Knowing When You've Taken on too Much
(and What to Do Next)
October 23, 2019
In This Issue:
Life: Chore or Gift?

Hey Mama,

When it’s all falling apart around you, stop and be still. Just quit moving for a moment and re-group; hit the reset button. You’re allowed to do that. No one is standing over you with a whip (except yourself).

Don’t do it.

What will your advice be to your daughter or daughter-in-law ten years from now when she calls you in tears and says she is overwhelmed? That she’s a big, huge failure?

Will you tell her to snap out of it, get a hold of herself, and work faster and harder . . . instead of whining?

Will you tell her how disappointed you are in her . . . that your grandkids deserve better, that your suspicions are confirmed: she truly is good for nothing after all?

Or will you verbally, tenderly do what I know you will do? I believe you will laugh softly and tell her you have been there/done that a million times. And that you understand what she’s dealing with all too well because years and years ago you had little ones, too, and felt the same way at times. 

I believe you will tell her that she is the best mother on the planet for your grandkids, that she’s only human, that she is doing her level best to love her family and serve them well, and that she's doing a splendid job at it all, by your estimation! Of course you will, Mama. Because that’s who you are—an encourager, a strong shoulder. A wise mama.

Send her some links to The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, if you run out of ideas. You’re going to love these:

And remember, Mama. . .

You are super good at speaking truth into the lives of others. So why do you hammer yourself again and again over minor issues? You know the truth. You’re an encourager now, and you’ll be the same way nine, ten, twenty years from now.

The only difference is that you will be in a unique position, having walked similar paths. Your daughter doesn’t have to resort to discouragement over her failures/homeschooling/housekeeping/whatever. You can show her a better way—God’s way! When burnout comes (and it will sometimes), point her to the One who called her to this path.

He holds no whip over her head. He offers her the same grace, compassion, patience, and genuine love that He’s holding out to you right this minute. So take it. Could you just take it? It’s yours, Mama.

Recognize this life for what it is. It’s full of chores, but it’s NOT a chore itself. It’s a precious gift, so view it that way. And later, you can tell your daughter the same thing you finally learned about a life lived with confidence instead of hurried stress and constant frustration with yourself. Don’t be so hard.

Tell her how God’s got her on the path He lovingly placed her on and that He is fulfilling His plan, so instead of worrying, she should smile, relax, and enjoy this time with her sweet children because time flies SO fast. Before she knows it, her own kids will be grown. Why waste this chapter of life? LIVE, Daughter of the King. Fail sometimes. But then get back up and LIVE.

Guess what happens next? Decades later, she tells your future granddaughter the same things, the same truths.

Your great God and Savior loves you. Pass it on. But first, accept it yourself, Mama. It’s real and it is for you.

You are going to be an amazing grandma. Your daughter will remember how crazy it was from time to time but that you always got back up. Who will she call when it’s her turn to be a Mama? That’s a no-brainer. She will call her best friend . . . you.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” – Matthew 11:28-30 (NASB).

- gena
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Taking Care of Mom: Burnout!

If you are feeling overwhelmed, trapped, irritable, negative, and disillusioned with little sense of self-worth, you may be heading towards burnout! Stress is an indicator of burnout that God has given us as an alarm. If you are feeling stressed out the majority of the time, beware!

Most likely to face burnout are those with the type-A personality—motivated, driven, responsible, creative, goal-oriented, ambitious perfectionists. Yep, homeschooling moms. We are good at overloading our time, being too accessible, down-playing changes in our lives, being overloaded on information, and being stretched for money. Burnout is not an event; it is a process. Most people don’t recognize the seriousness of their condition until they reach level 2 of 5 towards breakdown.
Early signs include
  • Realization that your expectations are unrealistic.
  • More to do than time to do it.
  • Saving relaxation for the weekend.

Level 2 symptoms include
  • You are aware of your stress.
  • Energy is lower.
  • Days of frustration, boredom, and confusion.
  • Others seem very demanding and insensitive to your needs.
  • Saving relaxation for vacation.

Level 3 symptoms are
  • You’ve stopped taking care of your needs. 
  • You feel rushed, worried, impatient, and indecisive.
  • Fatigued.
  • Sleep is often disturbed; eating patterns change.
  • You binge to feel better—food, TV, iPad games, shopping, etc.

Level 4 is burnout!
  • Feeling angry and cynical.
  • Feeling detached and withdrawn.
  • Handwriting deteriorates, chronic fatigue, irritability, and mood swings.
  • Everyone is too demanding.
  • You want to be left alone.

If you reach level 5, despair has set in.
  • Tremendous sense of failure, self-doubt.
  • Very low self-esteem, self-criticism.
  • Loneliness.
  • Feelings of incompetence, helplessness, being trapped, discouragement.
  • No satisfaction from activities or life.
  • “I can’t cope.”

Find the complete list at under “Taking Care of Mom: Burnout.”

Burnout will not go away on its own. You must do something to interrupt the cycle. Healing begins with:

1. Recognizing the level of your burnout.
2. Admitting you have a problem and grieving your losses—loss of idealism, satisfaction, feelings of hardiness, competence, and well-being.
3. Recreating balance in your life—God, marriage, family, homeschooling, then other ministry. Lower your expectations making them reasonable.
4. Redefining success—not goal-oriented but obedient to God.
5. Redefining your identity—not a homeschooling mom but a child of the King of Kings who happens to homeschool.
Put margin in your day—time to breathe, time to hear God, time to recharge. Say, “No.” 

