It’s Okay to Feel Tired and Worn – Mom Exhaustion

mom exhaustion

“I’m tired I’m worn, my heart is heavy. From the work it takes, to keep on breathing.” If this Tenth Avenue North song doesn’t sum up so many days of motherhood, I don’t know what does! Moms, I want you to know…it’s okay to be tired and worn. It’s okay to need a day off, to need a mental and physical break from caring for your children.

Are you tired and worn? Being a mom is tough

Mothering is a 24/7 job. We care for them while they are awake, worry about them while they are asleep, and are constantly wanting to better them, help them, love them, and prepare them. It’s what we do. It’s how God created us. We are after-all nurturers, and caregivers by design. But is it okay to be totally burnt out and desperately needing a break?

Mom guilt can creep in when you aren’t looking, making you feel like a failure for feeling so completely beat-up. But here’s a little secret….we ALL feel that way!

mom exhaustion

As a stay at home mom to five children, who homeschooled for four years, I can tell you with 100% certainty that mothers do not get sick days. We are on call, on duty, at all times. Even when dad has the kids, we can’t escape those text messages asking what they can eat (ummm ask Dad, he’s the one who is actually home!), the phone calls, FaceTime’s, etc.

It’s wonderful to feel needed, but goodness it can get really burdensome when we ourselves feel like we need some TLC.

Mom’s need a Sabbath day. Moms need to have time to rest and recharge. An actual day of rest, and retreat. While I love going to church with my family on Sunday’s, I personally do not find Sunday to be a day of rest. It’s a day to get people ready, dressed up, put together, fed and out the door by a certain time. Then when we return from church I have to quickly change and whip-up lunch. It’s exhausting! If Sunday’s are exhausting for you too, a Sabbath day of rest should be created on a separate day of the week.

Mother's Day, What Moms Really Want

It seems unlikely you are going to get a full day of rest once a week, but you should at least get a few hours of mental rest at least once a week to save your sanity. Creating this time for yourself will help you and your family to be better off. As the one who nurtures and helps develop character in your children, how can you possibly do that when your nerves are worn and completely shot?

Creating time will create peace within you, which will in turn create peace within your home.

tho other day I

Ways For Mom to Create Time For Rest

  1. Schedule with dad to take the kids out (or in depending on what you want to do) for a few hours each week.
  2. Hire a babysitter for an afternoon, morning, evening, sometime where you can just chill, work on a project, read, or do whatever you want.
  3. Ask the grandparents to help with the kids.
  4. Trade time with a friend. Take turns watching eachother’s kids so you each get some time off.
  5. Get up early, before the kids, to do a devotion, exercise, etc.
  6. If you homeschool, or have kids who are home 24/7, create a quiet time every day, despite how old they are. Take this time to recharge and unwind. Even if it’s just an hour a day, it’s your  hour to do whatever you need to do.

Remember to care for yourself half as much as you care for everyone else. It’s so easy to worry about everyone but yourself and neglect your own needs, but that will eventually catch up with you. And catch up with the whole family. Create time to relieve some mom exhaustion and recharge your batteries.

One last thought….as moms it is so easy to cross the line from mothering well, to making our children idols in our lives. Making them have quiet time so you can have devotion time, or prayer time, shows them that God is the most important person in your life…not them. And while that can be so hard for us to do, it is completely healthy for them to understand that they aren’t #1. Seeing you pray, read the Bible, and worship God, will also be something they will want to model as well. Putting God first in your life, and creating time for Him, will help them to draw nearer to Him as well.

Making Summer Memories On a Tight Budget

Fun Summer Activities on a Tight Budget

Summer is in full swing, and if you are like me, you are probably trying to create lasting memories with your kids.  Afterall, we have only what, like 18 summers with them before they leave the house! Having a tight budget can make it can seem impossible. I have spent so much time thinking of all of the awesome things we could do, if only we had money. But then, one day it hit me.

There are tons of things we can do together, without spending much of anything.

