It is a conversation that I have had a few times during this time of year—moms who are frustrated with struggling, distracted kids.
I am convinced that weather can affect the homeschool mindset on any given day just as much as comfort with the task at hand, or a healthy, filling breakfast, or a restful night’s sleep before the day begins. Maybe I say that because I know how rain or cold affects me, and I have learned that more often than not, Mom is the atmosphere. (Some would say that as, “when Mama ain’t happy…”)
Early in my homeschool journey, I would laugh at the idea of any parent becoming burned out with the day-to-day grind of educating kids at home. If they were more organized (like me), I thought, if they took advantage of multiple approaches (like me), I thought, they might not be so winded by the time the semester ends. Now, I realize how very arrogant it was to think that my own passion and verve would keep me motivated enough to never experience fatigue. All the enthusiasm in the world is no match for a kid who is determined to hate any given book (insert Homer’s Iliad here) or subject, or the eventual wearing down that comes with days and months of being mom, teacher, chief cook and bottle washer, day in and day out.
Because of my own experience and revelation, I have written posts like bouncing back from burnout, or taking a break when you need one. But only recently did it occur to me that the reason behind burnout is not physical, mental, or emotional. Those areas are how burnout manifests itself. The core issue is spiritual.
One of our pastors made a comment recently that hit with the impact of a Mack truck while I sat, privately praying for many things and asking a number of questions.
Burnout happens when we step outside of grace and try to do some things in our own strength.
I could not help but think about my own activities at this point: obsessing over my lesson plans, cherishing one last morning nap and the warmth of my husband’s arms, and mentally counting down the days. Yes, I do pray, but where is my faith? In the quality of my lesson plans? In my mental fortitude? As a Believer, I know better. But my actions might say otherwise…
So, as we end our first semester, I confess that I am not burned out, but definitely dragging and on the road there. Our schedule will need major revisions; after all, we have a college lady now (at least part time).
Rather than obsess about what to do and what not to do on any given day, I will return to the point of grace. I will remind myself that God is with me, that none of our steps are surprises to Him, nor are our steps big deals in His sight. I will remember that ultimately, our daughter’s life is in His hands, not mine; we are just stewards. May all my plans surrender to His will, and may His will be done on earth (including in this home) as it is in Heaven.