As I sit at my desk this morning with my six-week-old son cooing on my lap, I wondered what I should write about today. Then I yawned. Then I thought how nice it would be to have another cup of coffee. Then I yawned again. These days I don’t wake up feeling as refreshed as I would like to. Which got me thinking…
Mom exhaustion isn’t a fate reserved for mother’s of newborns. We go from late night feedings to late nights waiting for our teenagers to make curfew. We spend our days cleaning the same messes, cooking the same food, and washing the same dirty old clothes. We hear our names uttered in desperation a couple hundred times a day. We run errands, run to school, volunteer at preschool and keep up on high school drama. There are moments when our attention and appendages are being pulled in five different directions. Motherhood is not for sissies or women who require a lot of sleep.
Will I be tired for the rest of my life? How can we battle mom exhaustion?
1. Give up perfection
Really. Giving up my quest for a perpetually clean home died three kids ago and we are all happier for it. Let your home be lived in. Be late sometimes. Let your kids have a dirty face. It may seen awkward or impossible even, but trust me, it’s liberating. And instead of trying to keep our lives looking perfect, let’s remember perfection is only for a perfect God.
2. Give up your guilt
Ok, so I haven’t mastered this one. I want to be all things, all the time, to all my kids. But the truth of the matter is, I just can’t. I want to be able to get up and fix breakfast to the school kids after being up all night with a baby. But today I made it as far as the couch and hated it. So I’m still working on this one. If you have any pointers I’m all ears.
3. Give your kids chores
Not only will this help raise responsible children who don’t freak out when they leave home, it makes the home run more smoothly. We have company coming in this weekend and I started to stress but then I remembered I have four abled working children. So I set my kids to cleaning last night. With a little bit of direction from me as I nursed from the couch (surprise!), they dusted, vacuumed, put dishes away, etc.
Another bonus, I think this helps kids invest in the ministry of the home. We use our home as a place of refuge from the world. We take care of each other here and we open our doors to travelers, ministers of the gospel and weary souls. I want my kids to be part of that and not just an audience member.
4. Build your village
I will be totally honest, if we weren’t with the church we are now, I probably would have freaked out by the idea of six kids. But when I see how the church was knit together in the bible, I feel like that is what I have. If I need anything from help with house work to a babysitter I have a village of willing, loving people who want to jump in. I love it that one woman calls ME to schedule when she can come have my kids for the night. I love it that my kids have adopted grandparents that love them like their own. I love it that younger women help me clean. Build yourself a village of trusted, loving people to join you on your motherhood journey.
5. Rely on God
“Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light” (Eph. 5:14). The only source of true revitalization is our Savior. Our bodies may get exhausted, our minds may be tired, but we can awake and arise in the light of Jesus Christ, letting him rejuvenate our souls.
I’m sure there are other great ideas that I am just too tired to come up with…