One of the biggest challenges and gifts with homeschooling is time with our children. Managing time, especially finding time to yourself, to be alone, can be tricky.
I need alone time. It's, in fact, one of the things that makes me the most jealous about moms who stay at home and have their kids in school. What I couldn't get done in 5-7 hours by myself, right?
Alone time allows me to care for myself and recharge. And when my kids are home all day homeschooling, alone time is a luxury item.
The Secret to Finding Alone Time as a Homeschool Mom
In different seasons, I have found pockets of time in different places and here are just a few of my favorite wats:
1. Get Up in the Mornings Before My Kids: I didn't do this when I had babies and usually this works better for me in winter when it's dark and my kids are sleeping later. This is time when I read, pray and exercise. I've found that I love the quiet hours in the morning if I can rouse myself out of bed. If I leave a glass of water on my nightstand and drink it first thing before I get out of bed, I instantly feel more awake and more likely to get out of bed. Small habits, stacked together. It helps!
2. Hire a Babysitter/Helper: I've found a sweet spot with finding helpers and it's the homeschooled teenager. We used to hire college kids as babysitters but they always had shifting or conflicting schedules, were expensive and never had daytime availability. But homeschoolers do! And they're (in my experience) super responsible and reliable. Usually I am still home when our babysitter/helper is here twice a month, or I run a few errands alone. If you have the funds, this is a great way to sneak in a few hours alone!
3. Dinner with Dad: Especially when my kids were a little bit younger, there were often days where my husband would come home from work, I would have supper ready but would take it alone in my room. I would be "back on shift" to help with bedtime in a few hours but would take two to myself while he did supper, cleanup and playtime with the kids alone. This allowed me enough recharging to be ready to engage again at bedtime but gave me a window of time alone. I usually do 2 meals alone with the kids and 8-9 hours of parenting and homeschooling, so it's nice for him to get that experience every so often too!
4. Weekend or Evening Getaways: It can be tough to get away during the evenings or weekends, especially if you're nursing or if this feels like prime family connection time, but it's important to nourish and care for yourself. Sometimes I just drive around for an hour with my music on loud or go get a coffee. I might wander around the thrift store or meet up with a friend. Sometimes I grocery shop alone or ask my family to go on an outing so that I can clean the house and be alone. I do these things with the kids so much that it can be very relaxing to do it solo.
5. Daily Quiet Rest Time: Every day we practice the habit of resting by taking a 60-90 minute quiet rest time. Here's a post about how we established this rhythm in our family. Most days this saves my sanity!
6. Cartoons and Technology: In a pinch, this is a very effective way to get some alone time. It's not my favorite, but also, if I need it I embrace it wholeheartedly! I used to think I was a bad mom if I let my kids watch "too" much television. But now, I realize that sometimes I'm a crabby, anxious, stressed mom if I don't have some time to myself to think straight, so I know that a cartoon movie isn't going to do as much damage in the long run as my frustration or yelling might.
7. Staying Up Late: Maybe you're more of a night person. I am, but it is easy for me to stay up late, just for the sake of staying up late. If I'm careful (sometimes I set a timer) to stick to a bedtime and use my time in a mindful way, the evening hours can be just as restful as the early morning hours can be!
If you don't have community around you, check out this post on Self Care Without Help. Self care and alone time go hand in hand! When I do find alone time I try to only do things that will recharge my batteries and equip me to come back to parenting and homeschooling a better mom. So, going to the dentist doesn't count for alone time in my book (unless they give you laughing gas because that seems pretty relaxing! Haha). The most important thing about alone time is that you find time or make time for it somewhere in your schedule and that you use it strategically.