Of all the excuses people give for not homeschooling, this one hurts my heart the most. I can’t homeschool, I have to have my me time. It falls along the same lines as “I’d kill my kids or they’d kill me” (which also makes me sad) and I’ve noticed it comes mainly from moms who are torn between a tugging they feel to bring their children home and what is “expected” of them by society/family/their favorite professor in college. It often comes up in conversations that begin with “Well, we’ve discussed homeschooling but . . . ” followed by a list that seems a little too well rehearsed.
*I do not think God calls every single Christian family to homeschool. I do believe there are a lot of families being called to homeschool but ignoring or refusing to for many reasons. If you truly do not feel that you are being called to homeschool, this post is not for you 🙂 I’m also not saying that quiet and alone time is bad, creative and quiet pursuits are also a gift from God, it’s just not a good reason not to homeschool.*
Why ME time is not a reason to choose not to homeschool
Yes, I said choose. It’s a choice. Just like becoming a parent is a choice. Just like loving your child through sleeplessness, tantrums, sickness, disabilities, learning struggles, social awkwardness, bad choices, and everything else they may throw your way in the years you are blessed to parent them. (It doesn’t stop at 18, just ask my mom.)
The moment you choose to have that child and keep that child for your own you also choose to accept all the pieces of parenting God entrusts us with when He sends us our heritage, our living legacy, our children. Accepting to train a child up in the way he should go is not a 4 hour a day job. It is a 24-hour a day job. If you feel a tiny nudge, a twinge of guilt when you see that yellow bus, or consistent little signs that perhaps you are being called to homeschool, I guarantee you that is the Holy Spirit. Why?
Homeschooling is a sacrifice
The world is absolutely right about that! You lose time to yourself, time to clean your house, time to have a latte with your BFF at the local Starbucks, time to read the newest “it” novel while tanning your legs on the back deck during those quiet school-day hours. You may not be able to finish that degree in the time frame you wanted. You may never get that new car. Your clothes may all be thrifted if you “give up” that second income.
But what about if you ignore that tiny voice? What do you sacrifice then?
Time. You cannot buy back or replace gone time with more, better spent, or extra time. This is the only time you have. Your choice of how you spend it has eternal consequences for the hearts of your children.
Yes, it’s true. If you follow the call to homeschool you may not get much, if any some days, me time. There are days I consider it a triumph to get 5 minutes of alone time with God before the day gets away from me. There will be days with no showers. There will be days you claim a win because everyone finished a math lesson but nothing else that was scheduled got done. There will be days when dinner burns in the crock-pot because baby fingers can reach higher than you thought. There will be invitations to grown up gatherings you have to turn down because you can’t afford a sitter on one income. There will be much sacrifice. There will be much denying of self. There will be much much much time spent on your knees in prayer.
Is the sacrifice of me time worth it to homeschool?
What if I get too cranky? You will. What if I lose it and go all angry mom on my kids and my hubby? That will probably happen, too. What if I screw it all up and my kids suffer? At some point, you will mess up. You will need to ask forgiveness and grace from your children. Model for them that it’s OK to mess up and when it’s their time, show them grace. God will equip you for the task to which He has called you. Rest your weary, homeschool-called head on the promise of His light burden, His loving-kindness, and His plan for your family.
The biggest secret I’ve learned about me time
When I give my children the gift of my time, intentional and attentive, I give them a sacrificial love offering. I give up “me” time for “them” time. Without fail, in those raw moments when I want “me” but choose “them”, that empty cup is filled. It’s funny how God shows up like that, proving again and again His love for us and how much better His plans are.
What does giving up me time get me?
I’m so glad you asked! Giving up me time gets you more time with your children. More firsts, more growing together, more learning together. It gets you an insight to your child’s mind and heart that simply does not happen with only 3 hours a day interaction. It gets you the kind of relationship with your child that grows and blooms into a trusted friendship in later years. It gets you a front row seat to the life of your child allowing you to guide their hearts and their steps toward God.
Giving up your time to be there, to walk this path of life and homeschool with your child, is also one of the most sanctifying journeys possible. You will both see the good, the bad, and the sinful ugly of each other. You will also see real grace, real mercy, real forgiveness, and real love daily. Don’t let your fear rob you of the joy that comes from following God’s plan for your family.
To see more “I Can’t Homeschool Because . . . ” posts from the iHomeschool Network, click here.
Motherhood is a sacrifice–homeschooling is a sacrifice. The sacrificial life is a life worth living.
I get the need for “me” time. I DEFINITELY have a need for “me” time. The thing is, my kids are learning to respect this by staying at home with me and understanding that I’m not going to be entertaining them for the entire day. Sometimes, they need to go play upstairs so that Mommy can exercise, read a book, chill, whatever.
The importance of mom having “me” time is just as important as children learning how to respect their parents as people who have needs, and not only as their providers.
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Lara Molettiere says
I absolutely agree moms need time to refuel! I need downtime as much (or more, I’m an extreme introvert) as the next mom. I do not, however, think 8 hours a day of “me” time is a good excuse for not homeschooling 🙂
We have a solid hour every afternoon of downtime for everyone. I do whatever I choose, the boys know they must be quiet and are allowed to do a quiet activity. It’s a refreshing hour where we can all decompress and then get back to co-exisitng happily!
Heather Caliri says
I’m so torn on this post. Part of me agrees: our culture is too quick to shuffle kids to the side so that we have lots of autonomy once they’re in kindergarten. And learning to have them alongside me has been the most wonderful spiritual discipline, the most heart-enlarging thing I’ve ever attempted. It is SO worth it.
