Working Moms and Homeschooling
In truth, every mom is a working mom. The job of taking care of a family is a large one. For those of us who add on paid employment, either outside the home or at home, the task of managing employment and family responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Many mothers who homeschool and work either part or full time often feel guilty- that they are not somehow living up to the Waldorf ideal to be a stay at home mom. It is wonderful if a woman can devote her full energies to raising a family, but it isn’t always possible. For various reasons, a woman may want or need to have paid employment. Please let go of any guilt and simply recognize that there will be some added challenges to creating a smooth homeschooling rhythm.
Working moms need to be both well organized and well balanced. Being well organized as a homeschooler means that you have a rhythm that is at least somewhat regular and predictable for homeschooling. Younger children especially need a sense of security and predictability in their lives. It is reassuring to them to know that on certain days and times, certain events or activities take place. It helps them see the world around them as safe. Being prepared for teaching a main lesson will often involve preparation on the weekends or after work when a working mom is already tired. It helps during those times to remember why you homeschool and your goals for homeschooling. Write things down in your planner so you remember just where you are going each week with homeschooling.
Household work also needs extra organization since you will be dividing your time up into hours that are allocated to earning an income. Try to keep meal preparation as simple and efficient as possible. You also may need to get help either with housework or with care giving for the children. Getting the help you need is important for a harmonious home life. Working moms can be very good at sharing household jobs with the children once children are taught how to do their house jobs effectively. Children learn to respect that everyone in the family has their work to do.
The other part of the equation is staying well balanced. Every mother needs nurturing time for herself. Women sometimes put themselves last and working mom’s sometimes feel there is just no time for their own rejuvenation. These types of attitudes will not make for harmony at home. Make sure that there is time every week for self renewal: exercise, a long soak in the tub, a walk alone in the woods. Women with a life partner need to make sure they still have an occasional “date night” where they can safely leave the children with a good caregiver and go out and enjoy their adult relationship. It takes some planning to make sure that everyone’s emotional and spiritual needs are being met, and it is a vital part of both being organized and staying balanced.
In the long run, it is always important to remember why you work at a paid job. Essentially it is so you can provide yourself and your family with security and the necessities of life. The most important of those necessities is to maintain a loving and communicative family life where you all have the opportunity to take time to enjoy the unique rhythm of your homeschooling. If you are not enjoying your homeschooling life with your children, evaluate where the stressors are and work to change them. Simplify as much as possible and do create a rhythm that helps you connect with and enjoy your family.
Christopherus Homeschool Consultant