I’ve been a stay-at home mother for over 20 years and because of the way my 6 children are spaced, I have always had ‘littles’ (5 and under) in my home. This also means that I have gone through some pretty exhausting seasons. I joke that I give extreme meaning to the coined descriptive word, “Mombie”. Raising children, homeschooling, keeping house, wife-ing and life-ing all take an incredible amount of time, energy and effort – and at the end of the day, “tired” is a true reality! Here are a few things I’ve learned and implemented for when Tired takes over & “Mommin” is hard:
Sleep & Make Sure to Meet Your Own Spiritual & Physical Needs
Girl, I know you can’t think straight and you’ve been up all night with that lil one- go ahead and sleep when that child sleeps. Seriously. You’re not doing anyone any favors by powering through and I promise you: only insanity is on the other side if you don’t get that much-needed shut-eye.
It is OKAY to tell that friend or relative, or demand of any kind that they can wait till you have slept. Oh, how I wish someone would have told me that and MADE ME DO IT when I was younger! Everything in front of me- play dates, field trips, ministry obligations, social events, family obligations… they ALL felt URGENT and like they needed to be done right away or the whole world would come crashing down around me. The pressure I put on myself to ‘be there’ for everyone except myself proved to be most detrimental! So give yourself permission to sleep- everything and everyone else will be waiting for you when you wake up blissfully refreshed and rested.
Didn’t read your bible this morning? Stop what you’re doing right now, make a cup of tea or coffee and read 10 minutes of scripture. Take another 10 minutes to pray and praise God for His Presence in your day- TODAY. Tomorrow morning, don’t do anything until you have done this. Repeat every morning from here on out. You will NEVER regret those 20 minutes and they will open up your desire for more time with Him.
Not drinking enough water? Set reminders on your smart phone. Not eating right? Make a plan and have power snacks on hand to meet your nutritional needs. Many smoothies can be made in advance and stored in mason jars in the fridge for up to 3 days for a ‘grab and go’ nutrient-dense infusion. Bless your body with some fresh air, exercise and stretching every day. It might not seem important, but these things have an effect on one’s mood more than you know.
Find a comfortable, daily outfit that makes you feel put together and ready to meet the day head on. Some gals get themselves an oober-cute apron or smock to wear over leggings and a tunic. One of my upcoming projects is to make matching aprons for me and Lil Miss to wear around the house. They’re practical, keep the clothes clean while you work, and look adorable. Throw your hair up in a cute clip or a casual, but nice, style. A little makeup and lip gloss, and maybe a dab of perfume really can make all the difference in how we feel and approach our day.
Decide What Your Priorities Are… And Stick To Them.
It didn’t take long before I realized that my heart-priorities kept being put on the back burner because of the other things that vied for my attention. So, I took some time and prayed. I asked God to show me what I was supposed to do because I realized I simply could not do it ALL. Neither can you sweet sister.
Bless our hearts, we want to do it all and be it all because we are constantly fed the message that we CAN, but the truth is, at some point, you will need to look at your life and decide what you want to really accomplish with it and for me- I realized that if I continued to run after all the things that were offered to me outside of the home and family, that would mean that my efforts and attention and love would not be being poured into the greatest ministry God had gifted me with on this earth the way I knew it could.
I truly desired to be a godly wife, home keeper, and mother to my children, I didn’t want to get to the end of my life and have regrets that I didn’t spend more time being the helpmeet, nurturer and teacher I knew God wanted me to be. I would easily become carried away with ministry outside of the home and before I knew it, my family would be getting meager leftovers of me because I would spend all my time and effort elsewhere- this should not be the case!
Our husbands and children, our homes, and our ministry to them should have top priority, they should get the very best of us, amen? When I realized this, I became much more selective about who and what got my commitment and attention, especially during the week, when we were homeschooling. This has been a constant process for me through the years, but I find in regularly examining my priorities, I can keep the most important things in the forefront and not waste the precious, fleeting time I have with my children, my husband, and our home environment.
Learn to Delegate and Receive Help
This has probably been one of the hardest things for me, but learning to delegate and receive help from others has helped me shoulder the load during very trying and difficult times.
First and foremost, teach your children to do chores. I mean it. Make EVERY EFFORT to teach them skills that will benefit them, and your household, for the rest of their lives. Once they master doing a chore, teach them another one. But make sure they truly learn to do whatever skill you’re teaching, you’ll avoid a lot of frustration early on if you’ll commit to teaching them properly. Then delegate. Make a chore schedule and let everyone (including husbands) do their part. By the time they become teenagers you will be happy-dancing that they can help with housework and laundry and yard work. You will be blessed that they can take care of themselves when they go out on their own. Having your husband’s support and help will also be a huge blessing!
Second: That friend that keeps offering to come and help you do laundry or clean the house?? LET THEM COME. I know you feel embarrassed about the dirty dishes in the sink and the bathtub that hasn’t been scrubbed in a month and the mountain of laundry in the basement is taller than you, but if you are sleep-deprived, going through a crisis, or are just simply struggling with keeping up, let God BLESS you with an extra pair of hands! Someone calls and asks if you need a meal for the week… yes! You DO! I know it’s hard to admit when we need help and we like to fancy ourselves capable of anything at any time, but I am learning to allow those I know I can trust to come into my “messy” and help where it is needed. Lastly…
Evaluate Your Home Environment
Is clutter sucking all the energy out of you? Does disorganization leave you agitated and anxious at the end of the day? Do you need some color and art and music, maybe a lit candle in order for your house to feel like a home?
When clutter starts to take over in my house, I find that my energy levels get sapped quickly on a daily basis and I become more easily irritated with the members of my family. I can’t just sit down in the middle of a mess and read 5 stories to my begging kiddo with my stress barometer rising in the midst of it all. While I am far from a minimalist, as a busy, homeschooling mother and home keeper, I definitely see the benefits of assuming a ‘less is more’ perspective as the years go by!
Trying to cook a meal in an already messy kitchen can unravel me quicker than yarn. Misplaced clothing, socks, and shoes send me over the edge. All of that said, we have at least one huge mess a day in our home that needs consistent tending to, but through decluttering and chore management, we generally keep it under control.
Think about the areas that give you stress on a daily basis and make a plan to attack and conquer. Is there a wall or corner that you can declutter and make some cute art for, or add some pops of color that will refresh you every time you look at it?
Does meal-making stress you out? Learn how to meal-plan and prepare some dishes in advance to relieve that daily burden. One of the greatest helps in home management I ever learned was freeze-ahead cooking. Because my kiddos are home all day with me, I was in the kitchen a LOT. When I started preparing meals in bulk that could be pulled out of the freezer and made in the crockpot, my workload was forever lightened! Another help, was designating a snack cupboard where the children could help themselves twice a day to one fruit and one snack.
When you’re tired, mommin’ really does becomes hard
It’s true. I am NOT at my loving-best when I am stressed and tired. So I’ve had to learn to do all of the above things to ensure that my family gets the very best of me. I want them to have a balanced, nurturing mother and wife in a home that is, for the most part, conducive to the love and nurture they deserve. That your family deserves. That I deserve. That you deserve.
Take some time this week and pray about some steps you can take to give your family and yourself the care and attention you need… Tired doesn’t have to take over, and mommin’ can be much easier if you do!