Being a mom on FaceBook during the summertime can be especially interesting. If you weren’t battling with jealousy issues prior to the start of summer….you probably are now! I have seen so many awesome vacation pictures, fun camping trips, road trips, amusement park adventures, etc. etc. But you know what memories I love the best from our past summers (that have included great vacations)? Those of the kids picking strawberries, going to the creek to fish, dancing in the rain, going on a hike, catching lightning bugs… I realized that the most fun, biggest memory making adventures we have had seem to involve things you simply cannot buy. So I have created a little list of fun things to do on a tight budget.

strawberry picking

15 Things To Do In The Summer On A Tight Budget

  1. Scavenger hunt in your neighborhood (or local park)
  2. Catch lightning bugs! Just do it.
  3. Go fishing, or at least use nets and try to catch tadpoles
  4. Pick fruit…strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.
  5. Go for a hike
  6. Local library summer reading program
  7. Go outside and have a painting party as you paint what you see
  8. Family movie night
  9. Have a sleepover with friends
  10. Pick flowers
  11. Gardening
  12. Ride bikes, rollerblade, scooter, just get out there and go!
  13. Have a yard sale, and let the kids make money selling their things
  14. Make jam or jelly
  15. Let the kids learn photography basics

Don’t let your lack of money, stop you from having a great time with your kids this summer. We only have a limited number of summers to create lasting memories with our kids. Take advantage of each one, despite your situation and get outside and have some fun. There are many things we as moms can regret and dwell on over the years….but no one ever regrets spending time with their kids. Make the memories, and catch those lightning bugs.

Finding Joy in the Really Hard – When Fear and Anger Rise, Joy Can Overcome

Find JOY When the Hard Comes...

There are times in our lives, when it feels like the darkness is closing in, and nothing will ever be beautiful again. Life is hard. Life is a struggle and sometimes we are faced with circumstances we could not have predicted, and fear and anger run rampant. But joy… Joy is seeing God for who He is, despite your situation.

Joy is the yearning for more of Him, and less of this world. Joy comes in seeing the things of God, from learning more about God, and from diving deeper into your relationship with Him. When the really hard comes knocking at your door, turn to joy, not fear.

We have had our share of hard… one of our children had to have surgery when he was eleven months old. It was a bad hernia that had to be repaired. We were terrified leading up to his surgery, and especially the morning of. As we let him go into the arms of the nurse who would take him to the O.R., we prayed God would protect him. Little did we know, God was at work, but not in the way we ever would have predicted.

Praying for Grace

Our son suffered at the hands of his surgeon, and because of it, he will forever be physically altered. When you have a doctor tell you that the surgeon did not do a good job, and also did a few things wrong you feel incredibly vulnerable, angry and extremely sad. Our baby needed a second surgery, which helped some things, but also showed us that what had happened was permanent, and irreversible. He was damaged, and we couldn’t fix it. As a mom, and a “fixer”, knowing this, was just heartbreaking.  We decided to seek professional counsel and though we didn’t find an attorney to take our case, I felt this burning drive to fight for my son.

While I was fighting for some justice for him, God was working. While I was battling hate, anger and guilt, God was working. While I was feeling helpless and thinking my sons life would be complicated and maybe even painful because of this doctor, God was working. And a settlement did come…without and attorney.

You see, God doesn’t take a back seat approach and give us directions only before we are about to fall off a cliff. He actually orchestrates the moments in our lives to bring about good to those who love Him.

Not only did He do just that in our case, but He also provided 13 children with life changing surgery because of it. A surgery which cost us so much, was used to provide for those who have so little. We decided to tithe on the money right when it came, to thank God for what He did by giving us a victory, even without an attorney. When I realized what He had done, and what He allowed me to do (I had written a prayer to Him, one year earlier asking Him to provide for us, so we could give to Cure), the joy was literally overwhelming.

Sometimes it takes stepping back, looking at what is, and what was and saying “thank you!” God is at work in your life, even when it’s hard, and even at times that feel so dark and lonely. He is there, holding you, working out things for your good, even though you can’t see it.

