One of the joys of Home Ed are those moments when things just ‘click’ for your child. Those moments when you’re so proud of them, and you, for the skill that they have mastered.
For me, at the moment, that had to be Mr D’s reading. I won’t lie, there have been some awful moments in recent weeks. Moments when I’ve all but marched off to the local school begging them to take him. It’s hard to remain calm and collected and all those things that you wish you were, or that Instagram and Facebook tell us other parents are.
It’s ever important that I take time for me; that I recognise the things that help me take a break and just chill and get to be ‘me’ for a bit rather than mum, teacher, nurse etc. It can be something as simple as making time to read a book, getting a bath, going to the gym – whatever that might look like for you.
This week, whilst waiting at the children’s swimming lesson I was talking to another mum who noticed I was in my gym wear – she remarked that she didn’t know how I managed to find time to get to the gym as well as home educate and be at home with the three children, and she confessed she was looking forward to her youngest starting nursery so she could get a break.
First off, I am lucky that my mum and dad help and have offered to have the children for the time I am at the gym for my weekly 1-1, they are also on hand to help have H for those Home Ed events I can’t take him along to, as well as just generally being engaged with and interested in the whole Home Ed thing and what the children are learning – taking as much delight as the children in their joy at getting donut’s after completing their reading challenges.
But as well as that I have learnt, even more so in the last few months, to really take time for me. To carve out those little moments to clear my mind and have a break. For me it’s crucial; it’s a way of achieving balance and taking a bit of time to be selfish; to do something for me and me only.
I have found that it’s really important to identify what works for you. What is it that helps you relax? For some people it might be going for a manicure, going for a coffee, having a browse around the shops. For others, it might be taking time for a hot bath with a favourite bath bomb, sitting back with a good book, or simply enjoying a favourite magazine with a hot drink in peace!
I try to be clear about when I work. My work is my blog – the children know that I’ll check and respond to emails in the day as well as take pictures etc, but in terms of writing my blog or doing the paid work then this happens in the evening when they’re in bed. It’s also easy to be sucked into working every night. I try to be rigid in not spending each night in front of the laptop. I check the nights that Damian isn’t around through work etc and those are working nights, or I choose two nights in the week to work. I then try to be as productive as possible – there’s little point procrastinating! I find writing lists a good way of seeing what there is to do as well as seeing how much I have achieved.
I’ve learnt to not feel guilty for taking time for me – when I go to the gym and leave Damian to bath and read to the children before putting them to bed it’s taken a lot to not feel guilty. It’s silly. The children see enough of me and they enjoy the time alone with Damian (as much as he does too) and they enjoy plenty of my time. I don’t need to feel bad for missing one or two bedtimes a week.
New Year is always a time to take stock of things, hence the popularity of New Year Resolutions! My own plans for 2018 are to read more – I really do enjoy reading and I didn’t read enough at all last year. I have a box of books to get through that I hope to make a good dent in by the end of the year. I’ve almost finished my second book so I am making good progress!
I also want to take better care of me. Since having the children my hands have really struggled – the skin can get really dry and cracked, especially at this time of year. I have some 7th Heaven items to use, having used their face masks I do find that they help to keep my skin soft. I’ve got a couple of the moisturising gloves and they’re perfect for helping my hands heal. I am sure I’m not the only one that notices how much my skin suffers in the cold and with central heating! I now make sure I always have hand creams in my bag or car and regularly moisturise my hands throughout the day. It’s helping my skin – especially in this cold weather when they can get really dry and sore.
Encouraging my creative side is something I want to do this year – I have always enjoyed cross stitching and have signed up to the Frosted Pumpkin Stitch along. I am awaiting the first instalment of the pattern and look forward to starting that next week. I also like to treat myself to cross stitch magazines as a treat – and at this time of year there are some great deals around.
When you’re at home with your children, especially if you home educate, how do you make time for you? How do you find ways to unwind and relax?