Monday, September 15, 2014

The importance of self-care

One thing I am learning quickly, is how important self-care is as a homeschooling parent...and particularly as an introvert. I am really trying to be available to my kids during the day, to fully take advantage of the flexibility we have to jump on an interesting thought or question or opportunity when it arises. I have noticed that for D we really need to tackle questions right when that curiosity comes out, as later it will have passed and he may not be interested anymore. He also loves to tell me stories, made-up adventures or telling his own version of a movie or show or game and how he would make it differently, and I want to listen to these stories and give him my full attention.

Being this available and attentive all day long, however, wears on me. It drains me of energy, and I need to replenish it with time by myself, with quiet and solitude, without anyone talking to me or asking me questions or whining or needing anything from me. I used to take "mommy time outs" when the boys watched TV, but as I have loosened the reigns on "screen time" I also am wanting to be much more involved in what they are watching (and they often really want me sitting with them as they watch as well, to cuddle together and talk about the show as we're watching it), so I don't get those breaks much anymore.

It doesn't help things that my husband works long days and is usually not home until well after the boys have gone to sleep, so I am solo parenting for dinner and bedtime most nights.

One benefit of Zach's long hours is that once the boys are in bed, I sometimes get the quiet house to myself for a couple hours before I need to get to sleep myself. I try to mark out time on the weekends for myself, but it's difficult as that is our chance to enjoy family time all together. I'm working on figuring out other ways to give me some time and space during the week. I love being able to be home with my boys, but I also realize it is important for me to take care of myself, so that I can be more patient and present with them the rest of the time.

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