Are you Stressed Out??
Let's do something about it!
We face it all the time - from others, from ourselves. And when we're tired or we're not getting our own needs met, our stress level rises and it can start to feel overwhelming.
No one can really tell us EXACTLY how to unschool - there’s no formula to apply.
And for many of us, that can amp up our stress level.
Maybe you’re just starting the journey, and you’re not sure what to do - that will raise your stress level, for sure.
Maybe you’ve been at this for a while but it’s not playing out the way you hoped. Another reason to feel stressed or even burnt out.
We’re constantly taking in information, weighing out what might be right for our family, unpacking all of our preconceived (MISTAKEN) ideas - constantly adjusting.
All while keeping everyone fed and clothed and dealing with all our day-to-day stuff.
But this is an unschooling pep talk, right?
If you’re starting to sink into some negative area, some dark spot, I want to help you!
I’ve seen 9 different scenarios that can be responsible for your stress. Let’s identify them and get you some help. Because one thing I know about you - is that you want to be the best parent you an be for your kids.
And when we’re stressed out, that’s not possible. But it IS fixable.
That’s why I want to talk about this with you today.
If we haven’t met, I’m Sue Patterson and this is the Unschooling Mom2Mom podcast. I started on our homeschooling journey 25 years ago with my own kids, and now I’m here to share what I’ve learned along the way. I have all kinds of resources to help you - because everyone learns a little differently - including parents! Maybe you would do best with a course about unschooling, or surround yourself with other parents on this unschooling journey in a private membership. Maybe you like PDFs or books, and you’d like to read about various issues when you can find the time! Or maybe you just want to hop on the phone with me and I can help you figure out what your options are. All of it is available here at the website. I always tell people,
Knowledge + Support (and a little Action on your part)
is what’s needed for Unschooling Success!
So this week we’re talking about feeling stressed out - or even burnt out on all of this.
I have solutions for 9 different possible sources of your stress. You may actually discover you are stressing for more than one reason. Let’s look at them… because identifying the problem is the first step to getting to the other side. You can always go to the website and grab the Unschooling Guide called Stressed Out. I’ll put the link in the show notes. It has way more resources on each of these scenarios I’m going to share with you here.
You may actually discover you are stressing for more than one reason. Let’s look at them… because identifying the problem is the first step to getting to the other side.
Managing Fears that you’re not doing enough.
The short answer to this is that you probably need to spend some time deschooling.
Often, we breeze through that kind of quickly. Maybe our child didn’t go to school or didn’t go that long, and we spend a few weeks reading a little about it. But it’s going to take more than that. We’ve had a lot of conditioning to tell us that learning has to look a certain way - and it’s not true. I have a few podcasts about deschooling, some unschooling guides - and lots at the website if you’re ready to look at this again.
Remember, shining light on these issues means taking some action. Doing the work you need to do, so fear stops getting in the way.
Coping with Critics
Do you have people in your lives that connect anything going wrong to the fact that you’re homeschooling or specifically unschooling? At the first bump in the road, they tell you to put them back in school or duplicate school at home. Or maybe they’re not even waiting for a bump in the road, they’re just dropping all kinds of little comments about not liking your choice.
OR… maybe you hear those comments in your head, without anyone saying anything? We can be our own worst critic, right?
There IS a Naysayer video over at the Unschooling Mom2Mom YouTube channel, if you want to go watch that.
Or maybe you need more unschoolers in your life! Joining my membership - even for just a couple of months - may help you reframe some of this criticism and lower your stress level.
Maybe you’re getting tired of meeting everyone else’s needs - and your wondering when it’s YOUR turn?
The quick answer here is that you’re the only one who’s going to prioritize your needs. Figuring out how to do that - with all the pressure to be a great parent or do do do for everyone else - it’s one of the most important life skills for YOU to learn. I have a lot of information about Self-Care in the membership, but also at Pinterest and at the blog. I’ll put links in the shownotes - but also the email newsletter that will go out tomorrow. Are you subscribed to that?
"Is This the Fun Part??"
Maybe their idea of fun isn’t lining up well with your own idea of “something fun”
We may need to brainstorm with the family about how to get everyone’s needs met. Remembering that they’re not Mini-Me’s or little clones that we see people talk about online. They have their own personalities and interests and preferences - and through unschooling, we’re allowing them to express themselves in ways they maybe haven’t before. Opening communication about it all - in healthy ways - may be what you need to do to tackle this stressor.
