Monday, January 24, 2011

Blog Cruise: Burnout. I've got absolutely nothing helpful to say.

This is the episode where I eloquently expound on banishing burnout.  Or something, as this week's Blog Cruise is about avoiding burnout.  Yeah.  Right.  I needed this a week or so ago, so that I could read all the wonderful and insightful comments of my crewmates and thereby not feel right now like I just. can't. take. one. more. thing.

I don't have any advice.  Because I am right there in the middle of it myself right now.  I know, I can still prattle on about some ways to avoid burnout, and I can pretend that I'm not solidly in a funk right now.  But I really try to be a bit more honest about my life than that.

So why am I experiencing burnout right now?
  • It's January.  Even after taking time off in November and December, this is a tough month.  Everything just seems depressing.  I know that.  It happens every year.
  • We're trapped.  We've got one running vehicle, which means I don't go anywhere.  Except on weekends.  It's messing with me.  
  • We've had all kinds of weird disruptions.  This past week, we've had someone in working on our ceilings.  The kids have assisted some.  It messed with school, so even the stuff I'm motivated to do isn't happening with any regularity.
  • And an extra person in my house means I'm not working out.  I know that is not good for my attitude.
  • The kids are feeling trapped.  They are currently not at scouts.  That means they are on edge and snapping at each other.  Which means I'm yelling at them.  Which makes them snap at each other even more.  And it makes me even snarkier. 
  • We started a lot of new things in the fall this year.  And right now is the point where I am having to come face-to-face with what is -- and what is not -- working.  I don't like dealing with what doesn't work.  More importantly, I don't like dealing with WHY it doesn't work.  Most of it boils down to "I'm inconsistent."  Most of the rest boils down to, "My children have inherited my faults."  Not exactly cheery and upbeat thoughts there.
  • We decided that Connor is a 9th grader as of the beginning of the school year (which was three weeks ago).  That means I'm starting to seriously deal with feeling overwhelmed by high school.  I know it will get better, but at the moment it just feels so... so... so... frightening.
  • I have a bazillion commitments that I don't seem able to keep.  I just need to do one thing at a time and it will get better.  But it is like everything is screaming "ME FIRST!" and I'm just shutting down.
  • Did I mention I feel trapped?
  • Or that I have two boys who made phenomenal, wonderful progress with an in-town reading tutoring program last semester?  A program I can't get them to next week because I don't have a car?  <sigh>  So something that truly works for them, and gives me time twice a week with nobody touching me, and now we have to give it up.  (And no, I haven't returned the director's call... I do need to tell her we cannot continue.  But I don't want to.)
What's the answer?  Yeah, right.  The answer for you is:  don't look to me for a solution.

The answer for me?  Well, I think it has a couple of parts:
  • Seasons of feeling overwhelmed are going to happen whether I'm homeschooling or not.  They happened when I was single and childless.  They happened when I had plenty of money.  They happened when we were surviving on $25 a month for groceries for four of us.  I can't blame homeschooling for my burnout.
  • My sensation of drowning just coincidentally happened to begin oh, the very day I couldn't find time to do my Bible reading.  I have to remember that I am too busy to NOT pray.  And my life is too crazy for me to NOT read my Bible.  I need to get my priorities back in order.
  • As for everything else, I need to take one thing at a time and just do it..
 So, if you do need some great avoiding burnout advice, now that I've whined (thanks for listening!) you can go see what my crewmates say.  They're brilliant, and at least one of them is going to have written the perfect burnout post.  Sorry it wasn't me.


Heidi said...

It was no mistake that I didn't post this week! :)

Wendy Kaye said...

I was not able to post anything this week, I had nothing constructive to add! LOL

December/January is the worst time of the year for me, nearly always. Not just in homeschooling, but in life in general...

Debbie Phillips said...

I was there with you last week. Hubby is laid off... since March 2010. Teenage boys were driving me crazy. They hated school. We had a big blow up. I told hubby I was done homeschooling and to put them in public school. He knows I did not mean it I was just so frustrated. He stepped in and helped set some things straight... with me and with the boys. This week has been much better. DS 16 even said it was time to get rid of 16 years of laziness... in himself. That was a great day. He has been doing much, much better since then.

I did have words of "wisdom" to share on my blog... but only because I have been there... done that... a few times over the 20 years of homeschooling.

Thanks for being honest. I am sure it will help someone who is struggling to know they are not alone and they can keep on keeping on.

Catherine (Alecat Music) said...

I was in your place last November.

I guess it isn't fair to say that we've just had a month off. Hopefully you'll get that break and time to regroup soon.

Michelle Smith said...

Thanks for sharing from your heart. (((Hugs!)))

I can relate to so much of what you are saying, as I am experiencing a few of those same struggles right now, plus some different ones.

I am taking today off to do some housecleaning and get my records (grades, attendance, etc.) together for my church school. I almost didn't read your post this morning, as I'm trying to get myself into gear on these tasks, but I am glad I did. I am glad to know someone else is going through similar struggles. I feel like prayer is the only thing keeping me together today. And I'll pray for you, too, today, as I'm busy about the house.

I will pray that the Lord will bless you and your family and provide what you need and will be truly best. And that whatever gifts He gives you, that you will recognize them and they will bring you joy.