When you have little ones, finding rest as a mom can seem like a far-off dream. There is the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that can cause moms to feel as though they are worn down with little left to give. Someone always needs something, and many times, the last thing moms get is a little time of peace and quiet.
Different seasons of motherhood can bring about different feelings of exhaustion. When my children are sick and I am up most of the night tending to them, I am physically exhausted.
There are also times, I realize I am needing mental rest. From the constant training, teaching, and chattering, our minds do need time to rest and replenish. Over time, I have come to realize that finding rest is vital to my well-being as a mama and it is possible to achieve.
As you think about creating space for rest, I encourage you to consider these five things:
You Must Have a Plan For Finding Rest As a Mom For it To Actually Happen
It sounds silly, but I literally had to start scheduling it in my calendar. If it’s not in my planner, it doesn’t exist.
My goal for most days, is to have two hours of rest when my youngest naps, while my older two are still at school. During this time, I rest, write, shower, etc.
Whatever I do, I make sure it is something that will refresh me. This is not the time of the day when I fold laundry or clean up; those things can wait. Depending on the day, I may need something different so I play this by ear. I also have time in the evenings to watch TV, relax with my husband, make time for friendships, and write.
One Size Does Not Fit All When It Comes to Rest As a Mom
What I discussed above is what works best for me. For you, it might be taking half an hour to meditate, or journal, before your family wakes for the day. It might be your lunch break, when you sneak off to your car with a good book. We are all different, and that means that our batteries are recharged in different manners.
By nature, I am not someone who craves a good nap. I will lie down for twenty minutes, and then feel ready to move on. Instead of napping, I would much rather read or watch a quick show.
My husband, on the other hand, loves a good nap, and I know it is beneficial for him to have these on occasion. One of my good friends goes to the gym when she needs a pick-me-up. While it is a physical activity, it is providing rest for her mental and emotional state of mind. (While I dread running, I do find it to be mind-freeing, to just focus on the music and nothing else.) Figure out what kind of rest you will most benefit from, and then do it.
As moms, it is very seldom that we can be selfish about anything. Give yourself this time to make yourself happy, even if it’s only 10-15 minutes, as you can.
Your Children Need To See Mom Taking Care of Herself
Children are quick learners, and we are their first teachers. They constantly pick up on our behaviors and mannerisms.
I want my children to see me having joy in life. I want them to see me taking the time to rest. Since I am well-rested, when I can be, my children will witness me keeping a level-head and reacting more rationally when things get hectic, or if something goes wrong. They will observe that I am more patient with them, and with myself. If there is one gift that I can give my children, it would be for them to see them the way I see them, and to value themselves as much as I value them. They are a piece of me… so if I am not valuing myself and making myself a priority, it speaks volumes.
When our children observe us taking care of ourselves, it implants that into their lives as an important value.
Show the Same Kindness to Yourself That You Want Your Children to Embrace
I know it sounds corny, but the resounding truth is that kids see through everything. If you don’t love yourself, they will pick up on it. You deserve that self-love as well as time for yourself, you amazing, warrior mama! What you do every day, nurturing and teaching a vulnerable soul, loving them unconditionally, is completely selfless and beautiful.
Moms and women in general are constantly compared to one another: whether we work outside of the house, stay home and raise children, or work from home (I have done all three, and all three are challenging in their own ways–all moms deserve a high five and chocolate!).
The media and society in general are hard on women when it comes to looks, and trying to “have it all”. This is not the time to put any sort of guilt trip on yourself, comparing what refills your bucket to the next person, or anything else for that matter! As parents, we are all on our own journey, and it will look different from the mom who travels next to us. We need to lift ourselves(and each other) up!
Things To Try If It’s Hard To Find Time For Yourself
I get it. The words sound pretty, but sometimes it’s not realistic to find rest as a mom. There are ways to find that time for yourself, though!
If you can, either wake up before your family does, or stay up a little bit later than everyone else to find that time for yourself.
Barter childcare/playdates with family or friends. If you have involved grandparents or other family members, don’t feel bad asking for help from time to time! It’s a win-win for everyone, your kids will be able to make treasured memories with loved ones, and you will get a well-deserved break.
You can also, take advantage of community education events through your local school district for cheap and fun ways for kids to try out new activities, and then head to Starbucks for a coffee with a book, while you wait! Even if it’s not every day, find a couple times within the week to do something nice for yourself.
It might not be easy ,but anything worth doing takes work. You have to keep your own bucket full if you are going to keep pouring…
More Parenting Cyber Water Cooler Talk
Parenting can feel lonely sometimes, but it doesn’t have to! Join our online community for supportive feedback from others, and check out these articles that might be of interest:
- Mommy Time Outs Need to Be a Thing… Especially if You;re Chronically Ill
- Take Care of Yourself First (& Be a Better Mom!)
- Science Says U.S. Moms Are the Most Stressed, And We’re Not Surprised
Do you have a regular plan for rest?