Block off your “self” time on the calendar FIRST, then add all of the other appointments and demands later. Preserve your appointments for yourself -- protect this time and use it for your own well-being.
This time is so important, yet so easily sacrificed when other "more important" things crop up. Just as you try not to interfere or make demands on a working spouse's daily work routine, protect this time for yourself as part of your "work" schedule. When I was young, I remember my mother getting up before daylight, quietly going to the kitchen and making coffee. She would sit at the kitchen table with her coffee, looking out the back window into the woods, enjoying the silence for a while, before all of the children woke up and broke into her quiet time. I never understood just how important this time was until we had our own children, and now I appreciate her exasperated look when one of us would awaken early and wander out before daylight!
§ Take time to make time. Begin by blocking off an hour each week that is YOUR time, no exceptions. Even if you go and sit in the library and read a magazine -- just go!
§ Use your time for your needs, not others. What makes you feel better -- reading, catching up on letters, sewing, quilting, walking?
§ Read or listen to audio books -- to help broaden your horizons, add some perspective to your daily life, and open new areas of interest.
§ Try to get up early every morning to have some quiet time before everyone wakes up – read the Bible, pray, and listen.
§ Check out videos from the library that interest YOU -- travel tapes to places that you have dreamed of visiting (Scotland, Australia, Great Britain, Africa, etc.), or perhaps videos that teach things like painting, quilting, cooking, and more.
§ Keep a journal -- write in it every day. Not only does it help you see all that has been accomplished and record the daily happenings -- the simple act of journaling provides a constant steady reminder of the passing of time. As homeschoolers, we tend to get wrapped up in marking time by years until graduation, instead of enjoying the value of each and every day.
§ Make time to see just how far you have come. Go back through picture albums occasionally. Look back over goals from years past. See just how far your family has come, and you will also notice some new directions that need to be taken.
§ How can you help others? Along with hobbies, it is important to many of us to give back to our community. Can you read to the elderly, sew nap quilts for the abused children's home, help out at the library from time to time?
I hope that these suggestions have helped you to see the importance of taking care of the caretaker. When you get some time to continue your own personal growth, you will probably have more patience with your family and your homeschooling efforts. Remember to seek help and support when you are feeling stressed - you are not alone and your needs are very important! As they say around our house, "when Mama ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy!"
As you begin to take care of your needs, your children will learn a valuable lesson -- that everyone has needs that are very important. As parents, our needs tend to get pushed to the background and set aside, and this isn't healthy for the individual or the family.
As I head off to the call of waking children, thanks for sharing a cup of coffee during my quiet time this morning! Here are some thoughts to ponder as you go about your busy day:
"The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be
preserved only by the most delicate handling.
Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly."
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
"To laugh often and love much - to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children, to earn the approbation of honest critics - to appreciate beauty - to give of one's self, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation - to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived-- that is to have succeeded."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Take care of YOU, and God bless!