How I created time for my priorities as a working, homeschooling mum

This year one of my focuses has been on simplifying my life, I wrote about how I was always unnecessarily busy earlier in the year, you can read that here. It’s been a challenging process for me, I naturally fall back into the role of fixer and helper, I like it there, I feel worthy and meaningful. In the past it has taken quite a lot for me to put down this role and it is usually accompanied by much ranting and huffing.

One of the big things for me was volunteering, I think being a volunteer is extremely worthy and when you are passionate about something it is such an amazing thing to do. But my volunteering motivation didn’t come from passion, it came from wanting to contribute and do something meaningful.

working mum overwhelm time poor volunteering self care do less

As a small business owner who is homeschooling my eldest with a younger (let’s just say exuberant) child under foot my spare time pretty much consists of the time I get in the toilet at home, and most of that time someone desperately needs my help (you know to do something like find a dress up costume or pull apart lego).

 

When you look at advertised volunteer roles most say 2-5 hours a week, I can never understand how people just have this kind of time lying about when I can’t even go to the loo alone! I have accepted that at this point in my life volunteering is just not an option, come see me when the kids have left home and I have retired.

But it’s not just these big roles it’s the everyday role that I play usually by me putting my hand up thinking “hey I could do that”. From admining facebook groups to organising homeschool meets (yes my spare room is still partly filled with the homeschool group’s stuff) to the little things like finding out information for people, all those things seem little but they sure add up. For years I would get people ask me random questions because I seemed to know the answers, often it was as simple as consulting google.

working mum overwhelm time poor volunteering self care do lessWhen I started to create space and simplicity in my life I realised these small things were really holding me back. Each time I did one of them I hesitated just a little bit more until finally I would stand up and walk away from the keyboard and realise it wasn’t my responsibility to find the solution to everyone else’s problems.

One of my favourite sayings is “Not my circus,  Not my monkeys” and this helps as a reminder to not take on other people’s stuff. Sure, if I actually do have knowledge I am happy to share it (unless it’s part of my professional knowledge) but I no longer search for answers that others could find easily.

This has been a gradual process for me and there is one big benefit I have noticed – less time on social media. It’s one of my biggest challenges but the fewer posts I comment on the fewer notifications I get and the less time I spend on social media. When I do spend time there I can spend time doing the things that bring me joy – connecting with people and searching good grain free recipes.

These are the questions I now ask myself before I start getting drawn into helper mode:

  • Could they find the answer to this questions easily by doing the same thing I would do to give it to them?
  • Is this something I have a personal experience with that would be helpful to them and they wouldn’t learn any other way?
  • Is it a topic I am genuinely interested in?
  • Can we learn something together where we will both benefit?

My other big shift over the last few weeks is long term commitments, I have stepped away from a few long term commitments and made a decision to not take on any roles for the foreseeable future. As well as my business and homeschooling, our whole family is going through some pretty big healing. I discovered that I have pyrroles disorder and a lot of my time is taken up with getting on top of that, the boys most likely have it to so it is a priority to work on their health and hubby has taken huge strides in his own health as well. So these are our 3 big priorities – health, homeschooling and business. Everything else will wait.

This year was our first year of homeschooling and we did pretty well if I do say so myself. Here is the thing though that I struggled with, there are so many events for homeschoolers though most of them are in Perth (40 minutes drive away). I struggled in 2 ways – 1) I wanted to go to everything and felt guilty about nworking mum overwhelm time poor volunteering self care do lessot doing enough 2) I wanted more events locally.

With 1 I have realised that given our health issues being around a lot of people and doing a lot of activities is just not an option. Whilst pyrroles is basically a deficiency of zinc and B6 symptoms get worse after social situations so anytime we are around large groups it completely wipes us out, but more about that in a later blog. So for now social outings are few and far between.

Number 2 was harder for me, there are lots of homeschoolers near us and creating a community seemed like a great idea. With the support of a couple of other homeschooling families we tried to travel the avon valley/ wheatbelt and connect with others. But each event we organised was a dismal failure. I wasted a lot of my time trying to promote them and get people to attend but it was not to be. So, in the end I decided I was done, we have a little group that are committed to hanging out regularly and we just stick with that for now. I have taken off my community building hat and instead focused on my family.

This new change in direction and priorities feels right for me, I feel freer and more aligned. It gives me a more authentic purpose and allows me to create time for the things that matter.

What can you let go of that is not serving you today?

Are you feeling overwhelmed with work, being a mum and everything else in your life that pulls you in so many different directions. I feel this way too at times and I have spent a lot of time creating strategies to move from overwhelmed to a balanced work life blend. You can grab my 10 Strategies for Overwhelmed Working Mums enter your details below:

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