“Saying no is not an excuse for noninvolvement, laziness, or insensitivity. Instead, it is purely a mechanism for living by our priorities, allowing God to direct our lives rather than the world, and preserving our vitality for the things that really matter.” - Restoring Margin to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson

For an audio speech on Burnout and how to heal go to

Dara Halydier is an author, speaker, and mom of five grown boys! She homeschooled for twenty-one wonderful years and is now encouraging other homeschooling families. She is the executive director of Abiding Truth Ministry and the author of the Practical Proverbs series and other books. Dara has learned life’s lessons the hard way—experience! The lessons she shares come from truths that she has learned from dealing with chronic pain, having moved thirty-three times, having four boys with learning disabilities, and having overcome a past of abuse to proclaim God’s grace, forgiveness, and freedom. Find out more at .
Because You Can’t Do Everything, Do This! Lisa, long-time homeschooling mother, shares her heart on prioritizing and measuring true success in a multi-decade journey. 
Just Part of Life

Nothing happens quite as subtly as letting our life get overrun with busyness. Sometimes we don’t even notice until our relationship with our family suffers. Conventional understanding says it’s just a part of life . . . or is it?

Sometimes, we forget we have the permission to take control of our own lives and schedule. We get so caught up in meeting the needs and expectations of others that important areas in our life get neglected. Sometimes, as you well know, these “extras” are good! Maybe you teach Sunday school, organize a homeschool co-op, or even work outside the home. 

But the truth is, to parent well we need to attend to the needs of the charge the Lord has given us first. Our family and marriage need to take precedence over other obligations, no matter how good they are. This certainly doesn’t mean we don’t take part of any other obligations. We just need to prioritize differently.

The first and most important action step is to take these concerns to the Lord. Ask Him to show you areas of your life that are robbing you of being able to be present for those you love. 

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” - James 1:5-8.

Second, go to your spouse and ask him, “What are the three most important jobs that I do that you consider most important to you and the family?” Afterwards, ask your children the ONE most important thing you do for them.

As a single parent, I was surprised when my children told me they missed really healthy homecooked meals and eating together. As I tried to put my life together, I hadn’t realized that was something that was important to them. There are still nights we are rushing out the door, and life is still crazy, but I try to make at least three sit-down meals a week, even if it means a large mess in the kitchen.

Once you have established what is essential for your family, take a little time for yourself. Walks, vitamins, prayer . . . yes, even a bath. I used to think “self care” was selfish, but what I’ve come to find is I am better able to care for my family if I am rested and healthy. 

Finally, ask your spouse to pray with you about time served outside the home. There are positions I have had to give up that were slightly painful. I stepped down from the board of our city’s home educators board and quit teaching kindergarten cubs, among others. Sure, I miss these activities, but sometimes it’s just a season . . . not forever.

Most importantly keep your concerns before the Lord. Your obedience will give way to blessings and peace.

Kerry Tittle is a mother of nine children and a 20-year homeschool veteran. She was the owner of ReformationKidz with her husband Rob until a tornado destroyed their home and business in 2014, taking the lives of Rob and two of their daughters, Tori and Rebekah. Kerry is the founder of  Refined Family , which is created to encourage others to find hope in the gospel in the midst of trials.
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Jodi Riddle
Enjoy Your Blessings

Are you feeling tired? Irritable? Frustrated? Panicked? If you answered “yes” to any one of those, there’s a good chance that you had a busy day. If you answered “yes” to more than one of those, it’s possible that you have taken on more than you can physically handle. 

Jesus, Himself, gave us the remedy in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 

Unfortunately, so many times we allow the weight of our responsibilities, our families, and even our hobbies to burden us and we forget that Jesus wants us to spend time with Him for strength, encouragement, and most importantly, rest. 

Not only can He provide us with the strength and rest we need, but quiet time in the Word can allow us to realize what our priorities are. Our spouses, the children, church attendance/activities, and housework are all things that keep us busy, but understanding how to prioritize them can give us better days. 

Teach the children how to help with housework. Make a schedule of what chores get done on which days. Allow time between planned events so you don’t always feel like you are “rushing” to arrive somewhere or complete a task. Lay clothes out the night before so everything can be easily found in the morning, and no one is crying over not being able to find something. These are all things that add to the stresses of feeling like you have taken on too much.

Sometimes, you realize that you or members of your family are involved in too many outside things, and you may need to scale back on the activities. There is nothing wrong with participating in activities outside the home, but if all you are doing is running back and forth to practices, lessons, or classes, everyone involved can become tired and overwhelmed. 

Ask yourself if those items are worth the stress it causes you and your children. If the answer is “no,” then limit the amount of extra curricular activities in which your family participates. Choose what is best for your family as a whole. 

When you have taken on too much, spend time in the Word, rethink your priorities, plan ahead, and relax. Realize that God has given you the family and responsibilities you have, and enjoy your blessings.

Jodi has been with TOS since April 2016. She serves as Operations Manager and is also the  Homeschooling with Heart  blog manager. Jodi is a pastor’s wife and has three adult sons. She homeschooled for eighteen years and also taught in the private and public-school settings. Jodi enjoys teaching, playing the piano, scrapbooking, and making cards. Her heart’s desire is to help others learn to enjoy these things as well!
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Contest Corner
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