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I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting in church with my husband and daughters. I had one daughter on each side of me, because it was easier to keep them quiet if they were separated! They were each leaning on one of my shoulders. It was an idyllic picture of a happy little family, but my heart was not idyllic. I was at the point where I felt I couldn’t even breathe because being mom was taking up more than I had left.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love being a mom. This is my favorite title in my life and it defines me the most. I dreamed of being a mommy for years before our daughters were born. And…I loved being a mommy at that moment as well, but I really needed a break. Not from motherhood, but a bucket filling break to talk with girlfriends, laugh, cry, pray and perhaps just listen to silence so I could come back and continue to love my family.
Perhaps you have never felt this way, or perhaps you’ve just never allowed anyone to see this reality in your life, but life can get lonely as a mom.
During this time in our family history, our daughters were about 8 and 11. I volunteered at their school, drove them to youth group activities at church, helped them with their homework, practiced math facts, states and capitals, and spelling words on the way to school in the mornings. I clipped coupons to save money, planned menus, and used my crockpot so supper would be ready in the evening when we got home.
My husband had a fairly flexible job where he could plan his out of town trips when it was convenient for him. Flexibility is great for a busy family, but sometimes his flexibility left me feeling left behind with all the weight of keeping the family going. I was a stay at home and really, what else did I have to do anyway? This was my job. But little seeds of resentment snuck in every now and again when he would tell me he was leaving the next day for a few days. His little bag neatly packed beside his computer bag by the front door. He got to go sleep in a hotel by himself with no one waking him up in the night with bad dreams. He got to go eat breakfast that someone else prepared and cleaned up. He got to listen to his own music in the car.
I really loved the life we were living, but sometimes… I was just plain old tired and empty. If any part of this story resonates with you, perhaps you need to take some time to fill your soul so you can do your most important job in life – raising your children.
Here are a few easy tips to help you make sure you don’t burn out in this career of being mom!
1. Plan and Take Time for Yourself
When Jesus was in the midst of his ministry, He went away to the hills or across the lake to take time to pray and listen to God’s voice. He was so busy with the press of the people and the disciples (who sometimes acted like children) that He knew He could only be effective if He took time to fill His soul.
It is so easy to become so busy that we don’t have time to read the Bible and pray. In order for us to be moms who can share Jesus with our children, we need to have a personal relationship with Him.
2. Write Your Prayers
When you are spending your devotional time, commit to journaling your prayers. God knows your heart’s cry but there is release in verbalizing your burdens. Keep your journal in a safe place so that your children don’t stumble on your journal and misunderstand your struggles.
I have kept prayer journals for many years. Every year or so, I go back through and read some of the entries. It is amazing to read the things that were troubling at one time that have now worked out into beautiful answers to prayer. There are also things that I prayed for that in the end, really weren’t all that important. There are pages in my journal with tear stains and smudges. Some of those hurts or disappointments are still a part of my life, but some of those things I’m able to re-read without pain because God has given me the strength to forgive and move on.
When you are journaling, take time to write down the blessings. Studies have shown that as we keep track of what we are thankful for we can actually change our brain to see the good things rather than the negative.
3. Teach Your Children the Value and Importance of Your Devotional Time
When my daughter was about 3 years old, she was often an early riser. I started getting up earlier in the morning so that I could have my devotional time before she got up. One morning, I quietly snuck out to the couch to have my quiet time without waking her up. Much to my disappointment, she was already laying on the couch playing quietly with her stuffed animals. I knew how desperately I needed this time every morning. I quickly turned around and went into her bedroom to have my worship time.
This time is so critical every day. If we aren’t spending time with Jesus, how can we teach our children to be like Jesus? As your children get older, model this with them so they learn the importance of a daily relationship with Jesus.
4. Find an Accountability Partner or Mentor
Over the years of my parenting journey, I have been blessed to have deep friendships with women who were about 10 years ahead of me in my journey. Their kids were in the next stage of childhood and their wisdom and understanding was so critical to me. I could talk to them about challenges, struggles and discipline strategies and they had already been there. They also understood how exhausting “momming” can be and they occasionally offered to take my kids so I could have some time. Each of these women are still friends that I hold very dear to my heart because they were there in my life for a reason!
5. Plan Some Weekly Time to do Something That Makes you Happy
This is such a critical part of taking care of yourself. Perhaps you have a hobby or love to work out at the gym. Maybe you like to get your nails done or shop without children in your cart. Maybe you’ve been wanting to join a women’s Bible study. I love to play the piano and sometimes just sitting at the piano for a few minutes playing, fills my heart with peace. I also love to take nature pictures. Whatever it is for you, make that a priority. Your mental health is critical for the health and well-being of your family.
6. Take Pictures and Print Them Out
So often, we are so busy that we don’t stop and savor the time we have with our children. Unfortunately, our memories don’t always stay true and we forget the beautiful moments along the way each day. Hang your pictures of your family happy times on your bathroom mirror, by your desk, on your fridge, or some place where you will see them every day. It is great to post pictures on Facebook and Instagram for all of your friends and followers to see your happy times, but you need to see these daily reminders as well.
These photos represent the greatest treasure God has given to you.
7. Reach Out to a Younger Mom
You have experience and wisdom that a younger mom may be needing right now. Look for someone that you can mentor and encourage.
As my children have grown up, I have had the opportunity to be a mentor to several younger moms in different places where we have lived. Moms who were exhausted by the time they got to church and didn’t have much patience left to deal with their kiddos. Moms who needed to hear the message. My daughters are in college now, but I still take a bag of quiet toys and books to share with a frazzled mom with busy kids. My husband jokes that I still can’t sit in church without toys and perhaps he’s right.
But seriously, you have experience to share. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a younger mom and listen to her loneliness, insecurities or challenges. You just might end up with a new best friend along the way!
8. Re-Evaluate Your Family Priorities
If you are a tired and overwhelmed mom, take some time to think about the reasons why. Are you trying to be everything to everyone in your house? Perhaps you need to work out a plan for the other family members to help with chores. Are you taking time to fill up your spiritual bucket? Ask God to help you wake up rested with time to spend time with Him. Are you always running? Perhaps you need to re-evaluate your family schedule and prioritize the things that make you busy so that you are doing the things that you really value and not just filling up your schedule with things that keep you busy.
Dear Mom. You are not alone. Just because you are tired doesn’t mean you are bad mom. Needing a breath or some personal time is an indication of your need for your own health. Only when you have filled your own bucket can you fill the needs of your family and show them Jesus’ love. Your time with your children is like frost that will melt away. Treasure these moments and make the most of them.
What can you change in your day today to take care of yourself and therefore be a better mom?
I’d love to hear about your plan! Please drop a comment in the box below and tell me what you are doing today to take care of yourself.
If you know of a struggling mom out there who might appreciate these tips and encouragement, please share this with them!
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3 thoughts on “8 Tips for Exhausted Christian Moms”
Great list. I often feel like I need a mom break. A girls weekend or some time away from the home with other women to have adult conversations. My kids are much younger and I find it hard to find time for me, I can relate to having your daughter interrupt your devotional time. I have started to include my 4yr old. Shes awake anyway, since it seems like she waits until she hears me move around to get up. I like the idea of finding a mentor. I find it hard to find someone I can talk to who is older or has older kids. But I do chat with friends in a similar stage and we bounce ideas off each other which is nice.
It sounds like you have some good strategies as well. I love the weekend getaway idea as well. That didn’t happen often for me since my husband traveled but it was sure nice once a year or so. It is beautiful to include your kids in your devotional time. Great teaching by example opportunity.
Writing your prayers is such a good one! It makes a huge difference in my life.