Would you say you are "flourishing" as a homeschooling mom? Or would you say you are just barely getting by and struggling to put out one fire after the next? I recently had the opportunity to read "Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms" by Mary Jo Tate published by Apologia.
I have to say that when I first approached this book, I wasn't sure Mary Jo would have anything to say that would apply to me. There are times when I feel like my level of things I MUST get done, compared to the hours in my day are just always going to be at odds. And I have read soo many articles about homeschool moms, or running your own home business (WAHMs), organization or even living frugally where I just end up saying at the end, "this author just doesn't get it".
But Mary Jo comes off as real and understanding from the beginning. She says right away that you can't get "it all" done, you need to redefine what "it all" is if you want to accomplish your goals.
One of the illustrations that she uses that really spoke to me is when you are trying to juggle too many things at once and always give your attention to the crisis. The "tyranny of the urgent" she calls it. But as Mary Jo says, this isn't a strategy for daily living, it's a recipe for burn-out, long term. Instead you need to work on balancing by making small adjustments to keep things running more smoothly. As Mary Jo explains, balance isn't about keeping every area of your life equal, with equal amount of time spent in each quadrant. Instead it's balancing by sometimes adding more time and energy to a specific area as it's needed. This is freeing to hear someone else say, because I often find in my own life that areas of my life seem to go more in "seasons" that in always equal balance. There are times when a lot of our time and attention as a family is on formal, traditional "sitting down and learning" homeschooling, and then at other times we are out in nature with our journals and pencils, and then at another time we are together again in the kitchen, cooking and baking up a storm. It's easy to feel guilty about how our time is spent as a homeschooling mom, that a certain style of learning or amount of "sit-down schooling" is more valuable than the more loose (and enjoyable!) learning out in the world. But the idea of balancing these areas, not by making sure each week hold and equal amount of each, but instead, by having season where each holds more of a center stage, is a very freeing concept.
Mary Jo gives lots of practical ways to manage your homeschool, business and home. She gives lots of encouragement to keep lists, plan your time management and write down your goals. As Mary Jo says, a goal that's written down helps keep you accountable. I know this is true in my own life, that when I have a written routine, it helps my day go smoother, even when I don't follow that routine exactly. As Mary Jo says, Perfectionism is the mother of Procrastination. Don't wait around to get it "just right".
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