Free Time – Survival Tips
A question that I keep being asked, and see it appear all over social media…
……”I’d love to Home – Educate, but worried I won’t have enough time to myself”
This is such a realistic question, but completely bypassed my thoughts as I took my Son out of school!!
Consumed with thoughts of the benefits of home schooling for him, that the negatives had no room to develop in my head. The only critical ideas I had were those planted in my head from other people who thought socialization would be an issue…. so I was too busy battling solutions in that area.
As it happens though, it has been the hardest bit about having the kids at home,, especially since I added baby number 4 to the mix. Sleepless nights and constant breast feeding, took it’s toll a bit, and at times I felt like I was going to have a nervous break down, as I tried to fit in everything each child needed.
I got through it though! They don’t appear too damaged! Still have a loving, happy healthy tribe!
Somewhere in it all, I managed to gather a few tools to help me cope.
Most days I absolutely love my life. I feel absolutely privileged to be spending every single day with my boys. I have learned it’s just borrowed time, and before I know it, they will have flown my comfy loving nest, so I want to make the most of every gorgeous second.
However, If I don’t follow these few simple points, I can easily feel exhausted, overwhelmed and eventually I meltdown into a sack of pathetic tears, when life just feels ‘so unfair!!’
Routine has always been a swear word to me. I am a bit too creative and intuitive to be regimented. But a few daily routines help my situation massively. We have naturally glided into rough meal times, outside play times, dog walks etc. Ok, that’s enough about routine… bored now!!
I’m not overly strict about this, but I do aim to get the younger ones in bed for 7-7.30pm. They get a good amount of sleep, and I get some adult time. I wouldn’t be able to write this if they weren’t in bed! I like to have at least 3 – 4 hours awake time, without being distracted by the smallsies. I have found I need this the most, to unwind and do something for me.
Looking after me too!
Devoting every second of the day to others, I found I can easily neglect myself. It’s when I have neglected my own needs that I can suddenly melt down.. So I aim to eat well, do some exercise, hydrate and rest. I find if I manage those things, I am on form and life is easy.
Saying No to Guilt
I might not always be the perfect super dynamic parent I want to be, but remembering to be kind to myself, I am human, not ‘I robot’!!
I often need reminding that it’s OK to stop when I need to. It’s OK to have off days and watch films under the duvet. In fact that is one of the key benefits to this lifestyle. There is no pressure. It’s easy to take a day or two out of the world, and step back on again when ready.
I’m from Catholic heritage, guilt has been passed down to me from generations! I’m so dedicated to breaking the chain!!
Keep the kids away from Sugar
My kids go loopy if they even smell sugar! Therefore I avoid as much as possible. I much prefer kids that are chilled out and you can reason with them. If we have succumbed to treats, I immediately head for outdoors so they can run off steam!
A little bit of selfish
I rarely remember these days, but I am more than just a mother!! I can be very selfless and give all my time to the kids, but I do realize the importance of ‘me time’. I do need a gentle kick up the bum in this area though, I have become too comfortable in normality!
But after I have had time out with friends, or got involved in some retreat or workshop on my own, I return to the family, refreshed and new and with a little extra spring in my step, ready for whatever they may throw at me with a fixed smile!
Time changes everything
Always worth remembering… as our children grow they need less and less attention.
Every year our free time will increase.
One day, us parents will have so much free time, we won’t know how to fill it. And I know 100% I am going to miss the chaos.
My eldest is 20, I’m lucky if I see him once a week. I feel blessed my younger 3 are at home to take my mind off how much I miss him, but I still feel it. It’s that underlying ache that makes me hold on just a little bit tighter to the others (not too much) It also makes the tough days bearable, because I know, it’s not forever. It’s just a few years, where I have this amazing opportunity to nurture and teach them, and it’s precious.