Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Prescription for Burnout

Recently I received this as a comment to my post 'Living Out My Dream', and wanted to share my response with the rest of my readers. Anonymous stated:

This was so encouraging to me. I stay at home and is what I really want to do and I am so thankful. Yet day to day it is hard sometimes. I have a question for you - this is my 2nd year to homeschool our 9 year old and I have a 19 month old and one on the way and sometimes I just feel so overwhelmed and all I have time for is school & homeschool activities (our daughter would rather be in school and misses having friends so I feel like have to do as much as can with other people and it is still isn't enough for her). So I don't get to do stuff at home as much as I want and I don't feel like I spend as much time as I should with my baby - you know actively teaching her things too. So how do you balance everything?

Here is my response:

Dear Anonymous,

It is wonderful to hear that you have taken on the mighty task of homeschooling. I share your desire to do a good job especially in teaching each child well, but here is where I'd like to challenge your thinking: You do not have to feel guilty and do so much to appease your older daughter. It is a wonderful thing to learn contentment within the home, being busy with your hands (or minds) for that matter and not filling your schedule to the brim. This will only lead you to early burn-out in your homeschooling and lead your daughter to falsely believe that true happiness comes from being entertained with activities or always being social.

You will want to create a home atmosphere that is God-centered and not child-centered. There is a tendency for parents to lose their balance of this by trying to please their children and always seeking to make them happy. Sometimes, for their own good, a child needs to learn that they will not get their own way and learn to be content with what the Lord has provided them. Like Scriptures states--"Godliness with contentment is great gain." This brings them onto greater paths of maturity as they realize they are not the center of the universe. It also helps to cultivate the mind frame of serving and not being served. Not stating that this situation is the case, but I have seen many instances where it was. And believe me, you don't want to go there.

Just the fact that you are overwhelmed, not having available time for your baby and home is a warning sign. Take heed and begin to make changes today, your daughter (and family) will thank you for it later. Also take some time to read some of my past posts such as The Beauty of Balance, Choosing What's Best, Cultivating the Rich Christian Home and What Kind of Home Do You Have? to learn deeper about created a balanced Christian home that blesses all members and rooted in God's Word. My prayers are with you as you aim to build your home for the Lord.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for responding - I also read all of your links that you put. So many good things - a lot to think about - thanks again:)

Dene said...

What a wise and beautiful answer. Thank you for sharing it with me as well.

Kerimae said...

I also dealt with a season of discontent with my daughter. What helped us the most was doing study in the Word about contentment. We learned verses such as:

Proverbs 15:13 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 15:15 All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.

Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

It became an ongoing joke around here, such as "Ohhhhhh.............I think my bones are dryyyyyyyinnnnnnng". She actually got ME too!

She is 10 now and for the most part a very happy little girl, all praise to God.


Mrs. Brigham said...

Thank you for sharing your wisdom in this beautiful & inspiring post, Mrs. Fuentes. I really needed to read these words today.

Persuaded said...

such good advice! i'd also like to encourage this young mom to give her daughter time to adjust to being home. a public schooled child gets used to being on the go all the time, being at home with "just family" can seem too quiet, or boring. i think kids need to work through that change, deal with being "bored." eventually, they get to the place where they can keep themselves active, busy and productive. keeping your girlie busy with outside activities just short circuits this adjustment process... don't be afraid of her being discontented.

when all else fails, i tell my children "when i hear the word "bored" you belong to me"... meaning "if you can't find something to do with yourself, i can certainly find something for you to do" usually this means extra schoolwork or chores of some kind, lol. my kids don't get "bored" too much;-)

just remember you are giving your daughter a wonderful gift by homeschooling her... don't feel guilty((hugs))

Lara said...

What a great post! I have printed all those posts that you linked to carry with me in my purse, since I struggle with contentment myself, as do my children. Thanks for the inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Ah, if only things would go smoothly when we make changes in our lives.
Sometimes we meet resistance which can be difficult to stay strong against.
Perhaps your daughter could have a check list of things she will be doing that day - and remember to include one thing she does YOU. (I am blessed to have a daughter who loves to make me a special pot of tea, with cup & saucer, placemat etc) Your daughter may enjoy looking forward to the "simple things" the day holds in store and learn to plan things for the next day. There's sure to be ideas with a new baby on the way!

Hadias said...

I have been burned out on more than one occassion. I rarely realize when I am on my way to being burned out but when I get there I know exactly what to do.

I run to the Lord and cast all of my cares upon him. My burnout usaually comes from fretting about the cares of the world worrying about trying to please everyone.

It is very easy to become distracted and to loose focus especially with all of the options that the world offers.

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