How a Stressed-Out, Sleep-Deprived Mom Overcame Over-Commitment

Many mothers are already stressed out from running the household and managing their kids who can get so unruly (and that happens so very often). I myself am no stranger to that – I am not just a mom, but a homeschooling mom at that.

How I wish there were 32 hours instead of 24 hours in a day so that I would get a full eight hours of sleep.

Or would I? If I had actually 32 hours in a day, I would be most likely tempted to add a few more hours of work, and still come out as a sleep-deprived zombie who reaches for her coffee pot, as always.

Time is the greatest equalizer. All of us are given the time, but how can we make use of it varies from one person to another. Time is a precious gift which can never be recycled once it’s been used. The use of time can involve some degree of contemplation and soul-searching. But actually, determining whether or not we have enough to time to commit to a task is not that a really hard decision. All it takes is to say “yes” or “no” to something, and this depends wholly on whether or not we have the time for it.

That’s a no-brainer, right? But sometimes, it’s actually easier said than done. Many of us have become victims of overcommitting ourselves and admit it, we are guilty of this habit (and many of us have been doing this on a regular basis). You know, there are times that we actually want to rest, catch up on sleep, doing our hobbies or spending quality time with our family. But instead of doing these things that matter more to us, we say “yes” to another task or project that can actually sit and wait for the next week.

In our stay-driven culture, saying “no” is something almost like a flagrant sin. Because we like to stay busy and productive all the time, we say “yes, yes, yes.” But the truth is, saying “yes” is actually counter-productive. Before we know it, we are feeling over-stressed and sleep-deprived that we don’t know if we could actually function well in our tasks at all.

Some people enjoy doing a lot of things because they like to be busy – they enjoy the pressure and the adrenaline rush while racing to beat the important deadline or doing several projects around the clock. But for some people, it can lead to burnout – and that’s where saying “no” comes in easily.

Overcoming overcommitment is a tough habit to break. It’s hard, but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible. I’ve been there, and I struggled in overcoming it about ten years ago. I was then struggling to try to make a schedule for my four kids, who were aged nine years and younger. By this time, I had been homeschooling for five years and recently we had a newly adopted son from Haiti. But no matter how I tried, I still failed.

It was the right smack of time when a friend introduced me to a wonderful book called Managers of Their Home. The book turned out to be my life-saver; it turned the stress and the chaos to days that became better, smoother and more manageable. More importantly, this book stressed to me the importance of saying “No.”

Managers of Their Home was written by Steve and Teri Maxwell who are homeschoolers themselves to their eight children. What I like about this book is that it doesn’t tell you to exactly follow their own schedule (after all, how many of us have eight kids?). Instead, this book gives us helpful advice and tips on how to make the most of your time while homeschooling your kids and still have quality time with them together. Many families have successfully implemented the suggestions that are outlined in the book.

Managers of Their Home has been extensively updated since I first bought it 10 years ago. The book offers more helpful suggestions on how you can beat out the stress as you juggle between home and school and still allow for some flexibility in your schedule. Recently, it has included an online option that will help you to organize your schedule if you opt to subscribe to their software for a fee:

Since putting this book’s scheduling system into use 10 years ago, I have a daughter who is now a junior in college, a son who will be entering college this fall, another child who is high school freshman, and my youngest who is now a seventh-grader. I will be forever grateful to Managers of Their Home. This wonderful practical guide showed us how to get the important things done and still enjoy quality time as a family together.