I didn’t have the best Sunday afternoon. Decadently, I’d spent a lovely morning reading in bed, but after lunch I needed to go out and stretch my legs. The Beans decided to come with me. Normally, I love their company. Their happy chattering and crazy but joyful plans lift my soul. But that afternoon, I’d allowed myself to become irritated by something inconsequential, and I really just fancied going out alone to walk off my frustration. But, as I’d spent all morning on my own, I felt guilty about wanting yet more time, and so didn’t argue when they expressed an interest to join me.
I should have been honest with them. They would have understood. As it was, I came home feeling even more tetchy than when I’d left. Luckily, MrJ was there to talk it through. He reassured me that I’d given them huge amounts of time throughout the week; it was OK to need a break; and that I should stop being so hard on myself.
On the top of next week’s planner, he wrote: BE KIND TO YOURSELF
In my deepest heart, I knew all this really, but sometimes I need a little reminder.
I don’t think I’m the only mum to feel this way.
And so, to all those overwhelmed homeschool mummies out there (existing ones and those newly thrown into it due to the lockdown situation – many of whom are amazingly also holding down a full-time job), here’s a letter to you from your own guardian angels:
Dear Overwhelmed Homeschool Mummy,
I hear you Mummy, answering the millionth question of the day – patiently and sometimes not,
Even though your ears are ringing, and you want to shut yourself away from the world.
Tell your people what you need,
Give yourself space alone.
Take that walk around the block, some time to read or soak in the bath.
They will survive.
I feel you Mummy, sensing intuitively when your babies are not happy,
Taking time to connect with them, reassure their little fears,
And buoy them up when their confidence is teetering.
Even though you’re exhausted, the to do list is overflowing and they need to finish that history.
Be proud of yourself, your love is all they need in that moment.
They will blossom.
I listen to you Mummy, questioning the education you’re providing for your loves,
Should you follow their lead or teach them by subject?
Are you focusing on the right things?
Should you book that extra class or are they too overscheduled?
Don’t worry so. Discuss your concerns with someone you trust, make a call and give the rest to God.
They will excel.
I see you Mummy, giving out hugs by the plenty, finding snacks for growing bodies,
And doling out medicine and plasters,
When they’re “urgently” needed!
Make space for your own mental and physical health too.
Be creative, achieve that fitness goal, call a friend or dance in the kitchen.
They will thrive.
I hear you Mummy, doubting your ability to teach these babies of yours,
Wondering if you’re clever enough?
If you have sufficient knowledge or the right skills?
Trying to get your head around a tricky maths problem to help your daughter.
You are enough. Share what you don’t know and show them learning is a life-long process.
They will flourish.
I see you Mummy, looking at the cold, grey drizzly day through the window,
But encouraging your children up and out of the door anyway,
Along the way swapping stories or stopping to examine an interesting flower,
So that you can all come home refreshed and happy.
Those stories and a love of nature will stay with them for the rest of their life.
They will grow.
I feel you Mummy, despairing when you realise they still don’t fully grasp,
Something you’ve been working on for weeks;
A concept you thought they’d understood.
But remember, I also feel your joy when a connection is made with that “aha” moment,
Or when they excitedly share something they’ve learnt.
They will bloom in their time.
I notice you Mummy, carefully choosing just the right book to inspire your little ones,
Searching through recommendations or seeking advice.
Or planning your next adventure together,
Looking for real-life learning opportunities wherever you go, always thinking of them.
They are blessed these children of yours for the love you show them every day.
They will succeed.
I watch you Mummy, struggling with those difficult days,
When no-one seems able to concentrate,
Tears flow at the drop of a hat (yours and theirs),
And everything just feels so hard that you want to quit.
Take your own advice: stop, don’t fight it and focus instead on finding joy together.
They will endure.
I see you Mummy, busy building relationships with other Mummies,
To find good friends for your children.
Taking them for days out, and joking, giggling, playing together,
Listening to detailed stories about their imaginative games and worlds.
Savour these precious moments,
They will grow up.
I watch you Mummy, constantly comparing yourself to others,
Flicking through social media and marvelling at their healthy home-cooked meals
And beautiful learning spaces.
Wondering if you should do more nature study or music or projects.
Follow your path, focus on your own strengths; God made you perfect for your children.
They will shine.
I hear you Mummy, helping them to conjugate Spanish verbs,
Or resolve arguments. Explaining the science behind why something happens,
And reminding them to do their teeth or have a wash…
Suggesting options for character development, whilst picking up clothes strewn over the floor.
Juggling this many balls takes its toll; give yourself time to rest and recover.
They will prosper.
Your Guardian Angel xxx