When I was researching how to set up a blog, I read several sites containing 'top tips', and one of these was never to write a blog post on a bad day! Apparently, people browse blogs for encouragement and inspiration, not to read about the trials of another person's life. However, my intention is to keep the blog honest, and whilst celebrating some of the delights and adventures, I also what to share the challenges and trials, and how we can work through them. Perhaps some readers can offer their strategies in similar situations!
Yesterday, I was just simply exhausted. I could list reasons, but perhaps those don't matter too much as each of us has busy lives and can relate to tiredness. Also, sometimes I find the days when I can 'justify' being very tired, are not all that tiring, and on other days, I can feel ready to drop without a good clear reason. We were all a bit unwell. I don't mean properly unwell, of the type where you are admitted to hospital or where it is a necessity to ask for extra help with the children. Just chronic, grumbling conditions which had flared up (for me), together with seasonal colds and the after effects of travel vaccinations. Enough that none of us were at our best. And I started to ask myself whether it was really 'worth it'. I spoke with my husband (now back from a short spell working overseas) and told him of my concerns. As usual, he reassured me, but I remained uncertain. Are our principles really achievable? Whilst I can look back at former posts on this blog regarding our reasons for home educating (which were actually written with this kind of day in mind!), are we honestly being realistic? This morning, having had a soak in the bath, taken a good dose of the right medicines and slept better than for the past couple of weeks, things do indeed seem brighter.
The question is simply this? What do other home educating parents do on the days when they would like nothing better than to crawl back into bed with a hot water bottle and some paracetamol? What do you do when you almost feel yourself falling asleep whilst reading stories? What about if you have 'non-urgent' health needs which require attendance at appointments? How do other parents manage these things? You can't take a day off from parenting and home education, can you?
For me, one thing that has become clear over the years is how physical tiredness makes everything seem bleak and impossible. Sometimes, simply a good night of sleep can make a world of difference. (But that itself can be unachievable at times, and that can be a frustration too. It can seem so much easier said than done!). Another thing, is to be honest with my husband. I've mentioned this on previous posts, but we are blessed to be very much united in our approach to raising our family in what we believe to be a godly way. He can't always solve the problem entirely (for example, although wonderful, he cannot breastfeed a baby!) but small things can make a big difference. And simply feeling listened to and understood can help combat that sense of isolation which can become overwhelming. Also, it sounds like a Christian cliche, but to spend time praying about these things is important - perhaps especially on the days when you feel that you have not got sufficient time or energy to do so. Our God is gracious and compassionate, and will not be shocked by our worries or emotions.
In Isaiah Chapter 40 verse 11, we are told, 'He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.' What does that mean, other than that He does understand that having a young family can be a strain in so many ways. In Matthew, we are reminded to: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Then there is the story related in 1 Kings Chapter 19 where Elijah was exhausted and discouraged, and God provided first of all sleep, then nourishing food, and then spiritual encouragement. We do well to learn from that.
I would be interested to know how others deal with these challenges in their lives!
- I am a Christian mother of five, and our highest goal as a family is to serve God in every aspect of our lives. Jesus promised His disciples 'life in all its abundance' (John 10:10) - that has been our story, a rich life, not devoid of challenges, but certainly abundant. Previously writing at www.homeeducationnovice.blogspot.com, we have come to realise that education is just one area where our faith shapes our choices and direction in life. This blog seeks to share our adventure.