking hours with both my children was overwhelming.
Even on good days, it was difficult to find enjoyment from simply being with them. I was also at a complete loss as to how to bridge that growing gap between myself and my son, who I struggled to relate to.
We live in a society where being with children, even our own children, is often viewed as a punishment. Actual phrases like “kid jail” are used to describe having to spend an extended amount of time with your kids.
The Bible says, however, that children are a reward. It’s not only possible to tolerate, but also enjoy staying home with your kids all day!
Allow God To Refresh You
Proverbs 11:25 says “He who refreshes others, will himself be refreshed.” As you pour into your kids and water them with God’s Word, He will be faithful to give you that refreshment you need. It just may not always come in the ways you expect, like a long, peaceful morning of drinking Starbucks uninterrupted or a Netflix binge.
As I’ve stepped out in obedience, I’ve seen God give me pockets of rest when I have needed it. He promises to be our strength when we are weak, and multiplies our small efforts when we don’t think we have enough to go around.
Our greatest self-care comes when we connect to our greatest power source. Even Jesus needed breaks from time to time during His earthly ministry. After pouring into people’s lives day in and day out, He withdrew to pray and be renewed.
We cannot give what we don’t have. Even if we can’t get away from the house by ourselves, we should at least be able to sneak away to the bathroom for a few minutes or put on a movie for the kids (yes I said it) so we can recharge by praying and reading God’s Word.
Some days just a text from a good friend, or the hubs offering to take the family out for dinner on a weeknight, is what you need to catch your breath. It’s not a vacation in the Bahamas, but it may just be enough of a break where you can regroup and then regain your motivation to tackle that mountain of laundry before bedtime.
Raise Children You Want To Be Around
It’s hard to enjoy being around your kids when they have some difficult traits like arguing, tattling and selfishness. All that extra time during the day to dig in and consistently work on their character pays off huge dividends though! You’ll also be the one shaping that character, instead of their peers.
Sometimes, there will be those seasons of nothing but planting, and you grow weary, wondering if there will ever be a harvest. But, eventually, they do yield an abundance of fruit. Just the other day, my normally unfocused seven-year-old got up early, looked up what she had to do for school in my lesson planner, and did all of her assignments before breakfast was even ready. She also got some of her chores in, too.
All those hours of painstaking training in responsibility had finally paid off! I know there will be other battles as she still grows and matures, but this was a huge victory.
You have ample, natural opportunities all throughout the day to work on sibling fighting, obedience, contentment, wise choices, controlling the tongue, etc. And to go deep into those heart issues behind their behaviors.
Also, the more your children get used to spending all that time together, the more they will learn to cooperate and get along. There will eventually be less bickering and petty arguments, leading to more peace in your home and less headaches for you. It sounds counter intuitive, I know, but it works.
Surrender to the work of the Spirit
If you’re quick to get irritated and snap at your children, I have great news! God will use the people He gave you to do routine, daily life with in order to change you. That crucible of pressure called “the home” will refine and transform you more into His image. This 24-7-365 gig of mothering may be exactly what God uses to reach your heart and lead you to depend on Him.
I thought I’d never be able to homeschool because I’m an introvert who gets overwhelmed easily. And it was super hard in the beginning, but the more we settled into a routine, the more I adjusted to our new normal. God has used homeschooling to help me be more patient and gracious towards my children- it does NOT come naturally!
When we recognize that our frustration and impatience with our children is getting the better of us and contributing to relationship problems, this is a perfect opportunity for sanctification. The Bible says we shouldn’t exasperate our children (Colossians 3:21) or provoke them to wrath (Ephesians 6:4).
We believe that by distancing ourselves from our kids during the day, this will restore peace. But this is only an external factor. In the meantime, we’ve failed to work on our own hearts.
It’s possible that we are short circuiting the work God wants to do in us through our children. Our child’s behavior could be triggering something in us from our past that we never dealt with. Or their behavior is a reflection of our own, reminding us of our weaknesses and failures.
Instead of separating yourself from your kids all day and always looking for a break, pause and ask yourself what God may be trying to teach you through this season. Ask Him to increase your self-control with regards to your tongue and temper. The same God who gave you these children will also equip you to raise them!
While admittedly I don’t love every single moment I spend with my children, I do get a pretty sweet trade off. It’s amazing to listen to them read the Bible during our morning devotions, and devour a stack of library books in the afternoon.
It doesn’t get much better than seeing my son help his little sister with spelling or the two of them play together in between subjects, either. All the discussing, observing, creating and designing that takes place here on a daily basis would be missed.
This is what I keep coming back to on those days when I get anxious that the housework and laundry is piling up. A cleaner house and more me time stacked against priceless memories with my children seems awfully dull in comparison. Our kids are only this young and impressionable for a relatively short amount of time, and we are privileged as their moms to make the kind of impact on them during it that only we can!