Written by Sarah Gray
As a college student, I listened to a talk in General Conference about emergency preparedness. My roommate and I discussed the things we had learned, and we decided to store a few gallon jugs of water and granola bars in the bottom of our closet. One day there was an announcement that all the water in the dorms—perhaps even in the entire campus—was not safe to drink. Everyone was annoyed at the disruption, but my roommate and I smiled confidently at each other. We were prepared!
When I think of self-care as a homeschooling mother, I compare it to those jugs of water. When I am healthy and my kids are happy and learning well, I may not see the true value of rejuvenating myself daily. But as soon as I get sick or the kids don’t enjoy learning one day, I immediately think that I should’ve taken extra care of myself and that I need to give myself that attention right away. Without self-care I have no reserve to draw from in times of stress. Marion G. Romney stated, “Man cannot be an agent unto himself if he is not self-sufficient. Herein we see that independence and self-reliance are critical keys to our spiritual growth. Whenever we get unto a situation that threatens our self-reliance, we will find our freedom threatened as well.”
I find that when I rise early to pray, study the scriptures, and write in my journal, I feel enlightened and peaceful. When I have time in the morning I read a book or work on my latest interest—something that fulfills me and fills me with an external source of energy. I find that this part of my day actually inspires me to teach my children better. When I have the Spirit of the Lord and am inspired in my own education, I see clearly the work and the joy that are such an integral part of education—and I want to share that with my children. Truly, taking care of myself in small and simple ways is caring for my family.
Here are some additional ideas from LDSHE moms. As you read these tips, maybe you’ll be inspired to create or modify your routine so you can better prepare for all the opportunities that lie in store for you each day.
- Reading, de-cluttering and organizing, and quilting. Reading is a great escape valve. I always feel better when I get rid of things that are no longer useful. The quilts I make are usually for others. Giving a gift that I’ve put thought, effort, and a lot of time into always makes me feel good. – Melysa M.
- Taking a hot bath for 15-20 minutes once or twice a month. Reading a story, fiction or non-fiction, but no self help or DIY books. Yoga. Going for a hike in the woods. Playing with my kids without any agenda. – Emily O.
- I often nap, exercise, play the piano (I’m learning!), or just take advantage of quiet time to sit with a pad of paper and a pencil and capture all the thoughts swirling in my head. – Anne B.
- I like to brush my teeth. It’s like a mouth massage and it helps calm my nerves. Also reading talks by Julie Beck helps me stay grounded and focused as a mom. Prayer has become a lot more of a daily vital life force for me. – Esther D.
- I’ve recently found great power and peace by meditating and doing visualizations at the beginning and end of the day. There are days where I’m not able to do anything else for myself. But guaranteeing myself those 15 minutes twice a day is enough to keep me going. – Mindy R.
- Reading, meditation, yoga, and hot baths. These are all much easier to do when the kids get older, but even short breaks when my kids were little were still really valuable for my emotional health. Something I’ve discovered in the past couple of years are MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)–free online classes that you can work on as much or as little as you want, and can do on your own schedule. Coursera, EdX, and CreativeLive are good places to look for subjects that interest you. – Anarene Y.
- Bubble baths and a book! – Caroline N.
- Taking pictures of my kids! It’s my passion, and I’m learning a lot about photography, so when I take pictures of my kids I have the triple fulfillment of practicing my hobby, learning something new, and being satisfied by recording precious moments in a beautiful way. It’s a win win! – Crystal D.
- Reading and attending my own classes to further my education. And any social activity that includes good food! – Amber D.
- Get up early! I resisted this idea for years, but it is so worth it. It’s the single best thing I do for my emotional/spiritual/physical health. I get up and spend time with the Lord first, then plan my day, and (when possible) exercise for 15 minutes. – Julie F.
- Taking time to center myself by reading my scriptures and writing in my scripture journal helps me more than anything else, but also taking time for a real phone call with a friend, spending an afternoon lost in a good book, taking a walk around the block, and meeting my husband for lunch are all things that rejuvenate me. – Rachel M.
- Attending Relief Society meetings during the week. Cooking and baking. Watching a movie with my husband after he puts the kids to bed. – Erin K.
- Reading when everyone is still sleeping or after they are all in bed.
- Family history work.
- Reading a grown-up book.
- Jog for 30 minutes most days.
- Spending time with other homeschool moms—they “get it.”
Sarah attended Southern Virginia College, where she studied liberal arts and met many people who were homeschooled. It was through these experiences that the seeds of homeschooling her children were planted. Sarah embraces much of the Thomas Jefferson Education philosophy, and also loves practicing the Montessori method of hands-on education, particularly for preschool children. Sarah holds a black belt in karate.
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