How Does Self-Care Really Work?

Everywhere you look there is a reminder about why self-care is important and needed. As a mother… as a woman… there’s no way you could miss the reoccurring message. It pops up as if it is God sending you a message on how to ease some of your struggles. I follow several women and mom blogs, podcasts, and friends, and it’s beautiful to see everyone making self-care a priority. Everyone has their own idea of what self-care looks like because well… SELF-care! I have searched, researched, and tried many routines, and I’ve finally learned what works for me.

For years, I thought I was inconsistent and lazy when it came to my self-care. So I began to read more on how I could change that. Through my research, I never saw “Do Self-Care.” Most articles and professionals say “Practice Self-Care.” The dictionary defines practice in the verb form as “performing (an activity) or exercising (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency.” My issue is that I would focus more on doing self-care rather than practicing it. Doing it just because rather than practicing it to create a habit. I learned that participating in self-care consists of first choosing the types of self-care that you will practice (Whew! and that list goes on and on) and being consistent (the routine). When I pondered upon that, I realized that I’m not truly inconsistent, self-care is just seasonal for me.

I, like so many of you, have gone through many seasons in my life. Each time I need a different self-care routine to get me through. When I was breastfeeding my youngest daughter, self-care was me eating freely while binge-watching shows on Netflix. It then turned into adding some candles with peaceful tunes playing in the background while reading a book. Once my breastfeeding journey ended, I needed to be outdoors! I began to practice self-care by hanging out with my friends more and attending events that fed my soul. When I fell into a season of postpartum depression and needing my husband home from the road, self-care was quality time with him. When my hair was falling out from stress, my routine turned into taking care of the physical part of me by working out, taking care of my hair (includes frequent visits to the hair salon), and working on my skin.

Currently, I am in a season of healing mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Wholly and fully. I’ve had to choose my forms of self-care carefully and strategically. I need something that will tend to each area that I’m struggling in. I’ve had to remain open to them changing based on my need at any given time. I am leaning heavily onto journaling when I can’t voice how I’m feeling and my thoughts are running rampant. I sit outside on my balcony or in my car in total silence when I’m overwhelmed or I need peace (because…kids). I’ve gotten back into art (drawing, painting, crafting) in order to add to my therapeutic healing and release. I also FINALLY made the big step of reaching out to a therapist. In addition to those mentioned earlier, I’ve been trying to remain connected to God. I’ve been doing my best to pray and talk with Him, read devotionals, stay consistent with online church services and bible studies (due to social distancing), listen to uplifting music, download meditation apps, and more. On the physical end of things, it’s a work in progress. I’m getting back into working out, interested in yoga, and the urge to purchase a bike came out of nowhere today before I wrote this post.

I now see self-care as a way of healing. Healing your mind, body, and soul. Some choose the spa, vacation, massages, new hobbies, and more. It’s important to remember the root word “self” in self-care. You can be inspired by others and try their routines out for yourself, but it doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. Self-care is customizable. Maybe you can’t afford to go to a spa (especially now that Covid-19 has changed our way of living), but you can create a spa-like experience at home. The scope of self-care is endless. It can be as small as (which is actually huge) taking a social media break, going for a daily walk, watering your plants, taking a moment to sit in silence for 1-minute, and practicing breathing techniques.

If I’m being honest, self-care can be difficult and often feel like hard work. I tend to have to force myself to do things for myself, and it’s another task to do them consistently. However, considering my current needs, I can’t imagine not making a little time for myself. My children nor my husband would get the best version of me. Hence, my reason for seeking therapy. I’ve found myself irritable, sad, mad, shutdown, overwhelmed, not sleeping, hair falling out, and more when not caring for myself. This journey is still taking a lot of practice, effort, and intentionality, but I’m pushing daily to remember my importance and make myself a priority. I AM IMPORTANT. I AM NEEDED. I AM LOVED. I AM STRONG. I AM POWERFUL. I AM RESILIENT… I AM WORTHY! And so are YOU!  I’ve accepted that as I grow and as the seasons of my life change, so will my self-care routine. I talk a lot about not comparing myself or my journey to others, but I really failed myself in the past by comparing my self-care to others.

That stops now.

 

How To Get Started With Homeschooling

I’ve been seeing more articles written about how parents are choosing to homeschool their children rather than send them to a public, private or charter school. I imagine there are several parents out there who have the desire to homeschool their child(ren), or are in the beginning stages of preparing for the journey and have no idea where to start. Keep reading to see how I got started.

