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Moms are busier than ever, and there is soooo much to be done! We seem to always be looking for ways to get more done, often sacrificing ourselves and a bit of our sanity along the way.
In my 28 years as a mom, I’ve run the gamut of trying this or that to be more productive, sacrificing sleep, my dreams, and my peace to try to do all that was required of me. Too much of the time did my heart feel heavy in my work as a mom, rather than anything joyful.
Have you ever gone to bed at night absolutely exhausted, feeling like you’ve worked all day long, and don’t really have much to show for it? Ya, me too. Way too many nights to count.
In hindsight, I’ve learned that there were times when I did a few things that they really did help me be more productive and more peaceful. These things are super easy to overlook or neglect but are oh, so important.
#1 Spend more time with the Lord each day – (This is the most helpful thing)
This may seem counter-intuitive… Spend MORE time with the Lord? But I already don’t have enough time! How can spending more time in scriptures and prayer help?!
Well, that’s the amazing thing about it. I’m not sure how it works, all I know is that it does. Always.
Every time I’ve consistently been purposeful about spending more time in my scriptures each day, my life has become more simple. More manageable. More productive. More peaceful. Time seems to expand and I get more done. Challenges don’t disappear, I just seem to be more able to handle them.
When we seek him first, all things are added unto us. (Matt. 6:33) I believe this applies to busy moms and all the work we have to do.
Just know that one burst of effort in this one day here or there doesn’t really seem to do the trick. It’s as though he wants to see how serious we are about putting him first, then wow, just watch the blessings flow.
#2 The Six-Month-NO
This can actually be done as often as you like, but every six months seems to be a good amount of time. Here’s what you do:
- Choose a time when you can be alone and prayerful for about a half hour or so. (You can do it!) Seek for inspiration in this exercise.
- Sit down and write down all the responsibilities you have inside and outside the home. Be sure to include things as basic as grocery shopping, and other things like Suzy’s piano lessons 3x a week, to work 20 hours/week… Promise yourself that you won’t get overwhelmed by this list! It can seem Huge!
- Then once you have everything written down, take a deep breath and just look at it. Objectively! Ask yourself, “What things are really critical?” and “What things can go?” and “What things can be delegated, or adjusted?” Cross things out, make little notes on your paper, etc.
- Things that might help are – “Could my neighbor who drives right past Suzy’s piano lessons each week drive Suzy there for me?” or “Is Suzy really committed to piano? Is this really the right venue for her?”
- Or, “Is there a way I could simplify my grocery shopping so I only have to go once a week instead of twice?”
- Or, “What things can really be cut out?” “What things really bring the best to me and my family?”
Don’t feel like you have to have all the answers to this exercise within an hour. It can be helpful to talk it over with your spouse, and even with your kids. Get their input and see what they really feel is important. It can even help to sleep on it.
Also, depending on their age, your kids may be able to pick up a task here or there that would help reduce your load. And, when your husband sees your list, oftentimes they have had no clue how much you do and may be able to either offer help or see if there are other ways to help simplify.
It has been helpful for me to do this about every six months. Perhaps each January and July, or each Spring and Fall. Or whenever the random mood strikes. It’s really nice to see your list have a few things crossed off, some things adjusted or delegated, bringing a sigh of relief, some direction, and some peace. (I originally heard about this concept from Leadership Education: The Phases of Learning)
Related Post: How to Do it All as a Mom
#3 Take Care of Yourself
One of the first things that seem to go when we become mothers is self-care. We are literally so busy caring for someone else that time to care for ourselves just goes by the wayside. That can include not getting enough sleep, not exercising, not getting dressed or our hair brushed for the day. Am I right?! Goodness, we often can’t even go to the bathroom by ourselves!
To be sure, one of the greatest blessings of motherhood is learning to be more selfless and more compassionate and more concerned for others. It requires sacrifice. And I know for sure that all of this makes us better people. But I don’t believe that in any of this, that women are meant to become doormats or non-self-existent. Selfless, yes. Sacrificing, yes. Non-self-existent, or ruining our health or well-being? No.
I know how easy it is to think, “Wow! My kids are finally asleep and even though it’s late I’m going to stay up and get some things done!!” And how quickly we find that it’s all of a sudden 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. We then go to bed exhausted but also invigorated that we finally got something done! It could have been doing something as simple as finally getting that kitchen clean! 🙂
When I was in my 20’s and 30’s, I could do this and get away with it. It seemed like a good tactic. But I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t last.
This kind of self-neglect will catch up with you. And you will be sorry. Our health can only take so much neglect.
Along with all of our service, we need to remember to do things that take care of us. We need our sleep. (As best as we can get when we have newborns, etc!) We need our nutrition. We need our cup filled. We need our dreams fueled.
So read that book. Take that nap. Go for that walk. Take that class. Go to bed (really, the dishes can wait.) We can serve better when we have a well of strength to draw from. And we will be better mothers for it.
Then when that day comes and you find yourself nearing the end of having kids in your home, not only will you have become a better person through all of your selfless service and sacrifice, you will also know who you are and like yourself. I promise these things can be done.
What things do you find helpful in your quest to get things done as a mom? I’d love to hear them!
PS: A word of caution… Sometimes it can be really difficult to carve out the time to read a book or go for a walk. Many times I would have just settled down to read, thinking I had a half hour or so, then all of a sudden a crisis would happen and I would have only gotten through one page. Boy, frustration can easily set in…
When things like this happen, try your best to feel grateful for what you did get to do, for that one page you did get to read, or that 5-minute ‘nap’ you did get to take. Be careful to not let resentment fill your heart in your efforts to have time to fill your bucket. Try to feel grateful instead, and you’ll find that these little moments add up and do indeed fill your bucket, little by little. And just keep trying. 🙂 You’re doing great, Mom!