19 Things to Do When You Feel Stuck as a Homeschooling Mom

For one of our recent movie date nights at home, dh picked Roman Holiday. It’s an old classic with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. As a clean romantic comedy set in Rome, it is a national treasure. Audrey is so lovely and Gregory so handsome so I enjoyed watching it. Dh actually fell asleep at the climactic end. So he asked me about it the next morning and I told him, “Well, it was OK, but it’s a bummer that there wasn’t more meaning to the movie.”

All during the next day, I felt frustrated about the movie. It was fun to watch, but… I was having thoughts like, “That movie didn’t do anything for me. Now that I am a tired middle-aged mom, it’s just not worth it to watch two strangers fall in love after touring Rome for a day, lying to each other, then kiss passionately in the backseat of a car, and then say good-bye forever.” (Sorry for any spoilers there.) Another thought was a repeat of what I had earlier this year, where I was thinking, “The typical boy-meets-girl, boy-chases-girl, boy-gets-girl is so shallow. All the joy and meaning comes after the marriage! I want to watch movies about married love and how to strengthen my marriage.”

But then, a strange thing happened. The second day after watching it, I started having thoughts about how I could actually relate to Roman Holiday. That movie actually did do something for me!

How many times have I felt stuck in life, just like Audrey did in her role as Princess Anne? How many times have I felt like escaping from my domestic and mothering duties and outside commitments to run away and play, even if it is just on my smartphone? How many times have I felt like the grind of being a homeschooling mom is suffocating the life out of me? Plenty! Actually, it’s not the actual homeschooling that has taken place at home that has nearly suffocated me, it’s the running around doing errands and taking kids to classes and activities that made me want to stay home to relax after chores are done. On top of that, every year in this last month of August, for the past oh, I would say, 6 years, I have dreaded starting another year of homeschooling in my small house. Because we moved last December to AZ and I have a bigger home (which also means bigger kitchen) I no longer have that August dread/disappointment/frustration/anger. Hip hip hooray! Of course I still occasionally feel like I want a change of pace, even in this new (to me) home. So I realized I actually learned a lot from that movie.

I learned that if/when I am feeling stuck, it’s time to take a holiday, not a Roman Holiday, but a Homeschooling Mom Holiday! So here’s how to do it! You, like me, probably can’t take a day or a week off from mothering whenever you feel like it, but you can do the following to feel invigorated/ inspired/ and happy about life so you can face the grind. Do at least one of these things each day to inject some zest into your life. 

1. Go to the library. Get a new book to read to yourself. Become friends with me on goodreads.com to see what I am reading. Better yet, get a whole stack of books that relate to some of your passions.

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2. Get new books to read aloud to your children, picture books and chapter books. I have lots of recommendations here. You can also find a boatload of recommendations in the book pictured above written by homeschooling mom Jamie C. Martin. It’s less than $8 on amazon.com for the paperback and less than 10 bucks for the Kindle format! It’s such a great deal! You can read my review here. I found books in here I had never heard of before and have loved reading them to my kids. We are in two of the chapter books recommended for Europe. I read them to the kids while they do the dishes and fold the clean laundry. They totally intrigue me, every day they have me wondering what is next! As a bonus to buying the book on Amazon, you can email Jamie your order number and she will email you a download of her new companion coloring book for adults.

3. Find a new form of exercise to do. T-tapp, bike riding, and Pilates are my favorites.

4. Get outside in nature everyday. Soak in the sun to get some Vitamin D into your body while reading a book, or go walking or biking. 

5. In the movie, Audrey’s character Princess Ann/Anya spends the day with a stranger, news reporter Joe Bradley. Of course, they fall in love. I am not saying to fall in love with a stranger, but do create romance with your husband. Do this by trying out something new you don’t usually do. Play with him like you never have before. You can get tons of romantic ideas here. Try sock wrestling! That’s where you each put on a pair of socks. The goal is to be the last one with your socks on, while you get your partner’s socks off! Write love notes for his lunch or send him a love text in the middle of the day. Create a love songs playlist on Youtube. Play it on your phone while you stand looking in his eyes, swaying to the music, before you go to bed. Thanks to one of my Eternal Warriors Healthy Eating Students for this tip!

6. Spend a week or two with a commitment to organize 15 minutes a day. You will be amazed at the order you can create and what you can attract when you create order. Check out my cute friend Becky Edwards’ packet of handouts here to guide you on an organizing journey. Better yet, take her next class, either online or in person!

