Straight up, I can offer help for homeschool moms in this one thought: we homeschool mamas need to treat ourselves as kindly as we want to treat our kids.
(Because we can’t practice compassion toward our kids if we’re not practicing it toward ourselves.)
How do you address self-criticism, self-judgment, not good enough, and guilt feelings or perfectionist tendencies as a homeschool mama?
Real help for homeschool mom starts from the ground up: dealing with our mindsets and emotions and building self-compassion techniques into our real homeschool mom life.
You could, on one hand, not address those emotions at all.
You could do the opposite of self-compassion for the homeschool mama:
- just beat yourself up, make yourself feel bad,
- remind yourself how horrible your parenting really is,
- or at the very least, remember that you are a wee bit incompetent or incapable.
Or, you could address that nasty mean person in your head saying all those things and declare, thanks, but no thanks, I’ve got to learn a new way to speak to myself.
How do I propose that you do that though?
(It’s hard to get yourself out of your own head). I know you have stuff to do homeschool mama! And self-compassion is likely not on the list.
I have had a chance to practice self-compassion….and I am committed to practicing it till the day I die.
I strongly suspect I’ll always have a chance to learn to speak kindly to myself and include these practices in my life.
What do we actually do to change those self-criticizing, self-judging, not good enough feelings, shaming, and guilty feelings inside our mind?
We need to practice self-compassion strategies.
I dunno about you but I didn’t adequately plan for my kids’ big emotions.
Straight up, I assumed I could modify their behaviours, and their unpleasant emotions, and definitely decrease their angry reactions, so I wouldn’t have to experience their feelings at all.
Before you judge me (but I do get why you would), it wasn’t conscious. I wasn’t intentional about any of that last paragraph.
Obviously, I would want my kids to feel good, be prepared for life, know how to address their emotions, and know how to relate to others.
However, my training in big emotions was this: don’t feel your big emotions. And at the very least, don’t express them.
But if you do feel your big emotions, pretend they’re not there. There is a designated feeler of emotions in this home, and it’s not you.
Another person in your family will address your emotions occasionally, but since she doesn’t know how to address her own emotions, she won’t be able to see you, help you feel safe, and allow for your emotion’s full expression.
(FYI These important people weren’t intending to convey that message, because they were unhealthily locked in their own patterns, but they still did convey it.)
How did that work for me?
Because I didn’t honour my humanness, see my internal world as safe and normal because I didn’t allow for full expression of my emotions, I carried them inside my body (which caused ill health), and I recreated those unhealthy relational patterns in my grown adult life.
And I also continued those unhealthy relational patterns in my mothering role.
Naturally, I had more frustrated, more reactive kids too.
Address your own big emotions, because when you care about your big emotions, you’ll know to address and care about others’ big emotions too.
With a whole lotta perspective-shifting therapy and coaching, and a whole lotta practice with a whole lotta tools, I gradually learned to address my big emotions, honour them, and even embrace them.
All of them.
These self-compassion practices have quite literally changed my life. They have influenced every relationship I had outside of me, but most noticeably, influenced the relationship I have inside me.
Big Emotions Journal for the Homeschool Mom
Introducing the Homeschool Mama’s Toolbox, a set of resources designed to help homeschooling mothers deal with big emotions and specifically address their thoughts. Your brain and thoughts are important tools that need to be regularly sharpened, and the Toolbox is here to help you do just that.
Incorporating mindfulness practices into your homeschool is one of the most effective ways to separate yourself from your thoughts and be present. The Toolbox includes three questions from Dr. Amen, author of Change your Brain, Change your Life: What am I feeling? What is the thought behind my feeling? What is the story behind my thought? These are questions that you can practice regularly to get the most out of them.
The Toolbox also encourages a daily meditation practice to help you distance yourself from your thoughts and just be present. Guided meditations such as Guided Meditation on Controlling Negative Thoughts and Guided Meditation for Inner Peace & Calm can help you get started.
Additionally, the Toolbox offers a Thought Care Checklist to help you deal with challenging situations that may arise in your homeschool. By considering alternative perspectives, you can reframe your thoughts and deal with the situation in a more positive and constructive way.
With the Homeschool Mama’s Toolbox, you can learn to influence your thoughts and create a better reality for yourself and your family. Download the Toolbox today and start sharpening your tools!
So before we get started I want to encourage you to consider these things before you begin to instill new strategies into your homeschool mom life: real help for homeschool moms.
Honour your common humanity.
So the thing is, the reason you’re so dang hard on yourself? Because you’re you.
Would you speak to your friend the way you speak to yourself? Probably NOT.
In fact, likely never.
Cause who would remain friends with someone so hard on someone else?
Give yourself a break: you’re human. Just a regular ole human being having a human experience.
Sure you’ve got stuff to learn. Of course, you’ve got stuff to learn.
You’re a human being!
Turns out, because you’re human (& not God), you’ve got stuff to learn.
So honour your common humanity. Learning to address our big emotions is a process: it takes time, it takes grace, towards yourself, and practice.
Okay, now that you’ve been encouraged to accept all your feelings, download this Big Emotions audit to get clearer on your feelings.
A practice of self-awareness brings its perspective shifts.
