Homeschooling takes a lot of time and energy output. Is child-raising supposed to take this much effort? I am too tired!
I so understand! Tiredness seems to be every mother’s companion. I think it is very natural to feel exhausted and want to rest.
Young mothers are often morning sick, pregnant, recovering from childbirth, nursing, taking care of childhood illness and getting very little sleep. It is easy to feel “too tired” to do the job of training and schooling children, too!
When I was a middle aged mother, I felt the task intensify as I had a 20 year old son and a brand new baby, with children all ages between. Teens needed me to listen to them, to provide activities, to mentor them, and help them with their projects, help them learn how to negotiate the world, find jobs, get into college. Yet, babies needed me to nurse them, stay at home, nurture and be a full-time mom. I felt stretched thinner than a pancake.
Now I am an “old” mother, I guess. The majority of my children are in college or married. I have grandbabies too. At times, I look yearningly at the bed and think it would be wonderful to climb in.
Thankfully, even though we are “too tired”, God helps us keep going. We feel in our hearts that this job is ours. Our love for our children keeps us going too. We want the best for them, even if it takes personal sacrifice. Thank goodness for these strengthening influences! The work of training and raising good children is so much easier, and takes so much less effort, than the work of “patching up” a missed opportunity to train a child in the right way.
Now, how to overcome that tiredness that seems to plague all mothers engaged in the rigorous work of raising children?
1) Protect your own health
Get enough sleep (as much as possible with little ones who wake up at night), don’t eat junk food, get some exercise every day. It is possible to exercise even with very little time: grab a 2 lb. bag of beans for each hand, and walk, jog, or dance in place while your children watch an educational video—you can get 1/2 hour workout while you are supervising and commenting!
2) Take refreshment
I’m not talking about chocolate here (although that works too!). Sitting and watching a fountain, taking a nap, picking flowers and arranging them in a vase, taking 5 minutes and listening to a favorite song—these nourishing activities can give you mind ease and help you not feel so tired. Anything that breaks the routine, sets the mind to not thinking or working so hard, and rests the body qualifies for refreshment. Even 10 minutes of refreshment every few hours can make a big difference in your day. I used to hang my washed clothes on an outdoors clothesline when I had many young children. It gave me an excuse to go outside, and enjoy being alone for a few moments. If all else fails, keep a magazine or book in the bathroom, lock the door, set the timer, and take your break.
3) Drink from the well of living water
Reading the scriptures as a very revitalizing effect on a mother’s weariness. The Spirit renews our heart. We can more clearly see our purpose and the grand work we are engaged in, in bearing and rearing our children. I think tiredness can stem from lack of vision. Remembering that raising children is the most important work in the world can better fit us for the task. “He restoreth my soul” (Psalms 23:3).
4) Have a project going
I know you feel too tired already, but I have found it very necessary and very energizing to have my very own project going, that I can look forward to and enjoy the accomplishment of doing even if it is just a 1/2 hour here and there. Choose scrapbooking, sewing, reading classics, writing poetry, gardening, doing crafts, emailing, making candles, cooking something gourmet, . . . choose anything that uses your creativity and renew you. (Beware of the temptation to stay up way too late to do your project which I do more often than I care to admit!)
5) Do a comparison
I know we are told not to compare ourselves, but this is one instance that comparing really sweeps all the “tiredness” away. Look around and find someone who is not very well off. Now, make a phone call, pay that person a visit, look for a service you can render to them, or make some food to take over to their house. Even if you cannot do anything more than a phone call, talking to them helps you feel what it would be like to have their problems and walk in their shoes. This type of comparing puts our own problems quickly into perspective and makes us thankful we have our own life, tiring as it may be!
6) Don’t forget your Friday night date!
Every married couple needs to go on a weekly date. It is essential for building your marriage, and for giving mother that vital break from routine. Once you get in the habit, you will start to look forward to it all week long. It doesn’t have to be costly. When I had a new baby, we would take the baby asleep in the car seat and go through a drive through to get dinner. Then we’d go to a park where we could pull our car up nearby and be able to listen for the baby while we had a picnic. Just not having to cook on Friday night, and having a break from the responsibility and hubbub of a house full of children, is a great relief that I count days waiting for each week. I know there are challenges: babysitter, lack of money, little ones that don’t want you to leave, etc. But it is essential for keeping mom from burnout.
7) Keep a gratitude list
This is not a journal, and doesn’t take much time. It is just a list. Everyday, you write the date and then get to pick 3-5 things you are grateful for and write them on the list. It takes a few seconds, but it focuses your mind on the good things in life. Some days I have had to scrape to find even 3 things to add! Other days, I easily can find an abundance. I glance back over my list too, and notice that the things that make me happy are simple: flowers, playing with my kids, trees, a sunset, my soft carpet, a cozy nightgown, not being sick, etc.
Being mother is quite a demanding job and tiredness seems to be a constant companion. But this job of mothering and educating them is short lived. If you do it well, you will work yourself out of job in less than two decades—which is far less than most men in their careers! What better thing could we expend our time and energy on than the character and education of our children!?
May the Lord bless us all to be up to the task!
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