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  1. #1

    Default Is it burnout, or is it perimenopause?

    Hi everyone,
    Wanted to ask older homeschool moms (especially those who may have experienced both and therefore might know the difference or offer advice) whether they felt a big shift in attitude along with the onset of things like hot flashes, mood swings, and other signs of changing hormone levels associated with perimenopause or being 40-something.

    I have heard of homeschool burnout too, and don't know how much of this is that, or whether it's the hormones, or both, but basically, my older two are in school, in 10th and 5th grades, and my younger two are at home, being 8 and 4. And I have a wealth of books, curricula, resources, manipulatives, a fair amount of experience and hindsight, and now, no one to care for at home but my younger two. So why isn't this feeling like OH JOY! and a cakewalk?

    Instead, I feel like doing the bare minimum. I think about all the resources, manipulatives, experience, etc. I now have, and just can't bring myself to do it.
    Also, socially, I feel exhausted by having to be outgoing, even when the other person is interesting and I seem to keep talking. Thinking about how free I am to go pursue new social contacts and find activities and friends, sounds exhausting.

    I keep telling myself "wait a while: get your house organized, and the sun will come out, tomorrow!" but then keep thinking "and what if DS8 would actually be happy at school? What if he's missing something he'd like? What if things don't actually pan out better 6 months from now? And why wait to try it...after all, if school turns out to be a mistake, you can always go back to homeschooling. You already have all the stuff!"

    So can anyone relate? Is it hormones (I also seem to have more of an impatience with everythng, even a greater reluctance to do chores), or is it homeschool burnout?
    Middle-aged mom of 4 kids spanning a 10-year age range, homeschooling since 2009, and a public school mom also, since 2017.

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  3. #2

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    I can relate to just feeling overall drained and unenthused. For me, its an issue with multitasking and feeling like nothing is ever "done". I am a perfectionist, and it gives me great satisfaction to finish things off in an exemplary fashion down to the last little perfect detail. Yet here I am in the midst of things that are never finished or done well: work (e.g., just sent a job in and reopened it later and saw an errant comma and double up on a word—these things make me super anxious and imposter syndrome-y), cleaning/chores (always seems to be a rolling list of stuff to do but the house is never 100% clean so I can just sit and enjoy it), homeschool (planning the coming year, trying to finish off past year portfolios), career development (half finished books and plans), and so on.

    I totally get the being exhausted by social things too.

    So yes it sounds like you are feeling over it, and maybe depressed as all that can be symptoms of depression too. And depression is totally unpredictable and can just hit you even if you don't think it should. You recently had a lot to deal with related to your mother right? Even if it was kind of expected and you feel you have dealt with it, you may have become depressed without realizing it. Does it really matter where it comes from though? To me, what sounds like it matters is that you need to do something to rejuvenate yourself, and then maybe you can figure out what it is once you have the space to recover. But I would not keep on keeping on the way you are and hoping that it will right itself.

    Maybe sending DS8 to school would help but maybe it would not. Maybe you need to talk to someone, or get some time on your own each day/week (if that is possible). My mental health thing is my once a week horse riding lesson and it helps keep me on track.

    I hope you find something to do that helps, and in the interim, please chat on here about it if you feel comfortable doing so.
    New Zealand-based. DD 10 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 5 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

  4. #3

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    Hugs, Crunchy!!! You’ve been through so much lately, maybe you need a break from responsibility for a month or two? Im sure taking care of your mom was draining, and youre still going through grieving from her passing.
    You descrcibe the malaise from several facets of life - that sounds like general depression from this armchair psychologist.
    Maybe you need to do that deschooling thing for yourself, to reset things and get in a mindset to put your life back in order? Take a vacation to change your scenery, even if you just visit some distant kin or friend for a week.

    I personally dont think your younger kids not getting schoolwork attention from you for a couple months is catastrophic - there is always the summer! If you want to put them in school to help give yourself some time, that isnt the end of the world, either. They might like it, they might hate it, and you arent afraid to pull them if it doesnt satisfy you.

    Hugs!!! Hang in there! Youve just been through a lot, its a lot to bear.... plus that whole menopause thing!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  5. #4

    Default

    As someone who has been dealing with peri-menopause for what seems like FOREVER (at least 6-7 years), I struggle some days because hot flashes during the night just won't let me sleep. It waxes and wanes, but over the past two weeks, I can't get any more than 2 hours of interrupted sleep before I wake up, scorching hot and drenching wet. In turn, I feel like I'm walking through a haze some days, and don't get as much as I wanted to done. If that is an issue, there are some things you can do to alleviate them, from prescribed meds to natural methods. I only do natural, and even then not everything. I just can't give up my 2 cups of coffee every day.