So, download the Big Emotions audit, keep it in your journal each morning, and answer a question or two each morning.
Real Help for Homeschool Moms: 16 Practical Self-Compassion Techniques You Can Use in your Homeschool Life
1. Include a daily journal practice.
Self-awareness is built one journal entry at a time. This daily practice of journaling for homeschool mom can aid in your self-exploration, so you can take care of yourself.
2. Keep a record of the challenging big emotion.
Unlike daily journaling practice, when we are intending to clarify and overcome a specific experience, we need to direct our awareness toward it.
We can create a daily record of our experience of these particular feelings.
- Identify a scenario that triggers your feelings.
- Spend time each day observing and recording your experience of that particular feeling.
3. Acknowledge your feelings.
Acknowledge your feelings and identify why your feelings are present.
For reasons that still confound me, the mere act of acknowledging feelings often dissipates their intensity.
Once we come to accept that we feel things, comfortable and uncomfortable feelings, triggered by things that we may or may not want to be triggered by, we can allow our feelings to rise to the surface, accept them in all their struggle, their beauty, their honesty.
4. Ask yourself what is alive in you.
If someone is asking that they’re asking you what you’re feeling and where you’re feeling what you’re feeling.
You need to learn what is alive in you.
- ask yourself how your body feels,
- where do you feel what you feel,
- do you feel more than one thing at the same time,
5. Observe your needs under you feelings.
Under those challenging feelings is always an unmet need.
6. Have a plan to address your thoughts.
Do you want to know how to deal with your thoughts?
Your thoughts are separate from you…
Incorporate a mindfulness practice into your homeschool.
There is a reason you hear so much about this. It works! You can get separate from your regularly experienced thoughts.
There are three questions I learned from Dr. Amen, author of Change your Brain, Change your Life:
- What am I feeling?
- What is the thought behind my feeling?
- What is the story behind my thought? (There is always a story I’m telling myself).
This is a practice you have to practice regularly to benefit.
7. Do a deep dive into you.
So let’s stop for a moment from discussing theory and get into the practical homeschool experience.
How do you respond when…
- Your child won’t sit to do their studies?
- Your child knew his times’ tables three weeks ago, but now, magically, he can’t recall them.
- Your kids are complaining about the Ancient Greek party you put together in your spare time (and they even wanted to study Egypt), and you bought all the things, gauzy drapes at the second-hand store for their togas, grapevines to create head wreaths, grapes, olives, and a fancy gold cord for their waists. And now they don’t wanna do it!
What are the thoughts you’re thinking?
- So do you feel angry?
- Do you feel unappreciated?
- Do you feel that no one cares about you and what you want?
- Or do you feel like no one values the work you do?
- Do you feel like your child is lazy?
- Do you feel like your child is unmotivated?
Is there a story behind that thought?
- My kid is just trying to make me mad.
- He always wants something but is never willing to help me out.
- No one thinks about what I need.
- No one values the effort I put into making homeschooling fun. I even asked them what they wanted!
- My child is surely going to grow up living hand-to-mouth and not have what he needs.
- My child isn’t learning anything. Everyone is asking why we homeschool and I can’t say it’s for academics because obviously, he’s not learning anything.
8. Create a breathing practice.
I know you don’t need to be told to breathe. If you’re alive, you’re doing it, without intention. Slow, deep breaths slow your respiratory and cardiac systems, which slow your fight or flight reactions, which release endorphins, even relieving aches and pains.
Allow the slowing physiological practice of intentional breathing brings you to a greater sense of equilibrium.
9. Acknowledge the core you.
Grab your journal, because what follows will compel you to ask yourself questions to get to know yourself more…
My goal is to understand myself because when I understand myself, I see how I can tailor a life that serves me more and helps me serve my children more.
10. Practice the pause.
Specifically, somewhere where your kids are not. Sometimes you are just in a state of overwhelm and it takes fewer stimuli to irritate you.
So practice the pause and take a break.
11. Include your mirror “you”.
I often share with homeschool mamas that if they’re particularly heated with their kids, they should head to the bathroom mirror.
Stand in front of the mirror.
See that sad, exasperated, angry face?
Look back to your face in the mirror: speak to that “friend” in the mirror.
12. Schedule mindful moments.
Mindfulness helps us identify what’s happening in our interior world so we can respond on purpose in our exterior world.
Spend daily moments listening to yourself. When we practice presence, sit, and focus on our breath, we find profound therapy.
Definitely the cheapest therapy.
Possibly the hokiest.
But if you haven’t tried your vegetables, though, how do you know whether you like them or not? So try your mindfulness vegetables.
13. Speak truth to yourself.
Self-compassion is a way of relating to ourselves.
Sometimes it is challenging to change the way we relate to ourselves, or speak to ourselves, as it is to stop the Titanic from hitting that infamous iceberg.
But it can be done, with a whole lotta preplanning, practice & effort.
14. Consider coaching for yourself.
Sometimes you need someone to walk alongside you to put these practices into your regular life. Join me in a conversation to discuss if coaching is right for you.
If you want to show up in your homeschool (& life) authentically, purposefully, and confidently, join our community. Gentle accountability and community are the support you need.
To walk alongside you to include practical strategies that will benefit you in your real homeschool mom life.
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