7. Change up your clothes a bit like Audrey does in the movie. Her character escapes the palace in a blouse and skirt, and the next day she rolls up the sleeves to be more casual and magically gets a scarf around her neck. Don’t let the thought of changing your look overwhelm you. For help, find out what energy type you are at dressingyourtruth.com so you can find what looks best on you. We don’t all look like Audrey but we each have our own beauty! If you can’t afford a whole wardrobe at new clothing prices, have a yard sale or ebay sale with the usable stuff you clear out in step 5. With the money you earn, go thrifting. Most of my clothes come from the Goodwill here in my southeast AZ town or the Deseret Industries in Tucson and Utah. Buy some new (to you) clothes, housewares, or dishes that fit your energy type. The dishes pictured below are the Type 4 dishes that my daughter bought at the thrift store when she went off to college.

8. Before Anya starts touring Rome, she gets some new sandals and then tries them out on the Spanish steps. It’s still warm enough weather that you can find a pair too, even at the thrift store! I have been blessed to find two of the cutest pairs of sandals ever at the thrift store in the past 3 years. They were high quality (Vera Wang and Aerosoles) and looked brand new.  I’m not into the gladiator-type ones she gets in the movie, these are more my style. The ones I found had black soles and gold straps. They are so perfect for a Dressing Your Truth Type 4/1, which is what I am.

9. Watch Though None Go With Me. It will give you a new perspective on life. I have it posted here, it is so beautiful! And it’s about married love! Another great movie about a loving marriage is A Vow to Cherish.

10. Anya learns a new skill by buzzing around Rome on a scooter.  Pick a new skill you want to learn. It may not be as glamorous as touring the Eternal City on a Vespa but it will still be fun! Spend at least 15 minutes a day, every weekday, on it. Be sure to do it in front of your kids. It’s time for me to get back to learning how to draw! That’s one thing I love, and this love has brushed off on both of my daughters. I consistently did it for a time, and both daughters saw me do it. Now they are both great at drawing, because they have gone off and worked on it on their own with all of my drawing books.

11. Find someone who is more lonely or stuck than you are and go serve them. Take them some music and leave it with them to listen to.

12. In the movie, Anya and reporter Joe go out to a dinner party. Take a cue from them and throw your own! Since you most likely won’t have undercover government agents that get discovered, yours won’t turn into a brawl. Invite some couples over for some board games, like Apples to Apples, or Word on the Street. Or have a Girls’ Night Out with the ladies in your church group, homeschool group, or neighborhood. Invite everyone to bring a potluck dish to share and any clothing items they want to pass on. Then let them pick out what is being passed on to take home. (You get bonus points if you teach them about Dressing Your Truth!) It’s a “put and take potluck”!

13. Get a haircut or new hairstyle just like Audrey did in the movie. I have tons of hairstyles posted here! If you want to be bold, get a new hair color!

14. Take my Mothers Who Know/Eternal warriors class. I am hoping to start a another one soon! Watch my blog for an upcoming announcement. I am still figuring out how to squeeze it in between homeschooling, homemaking, living, and football practices and games for two boys every week.

15. Plant something in a pot. It’s late in the season right now, but you can always plant herbs indoors any time of year!

16. Go exploring in your local area and find a cultural attraction like Anya and Joe do when they visit the Mouth of Truth. Google your area to find such places or use an app like Clio..

17. Get some humor in your life like Gregory Peck did in the above clip. Pulling his hand into his sleeve wasn’t part of the script, he did it impromptu. So that laughter of Audrey’s is not acting. The book pictured below has been a consistent family favorite at our house. Buy it or borrow from the library, bring it to the dinner table, and surprise your family with some jokes they’ve never heard.

Jokelopedia, Third Edition: The Biggest, Best, Silliest, Dumbest Joke Book Ever! by [Blank, Eva, Benjamin, Alison, Green, Rosanne, Weitzman, Ilana, Sparks, Lisa]

18. Discover a new frozen treat like Anya does when she eats her gelato on the Spanish steps. I have some healthful ice cream recipes here. If you want something sweet but not cold, you can find some recipes for sweets made with whole sweeteners here. Or branch out to try new recipes of other types of food. I’ve got some links for great recipes here and here.

19. Last but not least, watch Roman Holiday and see if you can get more inspiration for your own holiday. Here it is for your next screen time.

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