But hold on…because when you do see what He has done, it will overwhelm you with his tender mercy and love. Finding joy in the hard is not impossible, but it does take work. Forcing your mind and heart to focus on God, and not circumstances can be a great habit to form. It can be so hard to see outside of the present situation, but God is for you, not against you, and He will work this hard out for your good.

JOY in the hard times

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon – Finger Licking Good!

Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Recipe

Brussels sprouts and the term “finger licking good” wouldn’t normally be paired in the same sentence together…but these brussels sprouts are most definitely that. My husband even liked them…like he actually ate them and wanted more. He does NOT like brussels sprouts or any member of the cabbage family. He said if you add maple syrup and bacon to just about anything, I’ll eat it! So there you have it. These are so good, husbands will even eat them.

I decided to make these for Mother’s Day. My mom loves cabbage and brussels sprouts are one of her favorites. My niece is an abnormal eater…and adores brussels sprouts and asparagus. My own children wouldn’t even consider eating this. But their loss.

Brussels sprouts and bacon

Brussels Sprouts with Maple Syrup and Bacon

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 lbs brussels sprouts cut in half (we made a large batch, you can easily cut this in half)
  • 3/4 C olive oil
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • 1 package of bacon, raw and sliced into 1/2- 1 inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large glass baking dish add sprouts. In a bowl mix the olive oil and syrup, and then pour over sprouts, evenly coating them all. Add bacon and mix well. Top with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered for an hour (until the bacon is a bit crispy and the sprouts are soft and tender).

Brussels Sprouts and bacon recipe

5 Tips to a Better After School Routine – Reducing the Chaos and Creating Order

After School Routine - turning chaos into order

There is something so insanely stressful about a bunch of kids coming through the front door, throwing backpacks everywhere, kicking off their shoes, all at once telling you the good and bad of their days and reaching for snacks and drinks. Meanwhile….I’m over here like, “Don’t touch that!”  “I just vacuumed that!”  “I can’t hear you over your sister.” “What did you say?” “Don’t eat that, I’m about the make dinner!”

How can this chaotic, loud, and messy after school scene be made a little bit less stressful? Preparation!  Preparing your heart, body, life, and schedule to fit around the after school routine can make it seem so much more doable. Sometimes this is literally impossible. Working moms may feel like they so wish they could be there for the after school time, but for those of us who are there to welcome the little cherubs home, here are a few tips to make it go smoothly.

Creating order after school - 5 Tips to Going from Chaos to Order After School

5 Tips to a Better After School Routine – Creating Order

  1. Give yourself 15-20 minutes of time BEFORE they come home, to just decompress. This could be as simple as having a cup of coffee, doing a devotion, or sitting on the couch and staring blankly at the wall.
  2. Have dinner thought out, made up, or start to prepare it ahead of time. Otherwise you will be trying to cook, cleanup, talk to the kids, and get ready for the evening’s activities all at once. This can make for a cranky mom, and cranky kids.
  3. Create a designated spot for backpacks, shoes, coats, paperwork, homework, etc. to go. You can turn your hall closet into an organized place where all of this happens, with bins for homework, a basket for shoes, hooks for backpacks. Or you can use really any place in the house you think would work, in order to give everything it’s place. When you have multiple kids, with multiple backpacks, coats, etc. it just gets so disorderly, so quickly. Having a place to keep everything nice and tidy helps the kids to know exactly where to put things, and keeps the house from being ripped apart  the moment they walk through the door.
  4. Know the schedule for the evening, and post it for all to see. We use a chalkboard in our kitchen to keep everyone on the same page. I usually write out the night before what the next day will be like. This way the kids know what to expect. Do we have a doctor appointment? Are we picking up their cousin? Does one of the kids have an activity? What’s for dinner? All of this is on the board, so we can all be on the same page.
  5. Prepare snacks in bags, or bowls ahead of time. When the kids finally get home from a long day of school, being good, working hard, and barely eating, they are ravenous! Unless you want them to eat an entire bag of chips while watching Jessie, it’s best to have apples sliced, crackers bagged, and everything ready to go. This also reduces the amount of people who will rip apart the kitchen trying to find snacks, and they won’t be fighting over the same bag of treats.
5 Tips for a better after school routine