I did a simple Google search and found the average mother gets 17 minutes to herself each day. That number doesn’t surprise me in any way. I think of my own life and the new to-do lists that are always growing. I think of a lot of Moms who may feel tired, burdened, “done with kids,” and most of the time — when it gets real, will admit that they aren’t really enjoying motherhood. Don’t get me wrong, we love our babies and we love being a Mom, but the day-in and day-out grind of motherhood (along with everything else) is enough to make the strongest of us think “deuces” at certain times.
I had a mom friend write me and ask “How do you rest in motherhood?”
It is such a great question that I wanted to address it in a blog post. Also, I just spent the last 10 weeks napping, pretty much every day. My life looks quite different during pregnancy and being out of the first trimester has me more refreshed again, almost feeling like a new woman. My kids ages are 6, 4, 3, 2, and 10 months so this topic is near and dear to my heart.
I am not here to claim I am an expert at being or feeling rested. If you follow us on IG, I use the tired emoji a lot. I like to think I have a lot of energy, but not even energy or mental toughness can get me through at times. God has allowed seasons of my life and an amazing husband that have sharpened me in this area. I have learned these things the hard way and felt the strain on myself or my family. In the midst of all the highs and lows of life — spiritual, mental and physical rest is extremely important. I believe when a Mom can learn to rest, and the proper things to find rest in, the balance of motherhood truly starts to feel even.
First, as Christians, we must find our true rest in Jesus. He is the only one that lasts or sustains. We may have seasons of no sleep and complete physical weariness (i.e. our last move with a newborn while transitioning out of the military and buying/selling house) but an eternal mindset takes you outside of your circumstances. My spiritual mindset has to be rested to get my body going in the right direction.
Remember me blogging about when motherhood is hard. The temptation to stay in bed, cry, turn to other aids or just freeze in sheer emotion from x,y,z (all the boxes, all the choices, all the noises) was definitely present. I had to daily remind myself to REST in Jesus. There is strength for the weary and new experiences have always taught me to walk in the day, allowing Him to carry me through those types of seasons. Scripture is full of help with weariness and I would find a new verse every week to help me. I would struggle, turn to Jesus, cast my cares upon Him, meditate on Scripture and renew my mind.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Jeremiah 31:25 “For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.”
Isaiah 40:28-31 “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Seriously, the Bible is FULL of wisdom regarding rest — that’s just a taste.
When seasons are slower, it is still crucially important to rest in Jesus. It becomes almost easier to not rest in Him. We start to rest in sleep, a good schedule, a healthy routine, exercise, friendships or anything else — all GOOD things. However, I believe resting in Jesus first, and then being aided by some of those other things makes the biggest difference. Our seasons change so fast in motherhood, especially young motherhood, or military motherhood, and once we get in a good place with something, something else will likely throw that out of place.
For REST — after peace in Jesus — I suggest two important habits.
1) A healthy, morning quiet time. I have a journal for prayer and started the habit of writing my prayers out many years ago. Then I have time in the Word. My Bible reading plan changes with the seasons. Some months I am studying through a book of the Bible, others I am just reading a Psalm each day. I may need to do a post about Quiet Time Tips or habits so let me know if you have more questions! The reason I write “healthy morning quiet time” is because of kids and schedules. This should be something that even the kids can conform to (i.e. if you wake up late). Some mornings I am simply reading to the kids at breakfast and everyone just listens to the Scriptures, but by having the pattern of morning, I get a few minutes and am more ready for the day. When I’m like “Whoah, why are 5 people asking me for something at one time…everyone halt please!” and I stop us all to get that time. Also, it allows my kids to see that I need Jesus first thing in the morning.
2) Protect nap times. I keep a healthy nap routine for everyone, including myself. During the first trimester, it meant everyone had to be in bed by 1:00 because I was going to sleep too. Now, it’s back to more flexibility. Some days I don’t sleep, but I rest. I read, I sit, I check messages (and maybe don’t respond). I force myself to go horizontal. I don’t plow through laundry right away or clean. Sometimes after I have got a little rest, I get up and finish a chore or hobby, but sometimes I don’t. If I schedule in a phone call, I make sure I have a little time around it (before or after that is kid free), or a nap time the day before/after to recover in an area I took that time from. Afternoon rest (physical and mental) helps me get through the evening joyfully and I have to protect this time. I have learned on the days when I don’t stop or when I don’t take time to rest that I am edgy, irritated, impatient, my thoughts suffer and by dinner time I can usually be heard yelling from various rooms.
I always mention priorities in my post and I am not going to dive into that topic here, but I have more rest tips along the lines of not over committing, how to prioritize and keeping a healthy schedule (weekly, daily, hourly). Like all of you, I want to be a good wife, mother, friend and more for the glory of God — and I know it is hard. Some seasons it means saying “NO” a fair amount and other seasons I can say YES a lot more!! The number 1 thing I talk to Moms about is just the weariness and constant pressure to “go, go go…” thus the idea of rest feels impossible. We feel pressured to be at every group, every playdate, every activity, on and on, but it is not wise or necessary. My goal is to approach every commitment wisely and carefully, then to execute it well. “Let your yes be yes and your no, no.” Matthew 5:37
I hope you find this helpful! Let me know if you have any questions.
With All My Love,