Homeschooling can be challenging at times. Homeschooling with depression? That’s in a league of it’s own. Add a baby to that equation, and it can seem completely impossible. I’m here to tell you that it’s 100% possible. Hard? Yes. Very. But definitely doable, as long as you’re taking every step to take care of yourself. I’m here to share my experience.
My Mental Health
The past few weeks I’ve been in a bit of a fog. My anxiety and depression have awakened from their slumber, but I’m trying to put them back to sleep. Having a baby always wreaks havoc on a woman emotionally and hormonally, but when you’re already trying to keep emotional disorders at bay it’s a tad more frustrating when it all gets thrown out of whack. Good thing that baby is so dang cute…
I know that eventually the fog will clear. Sometimes it takes a few days, sometimes a few months. Patience is key. Endurance is key. Hope is key.
Keep in mind that I’m currently seeing specialists and getting treatment for my mental health – that’s the first step. Patience, endurance, and hope alone can’t cure anxiety and depression (I know, I’ve tried).
I know there are things I can do to help myself, and I’m trying to do them. I’ve had little to no desire to do anything lately, but I feel like the past couple of days were pretty dang productive, and I’m proud of myself.
Today we started a screen time fast. No TV or video games for 3 days. I was worried it would be difficult with my lack of energy, but the boys did well entertaining themselves outside, and we even cleaned up the living room, vacuumed, pumped up some jams and had a dance party – that definitely helped cheer me up 🙂
The Joy in Homeschool
There’s a quote about motherhood that I really like by M. Russell Ballard (you might remember from my last post). Ever since I first read it, it’s been stuck in my head. The more I think about it, the more I relate to it and the more it extends to other parts of my life.
…the joy of motherhood comes in moments. There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction.M. Russell Ballard
It’s so true.
I think you could even replace “motherhood” with “homeschooling” and it would still be so true!
The joy in homeschooling comes in moments.
The joy in life comes in moments.
Homeschooling is hard, and sometimes life is hard. There are lots of moments of frustration, but there are also shining moments of joy and satisfaction.
Kender wrote me this love note the other day. It melted my heart instantly. He wrote it for me, totally unprompted and in his very best handwriting, to show me that he loves and appreciates me.
Getting that sweet little love note was a shining moment for me.
Homeschooling with Depression… AND A BABY!
Homeschooling is hard in general, but you add challenges like a new baby and depression to the mix it’s a whole new kind of struggle.
You have zero energy due to lack of sleep and depression. You’re in the middle of a lesson, but nap time didn’t last as long as you hoped so you stop to get baby. Then you have to change baby and feed baby. By now the older kids are hungry and need lunch, so you have to feed them. You’re constantly bouncing back and forth between baby and school and typical daily needs… It feels like an all-day game of mommy ping pong, and it’s exhausting.
Mason is 6 months old now, and the biggest challenge for me so far has been trying to get us on a predictable routine, while also trying to get some sleep and fill my cup so I don’t ruin my mental health.
Mason has been in a weird stage the past few weeks where he’s bored in his jumper, is too big for the bumbo, but can’t sit up on his own yet so I end up holding him most of the time. Thankfully, he started sitting up on his own today!!
Here are a few things that have helped me so far:
- Be flexible. Trying to follow a rigid schedule at this stage in life is a quick way to get discouraged. Don’t over-burden or over-schedule yourself! And give yourself some grace ❤
- Simplify. School for us right now is mostly playing in the dirt and enjoying nature. And that’s ok! It’s temporary. I hate not getting things done in the time frame that I had planned on, but sometimes you have to adapt.
- Find something you enjoy and make time for it. Water can’t be drawn from an empty well. For me, it’s my blog. This is my creative outlet right now. I enjoy photography, graphic design, and writing. This blog is a great place to practice all three!
- Say a prayer. Trials are a natural part of life, but God helps us when we ask for it. It can be hard to do this one when you have depression (at least it is for me), but I believe God blesses our efforts, even if we don’t feel it right away.
I’m finding things that were easy(ish) with two kids are not so easy with three… But I know that this season in life is temporary. Mason is growing up so fast, and before I know it he will be two and he’ll want to start doing school like his big brothers. And the fog will clear.
Most days don’t happen the way I want them to right now, but my kids are being kids. They are playing together, building strong relationships, and bonding with their baby brother. Our progress may be slow for the next few months, but it’s still progress!
One of the biggest perks of homeschool is that you can go at your own pace. Remember that, and when things don’t go as planned, just go play in the dirt with your kids. They’ll remember it and love you for it.
You got this!