Where’s the Calgon?

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Our local homeschool group has a tradition that is much-loved among all the moms in the group — a monthly mom’s night out.  All we do is pick a local restaurant (or, occasionally, find a church willing to let us us their fellowship hall for a pot-luck) and hang out for a few hours, eating and talking.  We never have a specific topic; it’s simply a time of fellowship.  Inevitably, talk will turn to homeschooling as we commiserate or share tips or resources…but it doesn’t stay there long, because we’re just together as friends enjoying a time of recharging on mom’s night.

Why is it, though, that the times when I most need a mom’s night out seem to come when the next scheduled night is the farthest away? (To answer my own question, I think it’s probably because, when it’s time for mom’s night, I know it and it makes me feel less stressed just knowing it’s almost here.) Although I could usually answer this very question, coming from another homeschool mom, when I’m feeling this way, the answer sometimes seems unfathomable: How do you recharge and refresh when you’re feeling like you’re being pulled in a million directions?

When you feel that you have too many irons in the fire?  When you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do what needs to be done, much less what you’d like to do? When you can’t seem to have half an hour just to sit and do something you’d like to do, not something you need to do?

I’d love to hear some fresh ideas because I couldn’t find my Calgon this weekend.

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. Boy, that's a hard one. I think when I'm right in the midst of that time, I just look at the calendar and find that blank day, and look forward to that day. There are weeks when it seems like I have one thing after another with absolutely NO downtime. I really, really don't like weeks like that, but they are unavoidable.

    Gotta say I am not looking forward to being in one of those weeks coming up next week. Part of my problem is that I work better as a proscrastinator, so even thought I know I have TONS of stuff to get ready for next week, I'll probably be stressed and crazy getting reading next Sat/Sun for Monday!!

    Anyway–I can't help much except to say I feel your pain!

  2. For me, I ignore everything and lock myself in my room with a nice hot bubble bath, maybe two. Then I sit by the fire for a little and read my book.
    That or I go up into the sewing room and sew and create something.

  3. I had a few days like that this past week. And as always the show had to go on regardless of how I had to pull myself along. So the only things I could think of was try a change of venue. Instead of sitting in the house all day plugging through the academics I took the kids to the library and we sat in the back of the Childrens section and my oldest did her math whie my two little ones played with the toys and board books. It ave me an opportunity to daze out for a little while. The when we got home we did a frozen pizza for dinner with bag salad so all I had to do was cut it and put it on plates. I mean that is all I can suggest is to do a quick meal and try and get out the house sometimes. But I am interested to see what others have to offer.

  4. My approach is a mix of things:
    1. Get on my knees and into the scriptures to find the peace which passeth understanding.

    2. Drop everything that can be dropped, put off what can be put off, and do the rest one thing at a time.

    3. Take a mommy only trip to the library at the next available time. The kids stay home with daddy for fun and games, while I soak in the peace of the library with one of their books or magazines.

  5. When I get to feeling like that I just STOP! Seriously, there is nothing going on that will cause a catastrophic event if I walk away for just 10 minutes. I go make myself a green smoothie (see my blog about it in my profile, they're great!) and sit down and drink it. That 5-10 minute break and the energy I get from my favorite, nutritious snack gives me the umph I need to get through the rest of the day. 🙂

  6. A timely post. Last week was quite possible one of the worst parenting weeks I have had in a long time. And on top of the daytime parenting suckiness, my husband had to work a ton of overtime so I didn't even have any help in the evenings. On Friday he came home about a half hour early and the minute I saw him I grabbed my keys and said "goodbye and good luck" and fled. Hit the Starbucks drive-thru and went to my local yarn shop and just hung out for an hour. This week is going better, maybe because we are taking a break from school today and cuddling in front of Dinosaur Train and Word World on PBS.

  7. @ Deb — I am totally thinking of doing the same thing when my dh gets home tonight — except it will be McD's sweet tea and the local used book store.

  8. Our homeschool co-op has a moms night out too…we started going a pot luck at my house because the economy has made it hard for some moms to participate in our restaurant picks. Now I don't think I want to go to a restaurant ever again because the pot luck is so much fun!

    When I need to get away I get a pedicure at a walk-in nail salon. Its great. I read a book or snooze while I'm pampered and then I leave feeling a little bit prettier and lighter on my feet. It's therapy.

  9. Take a drive or walk that seems to help me…usually with total silence or with music blaring…depends on my mood! 🙂

  10. Well, I don't have any great advice – I struggle with this issue as much as anybody. Today I was reminded by my HUSBAND that it was my mom's birthday YESTERDAY. So, yes, I forgot my mom's 65th birthday and I'm an only child! I have enough unfolded laundry in the bathroom that my children have just stopped even trying to find any underwear in their drawers and go directly to my bathroom for whatever they need. And we ate at the gas station for the second time in three days (Sheetz). So, I just thought you might feel better knowing that I, for one, certainly don't have it together. I often feel that other homeschooling moms MUST have it together better than I do and that gets me down. When I realize that we're all together in this mothering/homeschooling/wife/home-maker thing and that nobody has it together all of the time, it is comforting.

  11. Samantha, ouch on forgetting your mom's birthday. It gets hard to keep all the plates spinning sometimes.

  12. Isn't that THE question for moms? Sometimes, the thing that works best for me is to realize that panicking or stressing out won't help. Then, I just start working my way down the list. I still don't get everything done, but it's a mental mindshift.

  13. After a difficult day, my husband watches our two sons for me and I get some quiet time alone in the bedroom. It's a great relaxer. I can spend time doing something fun without any interruptions. 🙂

    ~ Carrie ~

  14. I have to make lists.
    It's my big mind declutter…
    I get a glass or a mug of something delicious and then I can empty my busy mind… and identify what is a real priority…

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