For many families, homeschooling means more sleep. And that is good news for kids.
But what about moms? Sleep deprivation seems like part of the job description. And let's be honest: It is hard to serve your family well when you're downright exhausted. Though God will give you strength in the midst of a sleep-deprived season, I encourage you to embrace opportunities to help your body catch up.
Sonlight mom Beverly J reads in bed with her preschooler
Where can you find such opportunities? Though homeschooling won't help your baby sleep through the night (if only!), it does provide flexibility. Here are some ideas to help you use that to your advantage:
- Ditch the alarm clock.
Wake up when you or the kids are ready instead.
- Start school when you want to.
If you're out late one night, let school start later the next day.
- Declare a quiet hour each afternoon.
Little ones can nap, older kids can read or play silently, and you can try to grab a power nap on the couch.
- Take care of yourself as best you can.
Even when you simply can't get adequate sleep, care for your body in other ways. Choose real food instead of junk. Drink plenty of water. Do things that help you feel energized. That could mean starting the day with a shower, mascara, or a few minutes outside.
- Use your homeschool day to meet your own needs as well as your kids'.
It could be that you share your quiet time with your kids as you read the Bible together. And if something you "know" you're supposed to do adds stress to your life (perhaps a separate exercise regime), set it aside for this season and take a nature walk with your children instead.
- Ask if your husband can help you get more sleep.
Maybe he could take the kids outside on Saturday morning, so you can sleep in. Maybe he could take the baby when you're ready to sleep at night, so you can at least get an hour or two of uninterrupted rest.
- Close your computer an hour before you go to bed.
This is one conventional piece of sleep advice that can actually work for moms. TV, smartphone and computer screens make it harder to sleep well when you're ready. So unwind at night with a book, tea or conversation instead.
- Choose curriculum that lets you sleep at night.
I designed Sonlight to give moms the freedom to "open and go" each morning. If you stay up late at night planning lessons for tomorrow, ask yourself if it's really worth it. I want moms to be able to give their best to their children and spend their homeschool time teaching, not prepping. This quote from a longtime Sonlight mom makes me smile:
"Thank you, Sonlight, for allowing me a good night's sleep! When I wake up in the morning, I know exactly what each student needs to do that day. The well-organized Instructor's Guide is one of the big factors that has kept us with Sonlight all these years." –Laronda S of Denver, PA
In the end, remember that this is indeed a season. Your kids will not be young forever. They will move out someday, and you will sleep again. This is your calling for now, and God will give you the grace for the task at hand. Keep pressing on, mom. (And if you can, go take a nap!)