But–I’m afraid of the message that we should ignore our heart’s yearning for quiet moments to ourselves, our own projects, and our own needs. I’m afraid of it because I’m the type of person who has taken that road before, and it led to depression, which was _not_ a blessing to my family. If we’re homeschooling out of a sense of obligation instead of a calling of joy, I think it can lead to dark places. If we feel like we have to, should, must, then we can feel trapped really quickly.
I also think that it’s good for kids to see that I have projects, pursuits, and dreams of my own. It helps them see how to take those steps themselves, and it shows them that they are important to my world without being my world, you know?
Hi, Heather! I think the fact that you are homeschooling shows you are not a “me time” mom. I’ve heard so many mom’s clinging to the fact that they have to have their alone time (to the tune of 5 8-hour days a week, two weeks into sumer vacation begging for the summer to be over so their little “terrors” can go back to school and be dealt with by someone else) so they simply couldn’t homeschool. That’s really what this post is addressing.
We all need time to recharge, and God knows and acknowledges that. As long as our passions, projects, and dreams don’t get in the way of our main callings, whatever they are, I think God blesses those and helps us see them to fruition. But I have found, for me, that most often when I am straining to get time for “my stuff”, that I’m ignoring something God is pointing me toward. When I listen and follow His lead first, I often find the time for music, painting, reading and writing and my children sometimes do their own thing or join me.
I believe it is important for them to know that Jesus is my King, my husband is our family’s leader, and that helping their little hearts to learn about God and to want to follow Him are my main calling during this season in my life. Meal ministry, writing, homeschooling, all that falls behind those. It is totally possible to let your children know how important they are without making them think they are the most important thing, though the way society would have us do it makes them feel they are second fiddle to every whim mom or dad has. The balance must be Spirit-led to keep our children’s value intact. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!
Holly Davis says
Awesome, encouraging post~
So many people tell me “You’ve got to make time for yourself!”. But when I look to Jesus He says “Spend your life on Me.” The world thinks differently than He does. I spend my time and life on the children and the interests of God because He says this is the way to life. Time and time again I have found Him to be right.
Christine Smith says
Great article. I just want to say that I don’t think Me Time equals Time With God. We have 6 kids (21 down to 7) and have done school in a variety of ways including one year of everyone in public school FT. (We are back to homeschooling again – huge sigh of relief). Over the many years of babies, toddlers, sleeplessness, schedules and not, teen drivers, working from home, working away from home, etc. I have found that my sometimes seasonal cravings for Me Time was always artificial and only pointed to some other deep need that I was not pressing into Jesus for. I have finally reached the place that I know deeply that a good solid time with the Lord every day (and with additional touchpoints throughout the day) is as utterly essential as breathing. I literally can’t NOT do it. The filling of my spirit, empowerment and direction for my entire day flows from this time. I will postpone my kids starting their schoolwork or have them work quietly until I am released into our day because it from that wellspring of Life that our entire homeschool day flows. That’s something completely different than a mani/pedi because it covers ALL of us with grace and encouragement. I pray the same abundance for you!
Hi, Christine! I absolutely agree! God’s time is not anything like “me” time 🙂 With my boys being incredibly early risers, I don’t usually get solid devotional time until they are fed and I have a few minutes to spend quietly with God. Though recently, I felt convicted for trying to hide away in my room for that few minutes for absolute quiet and began doing my reading and devotions at the kitchen table where my 4 year-old would watch and eventually joined me. Now we take turns with which devotion we do first, his or mine, and Sunday in church he was “highlighting” his Bible with his crayon. And while I almost got upset that he was marking up his Bible without really knowing what he was doing, I immediately realized that at this point, God is using my study methods to plant seeds for my sons future studying. So that has made our shared time in the morning even more filling 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and sharing!
Amy M says
Lara, this is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart!
Dianna @ The Kennedy Adventures says
This should have come with a ‘this will make you cry big fat ugly tears’ warning.
This is hard, and it’s a sacrifice, no doubt, but the returns in the relationships I’m creating in my family are so very rich and worth it.
It is so worth it! I can’t imagine how you do all that you do, Dianna! But I know your family is so very blessed by you! Hugs!
Sarah M. says
I find over and over again that the more I try to carve out me time, the crankier my children and I all become. The more time I spend serving them (helping, loving, conversing, teaching, etc), the happier my heart. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy getting out of the house to somewhere other than the grocery store on occasion, or never sit and read or exercise. I take the opportunities if they arise ;-).
LOL, I feel like it’s a vacation when I go to the grocery store by myself! I agree, it is so fulfilling to serve others instead of self. Thanks for stopping by, Sarah!
I worked when my children were born so I never had ‘me’ time except when I was awake early in the morning. As a working Mom, I did have lunches out without children and the bathroom was off limits – obviously, I was in a working building. So, I guess in some ways I had me time. But this ‘thought’ was confusing to me when I heard it – after I quit my job to be home. Now, I get up early and long for that time – coffee, Bible,music – time with Jesus. So, in many ways, I still don’t have ‘me’ time – it’s His time to be with me – to grow me. Great post… I wonder what our Great GrandMothers would say about Me Time?
I struggle with Jesus time sometimes because the boys quite often wake up the sun, so I usually end up getting my few minutes to start the day after I get something on the table for the boys to eat, but I love my morning time. I also enjoy the time I get to spend learning the Bible with the boys. And my Mamaw Mink, oh the looks she could give, would most certainly give a look and a lecture (complete with Bible thumping on the head if needed) if someone were to tell her they needed “me” time 🙂 I miss that sweet spunky lady!
Rebekah Edmonds says
Great post… Giving up “me” time is still something I struggle with- even though we are homeschoolers!
I do, too, Rebekah. Quite often, I write from a place of conviction 🙂 Thanks for visiting!