How can I be a focused mom? Do I need to make time to focus on me? How can I enjoy the homeschool experience?
Answer: Yes, Yes, and YES!
I used to think there was a top secret method, or some magical master school plan that experienced homeschooling moms used. These moms seemed to have it all together. I could hardly imagine them pulling their hair out, raising their voices, or begging their children to read just one more paragraph before taking a break. No, these ladies were professional homeschool experts, hair kept neatly, unwrinkled clothes, make-up done, perfectly poised, and ready to share about their perfect homeschool life while sipping a cup of coffee and knitting a sweater for the homeless.
And then there was me.
The newbie, the “what is the best curriculum to use?/I wonder if I can really do this/Brand-new to homeschooling mom.”
My desire to homeschool our son was greater than my fear of failure. I decided that I did not need to be perfect- I just needed to do one thing right.
Without focus, it is easy to let everyday interruptions get in the way of progress.
So then, for me (and maybe this will help you too) I needed to define focus. Literally.
noun: focus; plural noun: foci; plural noun: focuses
the center of interest or activity.”this generation has made the environment a focus of attention”
- an act of concentrating interest or activity on something.”our focus on the customer’s requirements”
the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition.”his face is rather out of focus“
Specific interest in the task.
It seems like a breeze to have focus, but here is the truth- when your phone is ringing, and ringing, and ringing, and you have a baby on your hip, and one at your knee, and the other one sitting and waiting patiently for instruction: it is easy to lose focus, to become discouraged, and to question if you have made the best decision for your child to homeschool them.
I’ve been there. I AM there. And I am determined to…
How can we be focused moms? Honestly, the answer isn’t so simple. But, I have found 5 Fantastic Ways to Stay Focused -even on my most occupied days.
1.Work—> to stay focused.
For me, that means that I stay up late or get up early to take care of the important things that demand my attention and my focus. We have 24 hours in a day. If I find I am letting time slip through the hourglass like sand then I know I need to WORK to protect that time.
If I have a pile of laundry or a sink full of dishes, it is easy for me to become distracted. I have this brain that has a running to-do list all the time. The To-Do list in my mind is kind of like the closing credits that scroll at the end of a great movie. Except my list goes on and on… I literally need to push pause in my mind, and say to myself,
What is important?
What do you need to work on today?
2. Find the FOCUS ZONE.
Having focus is like being in a zone. Did you ever see the movie “For the Love of the Game”? There is a scene where the famous pitcher, Billy Chapel (played by Kevin Costner) is at the plate. The noise coming from the fans is deafening and distracting. He needs to concentrate and focus. So, he says, “Clear the mechanism.” Instantly the crowd becomes silent in his mind. He becomes so focused on what he is doing, right there in that moment, that he mutes the crowd, and pitches with perfection.
Moms need a zone like that. A way to “clear the mechanism”. A Focus Zone. A moment in time or a place you go to in your mind where you can mute every distraction and be in the moment. And friends, this doesn’t only go for homeschool schedules; this Focus Zone can be applied to every area of your life.
Think how much better Date Nights will be if you are in a Focus Zone, only thinking of the one you love, right there and then. Or, when a friend is talking with you, listening and being focused on every word she speaks sends her a message that you know what she is saying is valuable and important. When our children are talking to us being focused on them for that moment can make such an impact on their lives. I know, I know, believe me I know it is a hard thing to do, especially when you are trying to get dinner on the table and someone is competing for your attention, and you are trying not to burn anything. In moments like those, if I need to, I kneel down to their height, look into their big blue eyes, and say, “I am making dinner, and what you need to tell me is too important for me to miss. Do you think you can tell me what you need to say at dinner time, or will you forget?” Then we go from there. Most of the time they wait, and trust me- they remember too. This is a great way to teach them patience while helping them understand that what they have to say matters so much that it deserves complete focus from you.
Please don’t forget to focus on yourself too. It is okay to have a Focus Zone just for you. It’s okay to plan a time to focus on your health, on your education, on your beauty, on your reading, on your hobbies. Everyone needs time to themselves.
3. Plan, Plan, Plan, then DO IT!
You can have all the pretty planners in the whole wide world but if you don’t use them then why waste time? I am a BIG believer in “write it down” because for me there is something so gratifying about checking off things I have accomplished. That said, I also have a color coded planner calendar in my mobile phone, and reminders set with alarms to keep me on track.
Do I need all this? YES. Do I ignore my reminders and alarms? YES. When I fail to plan or ignore my plans do I feel the consequences? YES. It’s then that I pick myself back up, and start again.
A very wise friend of mine shared with me that anytime of the day I feel like it’s just not going right, that’s when, right then and there, I can restart my day. So, now, instead of beating myself up for things not getting done, thus causing me to lose focus on what’s important-this is what I do:
WHATEVER I’M DOING AND I
START MY DAY OVER.
This is such great advice because we are our own worst critics. If we have the mindset that we can START OUR DAYS OVER ANYTIME, then we give ourselves permission to move forward without regret and criticism.
4. Have a Focused Family.
Include everyone’s plans in your schedule, and make sure your family knows your plans too. There will always be room for adjustment but everyone needs to be on the same page. Make time to discuss the things that are important as a family. Dinner time is a great time to review the day and plan ahead. There is something about full tummies that make everyone happier, so get them while they are full and happy. (Not when they have friends over, or while the hubby is putting his feet up after a long day’s work.)
I heard of a mom that lit a candle during dinner time. It set the atmosphere and made dinner a special occasion to focus on one another. There was only one rule: no one could leave the table until Mom blew out the candle. Now, I imagine there were times when this rule was broken, but most of the time everyone at the table respected and liked this rule because they enjoyed bonding with one another after a long day. A family that lives together, and that is focused on each other is a happy family. Those memories will not easily be forgotten and hopefully will be passed on to future generations.
In life we will be challenged by many distractions and interruptions. In those moments we must decide to commit to keep our focus, or let the interruptions and distractions take priority, and commit to them instead. There will be times when whatever we planned to focus on will take a backseat to what we need to attend to immediately, and in those moments I lean on this Proverb:
Commit to the
WHATEVER YOU DO, AND
YOUR PLANS WILL