Depression is something that all moms are at risk for developing, not just homeschool moms. Moms who work outside the home and stay at home moms struggle with depression. Homeschooling with depression can be extra challenging.
Moms that have young kids struggle. Mothers with older children struggle. Even moms that have answered the call to homeschool can struggle with depression.
No matter how important our responsibilities there can come a time when we are burned out and just cannot summon the energy to do what we need to do for ourselves and our family. Dealing with homeschooling and depression can be hard but with grace and some outside help, it is possible to do both.
Truth #1 Homeschooling with Depression Happens
Often as moms, we try to do too much. We take on too much and then feel overwhelmed and frustrated with our ability to get the task done. We feel like we have to be all things to all people. We don’t build enough margin into our lives.
At a certain point, we can get overwhelmed with panic, crying, and anger. We all have tough days. We all have tough times of the month and even tough seasons.
When we feel overwhelmed, we need to step back and take care of ourselves. We need time to get away, even if it is just an hour or so. We need time to rest. Maybe even play hokey from homeschool for a few days.
If that doesn’t help – you might be suffering from burnout or depression. Does it mean you are weak? Absolutely not. Does it mean you just need to pray a lot more? Absolutely not.
Depression is a physical sickness just like getting a case of pneumonia or another serious condition. Yet, we tend to treat it like a common cold. Just take some medicine, and push through like it is no big deal.
Depression is a big deal. Instead of trying to ignore it, we can get treatment and get our joy back for spending time with our kids and in our homeschool.
Truth #2 Depression Is Real, Physical Thing
Have you wondered if you are depressed? If you have wondered, then it is worth a trip to the doctor for a check-up. Have you wondered if it is just all in your head?
Depression is a real, physical change to the body. Your doctor can help diagnose depression and get you the help you need to start feeling better. You don’t have to be homeschooling with depression – there is hope!
Below are some symptoms of depression quoted from the CDC website:
Symptoms of depression can include:
- Lasting sad, anxious, or “empty” mood.
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism.
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness.
- Feelings of irritability or restlessness.
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities.
- Loss of energy.
- Problems concentrating, recalling details, and making decisions.
- Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much.
- Overeating or loss of appetite.
- Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts.
- Aches or pains that do not get better with treatment.
Truth #3 It is Okay to be the Student and to Learn
As homeschool moms, we sometimes think that we have to have all the answers. We believe that we have to have it all together for the sake of our children. It is okay for us to be students and to go to a teacher to learn about ourselves. After all, the latin root word for doctor is teacher.
Do your research. Go to the doctor and get a diagnosis. You don’t have to be convinced that you have depression to go to the doctor. If you think that you just are not dealing with life the way you used to or would like to – then go to the doctor and ask.
Maybe it is something else or may it is depression. Let them diagnosis you and help you get better! When your brain is not working ideally, you need a doctor to help you get back on track.
It is affirming to have a doctor confirm for you, your spouse, and your family the reality of your condition and its seriousness. You will need space, time, grace, and medicine to help you recover while you are homeschooling with depression.
Truth #4 You Are Not the Only Mom Homeschooling With Depression
Depression happens to a lot of women. In fact, it happens more than you might think because we just don’t talk about it. I bet that there are several other mamas and homeschool coop who are also homeschooling with depression.
Does Homeschooling Cause Depression?
A Gallop poll in 2012 reported that nearly a third of stay at home moms reported a depression diagnosis. Working mothers fared better at 17%. So, if you are a stay at home mom or a homeschooling mom and you feel like you might be depressed – you are NOT alone.
Yes, working moms are slightly less likely to be depressed, but that doesn’t mean that homeschooling causes depression. It does mean that as homeschool moms, we need to be more careful about ensuring that we attend to our mental health.
Being a SAHM or a homeschooling mom is hard and lonely work. Yes, we are surrounded all day long even in the bathroom. Yet, we often feel like our work is overlooked and not valued. The sense of a lack of accomplishment can be a factor in developing depression.
Homeschooling and Depression and Large Families
Women are also at greater risk for depression after having a baby. This type of depression is called post-partum depression. Most women experience a couple ofdays of baby blues with all the hormone shifts after delivery. Post-partum depression lasts longer and is more intense.
Estimates are anywhere between 1 in 5 and 1 in 9 women have experienced post-partum depression. Because it is so common, ask your doctor to help you distinguish between the blues and depression.
Homeschooling families tend to have more children on average than non-homeschooling families. The extra workload and extra hormones can make it easier to find yourself homeschooling with depression. All the more reason to know that you are not alone.
Truth #5 Homeschooling with Depression is a Personal Journey
Each person’s journey to healing is their own. Keep going back to your doctor to find what works for you. If one medicine isn’t working, try another.
When I was suffering from depression, I had to try several different medicines. Make your mental health a priority, and don’t give up!
What I did do:
The panic, anxiety, and sadness were so strong that I finally asked my husband to help me get some help. We had just gone through a long period of stress and then to that I had added way too much to my plate.
I was overwhelmed and had depleted my reserves. Depression can truly happen to anyone but you can overcome it.
Always get to a doctor first.
Be honest and open. Remember that you are not alone. A lot of women go through depression.
In addition to the medicine, and the advice of my doctor – I did several other things to heal my mind and heart heal. Here are some of the things that I added to my self-care.
- Exercise (easy walking but every day)
- Thyroid treatment
- Vitamin D & Sunshine
- Margins – I needed space to heal and to manage my stress.
Homeschooling and Depression: Stick it Out
Homeschooling through depression is hard. You don’t have the energy that you need to get things done. Keeping track of where all your students are in their subjects can be overwhelming.
The energy and passion to teach are hard to find. Take heart, mama. This is for a season.
We all have those seasons during our homeschooling journey. We are homeschooling for the long haul and we can have seasons of rest and seasons of light work.
Make a list of what has to get done. If all that is done for a month is math each day and the rest of the day is spent reading books or playing outside – that is a win! Task you children to work together and to work independently. It will surprise you how much they step up to the plate.
Check the article “Skills Before Content: Focus on the Skills of Learning” for some perspective on the overwhelm all homeschool moms can feel about what they need to teach their children. Don’t worry about falling behind or keeping up with that perfect homeschool mom that you know.
Steer your kids towards good books, quality documentaries, time in nature, and outside play. Nature hikes are quality school time that nurtures their souls and is excellent for helping with depression too!
If Mama ain’t happy ….
Mom, you are the heart of your home. Take the time to practice self-care and to get healing. If you are depressed, it affects your whole family. You are that important even if it doesn’t feel like it right now.
If you just had a baby, would you take maternity leave in your homeschool? With depression, you are ill, even if others cannot see it. Be gentle with yourself, and take the necessary steps to get healing.
Depression has a silver lining. You have an opportunity to create self-care routines that will build your emotional health and resiliency after the depression. Mothering is hard and depression can be a turning point to take care of mama too.
May the Great Physician and your personal physician get you on the right track to healing. Remember you are NOT alone.
The voice behind FaithfulMotherhood.com is Jyn. She is a veteran homeschool mom of three. More than just a pastor’s wife, she holds a Master of Divinity degree and has served in church leadership for over 20 years. Her passion is equipping parents to live out their calling as the number one faith influencer for their children. She longs to see moms empowered by God’s Word and transferring that love to their children through daily Bible study and family devotions.