Expectations Not Happening
Maybe you had a story in your head about what this unschooling life was going to look like -and it’s becoming clearer and clearer that that story isn’t going to pan out.
Stories in our head of what things are SUPPOSED to look like can really get in the way of enjoying the reality of today. Learning to let go of these kinds of expectations - of ourselves, or our kids, of our family life - breaking them down will help us see why we’re holding on to these. It's keeping our own stress levels really high when we don’t want to look at dismantling these stories that don't really fit.
Join the Membership Group - You're NOT Alone!
"I'm not cut out to do this, maybe!"
Maybe you’re thinking you’re not "unschooling correctly"… air quotes.
Or you’re thinking you're just not “good enough” at this.
That can make you more stressed. You like the idea of unschooling, but you’re feeling like it’s not working.
Or maybe you’ve been unschooling for a while, but feeling kind of burnt out. That can make you question all kinds of things!
I have 2 quick answers for this:
- Stop the Comparison Game.
- Look at whether you need to connect more with the kids. Sometimes the way we used to connect changes, and we feel a little adrift. See if that’s going on for you and increasing your stress.
Read this: Resist the Urge to Compare
While this is mainly written to help parents when comparing where their kids should be academically, look at it also from your own attachment to comparision and what negatives come from that.
Unschooling Guide: Stressed Out!
This 29-page Unschooling Guide will help you tackle whatever is at the root of your stress! And it may be more than one thing - so you'll have resources for it all!
Additionally, the Unschooling Guide focuses on ways to decrease your stress level in your home, within yourself, and with the kids. Lots of great ideas and inspiration.
Don't give up - let me help you tackle these stressors!
What do YOU enjoy?
Maybe you dove into parenting before you paused to identify what IS fun for you these days...
Maybe it’s time to discover what YOU enjoy? We can end up just putting out fires all day long - partly because it makes us feel useful or we think this is what a good mom or dad does. But then we don’t allow ourselves to DISCOVER what could be something fun for you. Look for more Joy and sparkle - you deserve it too. And it’s good to model this for the kids as well.
Podcast: Adding Sparkle (think of it for yourself as well as the kids)
Non-Unschooling-related (or even kid-related) factors
Maybe other external factors are making your unschooling life a little harder than usual…
We are just now emerging from a pandemic that has kept us pretty isolated! That’s a stressor, for sure. Or you could be moving or someone in the family is changing jobs or some other Lifestyle Stressor. Don’t blow these off. Yes, you have to keep pushing through, but don’t deny them. Cut yourself a little slack. Look at where it’s impacting your parenting too.
Do You See a Seasonal Pattern?
Maybe it’s seasonal. Some people are really affected by the changing seasons. Or maybe your kids activities change with the seasons and it’s having an impact on you and how you view what they’re doing - or if it’s enough. And sometimes these seasons seem to last longer than they’re supposed to! I just saw that today, April 11th, Oregon got snow! What is that about?
Pinterest Boards - maybe you need more creative ideas (Game Nights, Movies, Indoor activities, etc.
Creating Confidence Membership
Maybe you're feeling too isolated!?!
Too often parents find themselves lacking a supportive unschooling community - that's why this Membership group was created!
- Multiple group coaching calls every week
- Helping each other and coaching from Sue Patterson
- Private platforms for communicating with each other
- Members-only library of unschooling resources
As you can see through all of the stressors I’ve identified, more than one stressor can be at work here!
And maybe you were someone at the start of this podcast who thought,
“Nah, I’m not stressed out. Too much.”
Until you heard the list and started making mental check marks of,
“Yeah, that one too.”
Beingen stressed isn’t something to deny - nor is it some badge of honor.
It’s something to look at and do something about - so you can be the parent you want to be.
So my Unschooling Guide has a lot of suggestions for each of these stressors - plus ideas if the kids have gotten into ruts like this too. Suggestions, tips, inspiration - I think it’s 30 pages worth!
And my Creating Confidence membership is available if you problem solve better in a community of others who are on this same path.
I’m so happy to have resources to help you! Reach out if you need links or help.
And I’ll be back again next week. Enjoy the kids - Happy Unschooling!