    This lack of sleep can be causing your blahs.

    In terms of homeschooling, I agree with the others that taking a break, or maybe shaking things up, may jump start your feelings about the homeschooling process.

    If I can think of anything else, I'll pass it along. I hope life gets better for you!
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter (22), a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son (21), a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  6. #5
    Senior Member Arrived RTB's Avatar
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    Yes, you've had big changes lately. Lots going on.

    I would suggest scheduling an appointment with your GP. Some blood work will help rule out any thyroid changes (which can impact your mood and energy). They can also help address any perimenopause and / or depression issues that may be going on.

    And seconding what NZ and AM said about sending kiddos to school for a bit or just taking some time to not school.
    Last edited by RTB; 01-24-2019 at 02:16 PM.
    Rebecca
    DS 14, DD 12
    Year 8

  7. #6
    Senior Member Enlightened
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    Carol, did you experience nausea and motion-sickness when you were first going into perimenopause? I'm wondering if this is what's happening to me. I'm in my mid-40s. I notice that I have started to feel anxious when I drive my car, and once I had pull over to the curb because the road was bumpy and I almost felt a little out of control, like I was going to pass out. But then when I stopped the car, I felt fine.

    I've also been experiencing nausea, particularly in the mornings and when on an empty stomach.

    Crunchynerd, maybe you are still grieving and adjusting to the changes of no longer being your mother's caretaker. That is a big change. My family also helped take care of a neighbor who had MS. He passed after Thanksgiving. We are now dealing with the affairs he left behind and missing him. So I think it will take a while.
    Homeschooling an only, DS9

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by vicsmom View Post
    Carol, did you experience nausea and motion-sickness when you were first going into perimenopause? I'm wondering if this is what's happening to me. I'm in my mid-40s. I notice that I have started to feel anxious when I drive my car, and once I had pull over to the curb because the road was bumpy and I almost felt a little out of control, like I was going to pass out. But then when I stopped the car, I felt fine.
    Actually, something similar. I started getting panic attacks when I perceive traffic is bad when I'm on the interstate--4 lanes, lots of semi-trucks. I worry that I will pass out, so I'm the annoying driver in the far right lane actually going the speed limit. I had never done that before; I've driven that area many many times in my life.

    But no nausea. I think this effects everyone a little differently. A funny yet discouraging answer my own mom gave me when I asked her how long this lasts was her reply of "Oh, honey---forever."
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter (22), a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son (21), a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  9. #8

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    Vicsmom, what is your blood pressure like? Mine is relatively low and (100 ish over 60 ish) and its very easy for it to drop low enough that I get nausea and feel like I am going to faint. First thing in the morning and when hungry are common times for this, as your blood pressure is naturally lower at those times. Also, when I get hot (exercising etc.).
    New Zealand-based. DD 10 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 5 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

  10. #9
    Senior Member Enlightened
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    Thanks, Carol, for making me feel like I'm not going crazy. I am also getting anxiety when I am driving roads and freeways that I have driven hundreds of times. Your mom's quote actually puts things in perspective. LOL

    NZ, my blood pressure is normal, but also on the low side. I had not thought of that. Are you consciously doing something to keep it in a normal range?

    I went for a walk yesterday with another mom, and I was so nervous about how my body would react, that I carried a thermos of coconut water/water and a string cheese. Last thing I wanted was to double over in the park retching. We went a couple of rounds and I actually felt pretty good. This was late in the afternoon, though. Earlier this week, I had two bad reactions while running/walking due to unwisely timing my food intake.
    Homeschooling an only, DS9

  11. #10

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    Sorry for thread detour Crunchy.

    Vicsmom, I just don't restrict my intake of salty food. Its kind of a running "issue" in our family. Myself, my sister, mother, and grandmother have all been the same. My grandmother's got lots worse as she got older. Her main old age accidents were all due to drops in blood pressure and falling over because of that. My mum seems to be the same and now has to carry snacks with her everywhere just in case.
    New Zealand-based. DD 10 (year 6 [NZ system]) homeschooled, and DD 5 (year 1 [NZ system]) who is currently trying out public school.

    Freelance copyeditor, specializing in scientific text, who will make mistakes in my posts (I don't self-edit).

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Is it burnout, or is it perimenopause?