Stress Management for Homeschooling Mothers

As homeschool mothers we often expect far too much of ourselves. It’s not uncommon for us to have high expectations that make life uncomfortable for ourselves and for our children.

Then when our expectations are not met we are disappointed, or maybe angry. We drive ourselves harder and struggle on, saying that we will push through this ‘pain barrier’. If we get this far without calling a halt we start to suffer from stress.

Stress isn’t doing something hard.  It can be doing something which is okay and not too hard, but in difficult conditions or over a long period of time without a break.

Let me explain with a story I once heard …

A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, “how heavy is this glass of water?” Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g. The lecturer replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it.”

“If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”

He continued, “And that’s the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again.

“When we’re refreshed, we can carry on with the burden.

“So, before you stop your daytime work for today, put the burden of work down.Don’t carry it into your rest time. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you’re carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can. Relax…pick them up later after you’ve rested.

Life is short. Enjoy !”

And then he shared some ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

1. Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.

2. Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

3. Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

4. Drive carefully.. It’s not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.

5. If you can’t be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

6. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

7. It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

8. Never buy a car you can’t push.

9. Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won’t have a leg to stand on.

10. Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.

11. Since it’s the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

12. The second mouse gets the cheese.

13. When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.

14. Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

15. You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

16. Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

17. We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colours, but they all have to live in the same box.

18. A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Some Recommended Books

If you are interested in keeping or restoring balance in your life, you might enjoy these books:

Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson

Chores without Wars: Turning Housework into Teamwork by Lynn Lott.  Realistic and useful, tells what the family needs to turn housework into teamwork. Instead of family members falling into stereotypes, such as super-mother and spoiled child, a family built on the principles of reciprocity and teamwork can overcome the drudgeries of housework and lead children to value life skills necessary for their futures. Through chores, skills such as cooperation, planning ahead, managing money, and contribution are learned.

The Lazy Husband: How to Get Men to Do More Parenting and Housework By Joshua Coleman. A readable, practical, entertaining book written by a former lazy husband who is also a clinical psychologist.  If you are having difficulty working out how to divvy up the jobs in housework and child care in your house then this book might help.

Clean in a Minute by Don Aslett. The best of Don’s professional cleaning secrets boiled down to under a hundred pages. Great for those faced for the first time with cleaning or anybody who wants just the facts.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Sleep Thieves by Stanley Coren

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein

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Stress Management for Homeschooling Mothers — 4 Comments

  1. What a fantastic article and how true! We really need to be a bit kinder to ourselves (and others) don’t we? It made me laugh – Thanks!

  2. Thank you Stephanie, what a great article and book list! I appreciate it, as it is Sunday and I am about to continue my frenzied life when I really should take some time for me. Love the metaphor of the glass of water! cheers, emma

  3. Hi Suzy, Yes, we need to be kinder to ourselves, don’t we? It’s not about being selfish, it’s about being wise. 🙂

  4. Hi Emma, thanks for your comment. 🙂 I find that I have to constantly work on keeping Sunday set apart and special.
    Have a good week, and that’s a possibility after taking a rest on Sunday to refresh, isn’t it? 🙂

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