Soul Care for the Homeschool Mom
This past weekend I was blessed with the chance to get away with about thirty other homeschool moms for a few days of refreshment and encouragement. The theme of our retreat was “The Lord is my Shepherd,” and we spent some time meditating on Psalm 23. As I dive back into our every day life, I’m surprised by how much easier it is to get through coming off the “high” of the retreat.
“…He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul…”
It is so essential that we trust the Lord to take care of us and allow Him to truly be our Shepherd. Maybe you can’t get away for a weekend retreat (although if you have the opportunity, don’t hesitate to jump on it!), but there are many other ways God can restore the soul of a weary homeschool mom.
Sometimes I have the luxury of sitting down to read a book. (I recommend anything by Sally Clarkson!) Other times I really need to get some laundry folded so I’ll put on some kind of audio recording like a podcast, sermon, lecture, interview, etc.
I’ve shared many times before on what a great tool an iPod is for teaching our children, but I also use it a lot for me. (I actually have very little music on it that’s not related to my children, but I have lots of audiobooks, sermons, and other spoken word recordings.) I discovered podcasts back when I was pregnant with Ian and couldn’t believe what an amazing resource they are. I have learned so much from listening to others share their wisdom through this medium (all for FREE)! Search on iTunes for “homeschool convention” and you’ll find hours of free listening from various conventions that can encourage you or offer insight on some aspect of homeschooling that might be frustrating you. There also several podcasts that regularly offer encouragement to homeschool moms (try Inspired to Action, That Mom, or search for interviews by Sally Clarkson or Heidi St. John), though some of them are too short for my taste. (I don’t really like brief podcasts. I don’t want to be running over to the iPod/computer every 5-minutes to put on a new one. I don’t even want to change topics that often. So I tend to stick with longer recordings.) Search for your favorite authors. Many times I’ve found recordings of interviews they’ve done around a book release. I love getting to hear their voices imparting wisdom to me in my living room!
When am I supposed to find the time?
That’s the problem, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s just a matter of priorities, making the choice to care for your soul instead of some time-sucking activity. Other times it’s just downright hard. For me, naptime is golden. My oldest is six, and maybe he doesn’t always need an afternoon nap, but I need a little time out each day. He always benefits from some quiet time, even if he read or listens to an audiobook the entire time. In our house, all the children are lying on their beds from about 1-3 each day (depending on when we finish lunch). It helps keep us all sane (especially because my husband doesn’t usually get home until about 7:30, which makes for a VERY long day when you’re home alone with four small children).
If it’s not realistic for your family to have everyone lie down, there are other ways to carve out a little time in your day to take care of yourself. I like the idea of “quiet time bags” that I read about in a post by Elizabeth Curry published at Heart of the Matter. It might take some training, but I think this would work really well with my children. Another great idea is “Station Rotation.” I read this idea from Beneath My Heart a while back and have been clinging to the idea ever since. I don’t need it yet because we have naps, but I know there will be a day when this is going to save my sanity.
The Good Shepherd takes care of His sheep. “He leads me beside still waters.” Will we stop and take the time to rest there?