After a particularly challenging week of work, I thought it appropriate to take some time and talk about self care for working Mamas. Thus, this week we will be answering the questions of: When Do I Sleep? ... and other self-care issues.
*This post contains two affiliate links. These are to my favorite vitamins and sunscreen. If you have questions about them, feel free to ask! I am disclosing this in a accordance with FTC regulations.
Hopefully by now you've realized that working homeschooling Mamas must plan ahead. When we don't plan, the semblance of order in the home collapses. It is much easier to keep the ship going forward, even at a slow speed, than to start it up again once it has crashed.
This means: YES, you're going to have to schedule in your sleep! Now I know from years of experience that scheduling sleep can be a pain. Who really wants to go to bed on a Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. when the rest of the family is playing outside? No one. However, sometimes that is precisely what you need. If you have a hard time winding down to fall sleep (especially if you are working nights and sleeping days, or need to take an evening nap,) choose to read a devotional or your Bible before going to sleep. Don't worry about falling asleep while reading your Bible...you'll do your Bible study during the day with your children, or with your spouse, or even while you eat breakfast. This is making a conscious choice to read something reflective before sleep. Do NOT read a novel before bed...or you'll never get any sleep!
Kurt used to call me his sleep camel. For several years he was working days, I was working nights, sleeping mornings, and educating the girls after they had lunch (my breakfast.) Every Friday night I would crash and crash hard. It was not uncommon for me to sleep 12 hours straight through until Saturday morning. It kept me going, because there were multiple day during the week when I was averaging 5.5 or 6 hours of sleep a day.
Was this an ideal situation, being a sleep camel? No! Of course not! Was it my reality? Yes! That leads to some other self-care issues.
Why do working and homeschooling moms often wear jeans or long skirts when everyone else seems to be wearing shorts? Because those strapped for time would rather sleep another 10 minutes than take time to shave their legs every other day. LOL!
Working Homeschooling Mamas need to have a self-care routine. It needs to be quick, easy, and effective. If you deny your self-care needs, you'll end up sick, and then everyone suffers. Do you take multivitamin everyday? Do you wear sunscreen on your face everyday? Do you have regularly scheduled alone time w/ your spouse every week?
I have a basic routine that I've followed for years.Yes, it varies, but usually not by much. Good routines make easy habits to accomplish in a short amount of time. Here is my basic routine: Get out of bed, drink my vitamins, hop in the shower, get dressed, apply sunscreen & comb my hair. Eat breakfast (granola, or hot oats in the winter,) and finish my vitamins. I usually read my email on my phone while eating my bowl of cereal. Next, If I'm working days: I finish packing my lunch, kiss the girls, and head out the door. If I'm working nights (& this routine just happened while the girls are eating lunch,) then it's off to do math or grammar or science with the girls ~ whatever they need help with the most.
Does that sound like I steamroll through my routine? Yup! Am I a nicer person on the weekends when I'm not working and have more time ~ probably, but you'd have to ask someone from my family to find out. Sometimes I think they like it when I steamroll through my routine and head to work, then they can linger over breakfast. :)
Other self-care questions? There are a lot of them, so let's talk about a few.
When do you file your nails?Almost never. I cut them with clippers. I work with my hands everyday, and I've been blessed by God with some sturdy, fast-growing nails. I plan to clip them once a week (yes, they grow that fast,) and I do it after applying sunscreen and before eating breakfast.
When do you go to the Dentist, Eye Doctor, Doctor?Not often. I try my best to stay healthy, so visits are limited to actual need. Our local dental clinic has a sliding-fee scale for payment, so I try to schedule my appointments there a few weeks in advance so I can make sure to have it at a time I can be off of work. Usually the first appointment after lunch is ideal. Even if they're running late from lunch, you're still one of the first they see, so wait times are minimal. Eye Doctor? About once every 15-18 months, as needed. They have evening appointments too, so it varies based upon what I'm currently working.
One appointment to NEVER miss? The Chiropractor! We have an awesome chiropractor who keeps me healthy by fixing what I mess up. Every three weeks. What? Yes, every three weeks! I am positive that her tremendous care is what has kept me this fit for all of these years of hard manual labor! If you live nearby, just ask, I'll refer you!
When do you grade papers?Is this really self-care? Yes! Because I cannot let things stack up for me to get around to "sometime" because that sometime never comes. I rarely grade papers. I give most of the girls' non-math quizzes orally, leaving only a few things that actually need graded each month. Now that they're both in High School, we have found several self-grading or self-evaluation courses for them to use, making my job as teacher much easier.
When do you do things for fun?Often, rarely, daily. This one depends on your definition of "fun." I try to see each challenge as an opportunity for God to work through me. My paying job can sometimes be fun. Watching one of the girls understand something for the first time can be fun. Weeding the garden can be quite satisfying...especially when there are fresh strawberries to pick!
When do you read?Daily. It might only be five minutes in my Bible, but I make it a point to read every day. Sometime I take a small book to work to read on my lunch break. Sometimes I'll put an e-book on my Kindle app on my phone. If we're going on a family trip, I usually take the latest issue of Molly Green or our National Parks magazine to read in the car. Magazines are easier, because I can either browse the pictures, read on article, or just amuse myself depending on what else is going on in the car, and how far Kurt will be driving before I need to do something.
When do you get Christian Fellowship?Mostly on Sundays at church. We have a wonderful church body, and we usually all stay after services and fellowship while we have lunch (each family brings their own, and we share desserts.) That gives us a couple hours to talk, share, and have fun together as a church body most weeks. We also talk, email, and text each other during the week.
I am also a part of a wonderful group of bloggers who share, encourage, and pray for each other.
Sometimes my life looks crazy to outsiders. Some days, it might even feel a little crazy to me. Mostly though, it's just lived to the fullest. Jesus promised that in John 10:10 ~ The thief comes only to steal and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Life lived to the full. My life, pleasant boundaries, following my Savior. One day at a time. :)