We’ve completed week three of about thirty-three in our home schooling year. As seen above, the sunrise view from my kitchen window is lovely, but morning is already coming far too early each day. I feel a bit discouraged that I am already running low–of energy, of enthusiasm, of empathy–all those good “e” words.
This school year has been a difficult transition for all of us. My third-grader has leapt into the world of actual homework, not just seatwork, and he has had to learn to read directions more carefully, look up answers in his textbooks, and just be more independent in general. My freshmen have had to study, study, study. Every day. They have so much information to process in algebra, health, geography, physics, and more, that they must keep up with studying and retaining that information daily, or they’ll fall behind.
Because we home school, we do have the luxury of parking on a topic for an extra day or two until they’ve absorbed it, or fast-forwarding through simpler concepts. But despite that flexibility, the information overload means longer days in school for them and for me, as I prepare for the following day. Preparation, while it ultimately saves time, also takes time, if you know what I mean.
And of course, as a wife and mom, I still have to do the day-to-day tasks of life, following my lists. But that doesn’t leave much time for rest.
Thank goodness for weekends. We try to keep our Saturdays low-key, and they often are, but we still keep busy with chores and family activities. And somehow, Sunday doesn’t often turn out to be the day of rest God intended it to be. With two church services and a ballet practice for my daughter in the afternoon, it’s somewhat rushed.
So, that still leaves me feeling worn-out and unproductive. Thankfully, my husband understands when I reach my breaking point and takes the kids somewhere for a few hours (which he has done for me today). My in-laws, too, are happy to take them for an occasional overnight. And then, I take a long nap. When I wake up, I relish the silence. I pray. I read. I do some yoga. To me, being alone and away from any demands upon my time is incredibly restorative, even when it is just for a few hours.
I used to feel guilty about needing time alone, but not any more. Even our Savior, whose life’s purpose was to minister to others (Matthew 20:28) needed time alone to pray, to restore body and soul.
And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. Matthew 14:23
Of course, alone time never lasted long for Jesus. The next verses show him walking on water through a storm to rescue the disciples. Alone time doesn’t last long for busy moms, either. In fact, before too long, my family will come walking through the door, full of chatter. But that’s okay. Being alone is restorative, but I always miss my family before too long, and all is right in my world when we are together again.