As I’ve mentioned before, homeschooling my children never crossed my mind before March of this year. I started Queendom Wife and Mother in December of 2017 and began to grow a following on Instagram. I asked if any of my followers homeschooled and received some great feedback from a few moms who homeschooled multiple children and one individual who had been homeschooled when they were younger. I was given insight on how your child isn’t cut off from the world, and how homeschooling multiple children of all different ages is tough but can be done. I continued to ask questions to see if I wanted to dig a little further in my research and pursue homeschooling. I DID!

Anyone who reaches out to me, I tell them to research, research and then RESEARCH some more! Making the choice to homeschool your child(ren) is a very serious step, and you have to be knowledgeable about what you’re doing. You have to make sure you’re confident that homeschooling is the best choice for your family. Research allows you to understand the true commitment you’re about to make. When I began the research process, I told myself it was vital that I did thorough research because my baby’s education was in my hands. If you don’t take the research process serious, you will be the cause of your child having an unsuccessful homeschooling experience.

I searched on Google 24/7. What does homeschooling really mean? How do you do it? Who homeschools? What are the pros and cons of homeschooling? What are the steps to starting the homeschooling process? What do you need in order to homeschool? Do you need to have teaching credentials in order to homeschool? What is a co-op? What do I need to do to get started in my state? How long does this process take? I had so many questions, and I’m pretty sure you do too. Google was my go to. I was able to find some homeschooling websites, read some articles and other blogs, and found the link to my state’s homeschooling site.

After getting more information on homeschooling as a whole, your next step is to check out your state’s website in order to make sure you follow the steps required to homeschool your child(ren). Every state varies, so I will only be able to share what my state requires, and a little bit about what I searched for the new state we will be moving to.

First, you will be advised to take the proper steps in withdrawing your child from regular and registering your them for homeschool. For Maryland, one is required to fill out a form that will be signed by both you and the state’s local homeschooling office. In my case, we were switching to a new school district so I simply told my daughter’s school that she would not be returning the following school year, told them why, and provided proof of our homeschooling documents. I had the option to mail, fax or email the form; I chose to email it.

Once you’ve officially registered your child(ren) for homeschooling, you will want to read the state laws carefully. Honestly, you should read these first to see if you’ll still want to homeschool. Many of your questions will be answered there. For example, in order to homeschool your child(ren), you must have at least a high school diploma or GED, and there must be a total of 180 school days. You will also learn the subjects that you are required to teach. From what I’ve seen, math, reading, social studies, science, art, music, history, and health/p.e. are neutral across the board. It’ll go further into detail about who can teach your child, the options you have on how you will homeschool your child, record keeping and testing as well.

You’ll want to join a few homeschool newsletters, and read as much as you can also. I learned there are several teaching styles, but what’s important is knowing your child’s learning style. This will allow for you to find the best curriculum for your child. For example, if your child is a visual learner, you’ll want to find a curriculum that shows a lot of videos or has games.

When trying to figure out what to teach, I found it helpful to research the core standards for each subject for my daughter’s grade level. Next, I browsed the different curriculums. As I searched, I realized I wanted to be heavily involved in my daughter’s day. I didn’t want her to be stuck to a computer screen, and I also didn’t want her to be bored with a workbook all day either. So I created my own curriculum mixed with the core standards and what I want my daughter to know. I actually know a lot of people who are educators, and a few offer services where they create a curriculum/lesson plan for you. I reached out for their guidance wherever I felt I needed a little assistance.

There are several homeschooling associations out there that you can operate under also. It’s an option you can take, which usually costs a small fee, instead of being under your school district’s supervision. These associations should be state approved and registered with the school district. They typically help you to make sure you are meeting the requirements for homeschooling.

Another thing. CONNECT, CONNECT, AND CONNECT! Homeschooling is no easy fete, and isn’t for everyone,  but it doesn’t have to be dreadful and lonely. You will be spending a lot more time with your child(ren) and may have questions or just need other homeschooling parents to connect with. This can be physically or virtually. I knew that my family would be moving soon, so I connected with women who are stay-at-home and homeschooling mothers in that state. I used my good friend Google and found them through the website “Meet-Up,” and then we connected over Facebook and Instagram.

In order not to become long-winded in the post, I’ll end with this. Research, connect, research and connect! Be confident in your decision as well because everyone won’t understand why you’ve made your choice. Also, make sure you know your legal obligations as a homeschooling parent. If you don’t get this right, you are lawfully required to admit your children back into the school system.

This is not the end! I will have a few more follow-up posts on being a new homeschooler.

Best of luck!