It’s possible to homeschool, run a business, and get time for yourself without losing your mind.
People have asked me how I do it all. How can I run a blog, a business, homeschool, and keep my sanity?
The answer will surprise you.
First of all, I don’t do it all. And no, I don’t have a ton of disposable income (yet) to hire out everything. I try (sometimes imperfectly) to live by the following principle:
You can’t do everything, but you can do the things that matter the most.
It’s not a bible verse or a word from God. It’s a common-sense mindset that has freed me to say no to trying to do all the things.
Right now, I am in the middle of growing a photo business with my business partner, trying to get regular content on my blog, and I homeschool my 3 kids. In addition, I have a freelance biz doing marketing work. That sounds like a lot, but here’s the thing, I don’t do everything.
I know. That’s hard to believe. But I’m going to share some tips that I hope can help you prioritize the things in your life to match your goals as a family.
Here’s how we work to create a lifestyle that works for us.
- We don’t overschedule our kids’ time. We have our small-group, we go to play-dates and Lego Homeschool group, my oldest is in Cub Scouts and my middle child will do ballet this Fall, but that’s it. We picked one big activity per child (that they wanted) and we do other group things. We don’t cart them each from ballet, to soccer, to clubs, etc. It’s not our thing.
- We don’t overschedule our time. I love people. I love them so much that I could spend every morning having coffee with friends and every evening having game nights. But running from activity to activity and spending time in the car is not something I want to do. So, I don’t. We get together with family and friends often, but it’s more spontaneous as opposed to a scheduled time every week.
- I learned to say no. Listen, I love to help, and I love to serve other people. But I can’t be in leadership for Cub Scouts, my church, run businesses, take care of my kids, teach my kids, get them the social time they need, care for my home, and get time with my husband if I volunteer for everything. I learned to say no. I learned how to say yes to the things that make sense to say yes to. But I learned to say no.
- I set goals. I have goals for each child with homeschool that flex based on how they are doing with learning the materials. I set goals for my businesses. I set goals for my home. Some days my house looks like it was raided by bandits, and other days it looks presentable. I set one goal for each thing a day. I do one thing a day to work toward my biz goals. We do schoolwork and learning activities each day for homeschool. I set one housework goal a day. Some days it’s cleaning the bathrooms. Some days it’s cleaning off the junk counter (hello, I know you have one too).
- I use a calendar. Imperfectly. I bought one of those large desk monthly calendars and hung it on the wall. I add some things to it. I also use the calendar in my phone.
- I get help. I live near my sister and she’s the best. My nieces also happen to be amazing babysitters and when I need a larger chunk of time to get something done during the day, they are an incredible resource. I even had my nephew come help me clean one day this summer and it was amazing. When we lived in Colorado, I got a gym membership to a fancy gym with great childcare and went there for 2 hours a day to get work done with the Wi-Fi in their café. It cost me $152/month. That sounds like a really expensive gym membership, but it was actually the most affordable childcare. As a bonus, after I was done working, I would get the kids and go swimming with them.
- If you have one, ask your husband or significant other for help. My hubby helps. But I need to ask him if I need it. In 14 years of marriage I’ve learned that if I need help, I need to ask for it. So, he helps when he comes home from work. If the house is a disaster, he knows what kind of day I had. He also knows I’m teaching our kids during the day, I make 3 meals a day, I clean no less than 14 spills from my toddler, I am building businesses and I sometimes need a break too. I am thankful and blessed, and if your hubby is not as helpful, my heart goes out to you.
- Babysitting swaps are amazing. A few years back my friends and I did babysitting swaps. None of us had family in town and we all needed date nights and help, so we decided to swap. One of us would watch all the kids and the other 2 families could go on their dates or do whatever. It was a huge blessing for all of us.
- Find “me time”. Okay, I’m going to be real here. As a homeschooling mom who works from home, I don’t get a lot of alone time. I try and get up early, but I’m more of a night owl. In fact, I am writing this post at 11 P.M. So, my time is after the kids go to bed. If I am going to read a book, watch a movie, or paint a picture, this is when I do it. I know it’s hard. You have a million things to do, and only so much time in a day. Carve out 20 minutes if you can just to do something you enjoy. Don’t get lost on social media. Do something intentionally that you love. Exercise, write, sing, play an instrument, read, rock climb, hike, swim, create, but do something that you love that has nothing to do with your business.
- Give the kids more responsibility for chores. Even if they don’t do it “right”. Got a 5-year-old? Unless they have a developmental disability, there are a lot of things they can do. Got an 8-year-old? You might as well have an adult, lol. We have a saying in my house and that’s this: “We are a family and we work together”. So, clean-up time? The kids get assigned their tasks and I work on mine. Sometimes my 8-year-old does the dishes (he’s actually pretty good, but slow at it), sometimes he helps fold and put away laundry, sometimes he and his sister clean up the floor. We must be willing to let our kids clean and finish tasks without going behind them to “make it better”. Show them what you want them to do. Explain to them what that means. Praise them for their work. Let it be (even if the clothes are crumpled in the drawers).
I don’t do any of these things perfectly. But they help me focus on our family values. They help me focus on my businesses. My house is never perfectly clean. And if I were to have you over for coffee, you might think it was. But it’s just for show. I just don’t want people to think we are slobs and never want to come over again.
We don’t worry about “balancing” everything, because we know that some days and some seasons are out of balance for a short time and that’s okay. We focus on loving God and loving others, because those are the things that matter the most.