Guest post by Caroline of Deborah & Co.
Whether you have one child or ten, being a mother is a lot of hard work. It brings abundant blessings, and I have never once regretted having my 5 children (and hope for more), but with the blessing of children comes a 24/7 responsibility. You can’t just walk away. The baby needs a diaper change, the toddler is smearing peanut butter all over the counter, and the older children are doing everything but the required chore list. And that’s just within the first 5 minutes of your day :).
I’ve experienced burnout as a mother, and I know I’m not alone. We can’t give in to this burnout and call it quits – that isn’t even an option. We can (and should), however, take a good hard look at what might be causing burnout.
My list is quite clear.
I’m a homeschooling mom of five children ages 10 and under.
I’ve struggled with adrenal fatigue all of my married life. Some years have been better than others, but I’ve had really long and difficult days as a mother thanks to weak adrenals and the utter exhaustion it can bring.
The past two years I’ve been primarily responsible for running our online clothing business as my husband has finished up his graphic design degree.
Your list will be different. Our lives can never match up, nor should they, but we can try to support each other on our mothering journeys.
There is a lot of pressure put on mothers to be supermoms. Some people pour on the guilt if you turn a DVD on for your children so you can try to get some housework done. Others if you aren’t 100% into feeding your child organic foods. Using disposables instead of cloth? Shame on you. You mean you don’t make your own household cleaners? Why, I thought you were a Christian! These feelings of not living up to expectations might be something you put on yourself, or others might truly be making you feel this way.
We need to step back and give grace to ourselves and to others. Sometimes it’s ok to let our husbands know we need a break, that we are struggling. When you pour juice out of a pitcher, at some point there’s none left to pour. If we give and give without ever refueling ourselves, we will run dry. Let me say that one more time for emphasis – If we give and give without ever refueling ourselves, WE WILL RUN DRY.
So how can we mange moments of being refreshed in the midst of sticky toddlers, messy houses, and failed expectations?
First, our expectations have to change. Weekend trips off with our girlfriends should not be the expectation. We need to find joy in the little things. There are the rare moments of actually leaving your children for the day, but those are few and far between. And besides, you leave for them, not in spite of them. That is, you realize that if Mom takes a short break, recharges her batteries, and returns home refreshed her children will be blessed by it. If you leave for a break and find you’d rather not go back, something is wrong.
Be Refreshed At Home
These could be done daily for a short time, or weekly:
Start a good scripture study.
Spend time in prayer.
Plant some flowers outside.
Paint your toenails.
Try a new hairstyle!
Organize your house – for the ultra tidy people this would be refreshing. 🙂
Be Refreshed Out and About
Change your mindset about grocery shopping and look at it as a good opportunity to get out of the house. If your husband enjoys shopping, bring him along for a family outing!
Once or twice a year I leave my children for the day and go out shopping with my sister. We normally are shopping for our children, but it is so much fun and I come home really refreshed!
Go visit with friends for the day. Your children are occupied and you can be encouraged chatting with another mom!
Have a date night with your husband. This doesn’t always have to be physically out of the house – there are lots of in home date activities you can do after the children are in bed!
When I was a little girl, getting new socks and underwear was such a big deal! Try to find that same excitement in the little things you might need to purchase. You don’t have to spend $100 on a new dress to get excited. 🙂
These little breaks from the routine are refreshing, and there should not be guilt connected with them!
Caroline Allen is blessed to be a wife to her beloved Sean, and mother to five children. She was home schooled all of her life by her precious mother, and now has started the whole adventure over again with her own children! Having been raised with a heart towards modesty, she started Deborah & Co., a clothing company that offers maternity, women, and girl clothes. Caroline is also a consultant for Lilla Rose where you will find beautiful hair clips. She would love to visit with you at her Blog, The Modest Mom and chat with you on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.