“A man’s home is his castle.” Isn’t that the old saying?
I educate my three children from home. I also work from home. My home is where I spend the better portion of my life homeschooling my children, cultivating my business, and nurturing my household. I love my home. It is the epicenter of my productivity and where I have experienced some of the best moments of my life. But your castle can quickly become your cage if you are not careful. Being available to homeschool my children is amazing. Having the ability to operate a business from my home and contribute financially to my household is also a wonderful freedom that many do not have. But, no one ever talks about the bad days.
When your home serves so many varying purposes, the boundaries become ill-defined. Home is work. Work is home. School is work. Work is school. While you may set out to work part-time, it often feels as though you are ALWAYS WORKING. There is no clear distinction for your children either (if they are home with you). My husband works outside our home. When I tell the children daddy is working, they understand. His lack of physical presence is comprehensible to them.
On the other hand, when mommy is working, they do not have that same clear-cut separation. To a 5-year-old, they are just being ignored by someone who is too busy looking at her computer or phone. Some days will work like magic. You’ll tackle your tasks like a champ. Educating babies, meeting deadlines, folding laundry, preparing dinner. You will feel invincible.
But other days…will be a gut punch. You will feel spread too thin. You will feel burned out. You will feel exhausted, frustrated. Like you are half-assing 15 different things instead of successfully accomplishing anything. You will feel alone. Quite frankly, you will feel like a failure.
In your attempt to be everything to everyone, it is so easy to neglect your own mental health. That’s not okay! The harsh reality is that you are NOT alone. So many of us feel that way. And your children need you at 100%. When you have confidence in your abilities, it shines through to your children. It also makes you a better parent, spouse, and teacher.
So how do you prevent burnout? Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” answer for every family. Each situation presents its own set of unique obstacles to overcome. For our family, we take at least one day a week where we shut everything down. No work. No school. No house! We get out!
We go to the museum. We go to the park. We run errands. Whatever it is that we do, we make it a point to spend the better part of the day out of the house. Of course, we schedule little play-dates, classes, and excursions like this intermittently anyway. But this particular time, we make it an all day event.
This becomes a little more challenging as the weather gets cooler and the snow starts falling. But, I do my best to be on the lookout for any free opportunities that present themselves in the community. Libraries, community centers, and even local shopping malls can be wonderful sources of affordable family fun during the holidays.
Whatever solution you come to for your family, it is most important that you address that there is a problem in the first place. It is natural that occasional fleeting feelings of inferiority may creep in to our brains. But overall, it is most important that you realize that in your quest to be the best parent, the best spouse, the best teacher, the best homemaker, the best anything…that you do not neglect your best self.