What Keeps Moms From Getting Enough Rest?

What Keeps Moms From Getting Enough Rest? // jessconnell.com

I recently asked over 1,000 women:

“What things keep you from getting the soul and body rest you know you need?”

Here’s a selection of the answers:

  • Laundry, dirty bottles, teething babies and an injured hubby.  :-)
  • I constantly put high expectations on myself and convince myself that I can do all things. It’s a battleground and something that I have to repent of over and over. I have often gotten severely sick because I push so hard instead of trusting and resting in the Lord.
  • I wake up early for “me” time, have a nap every afternoon, and go to bed fairly early.  If I don’t do these things, it doesn’t take long before I become very frazzled and stressed, and probably sick.
  • My barrier to getting rest is my to do list. I love checking things off far too much. I need to care less about my list when I know it’s time to rest and care more about obeying God’s word to REST.
  • The thing that really makes me not get the rest I need is the busyness of life.  I have 4 1/2 children and just started homeschooling my oldest who is 9.  I often get so entrapped in my domesticated duties.
  • I think my biggest obstacle to resting is my own ambition.  I want to get so much done in a day. Sometimes that isn’t possible. I am having to learn to let my expectation to come from God (what He needs me to do in a given day) and to yield my expectations and the pressure that one feels to keep up with the world’s pace.
  • Another thing that is too stressful is lots of trips out with the family. It messes up the schedule, and is over tiring for everyone.
  • We were way over-committed to outside activities as a family.  …We implemented [a] reduced-load early this summer, and just having more margin on non-Sabbath days made it much easier to rest on a day of rest.  I think it’s similar to how kids don’t sleep as well if they’re over-tired – we can’t rest as well if we’re overtaxed. Next, I needed to have better pacing on day-to-day things.  If I felt good, I’d try to do everything that day, and inevitably be unproductive the next day.  Boom or bust.
  • The pursuit of perfection.  Only God is perfect and His power is perfect in my weakness.  He doesn’t need my strength to power through my to do list, which was totally coming before Him in my life.  God needs my obedience in all things and resting in Him is what I am commanded to do.
  •  1. A desire to please man rather than God
    2. Failure to correctly count the costs of the activities filling my calendar.
    3. Unwillingness to say no to great things that just don’t fit into the time I have been given
    4. Failure to plan for margin

Through everyone’s answers ran two major themes:

  • high self-expectations/a desire for perfection, and
  • too many things on our plates. 

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I also asked them to share how they proactively rest and recharge. Here are some of those answers:

“I have basically zero commitments during the week, but that does not mean I get to rest unless I intentionally do it, with 2 young children at home and 2 in school full time.  I do have quiet time every afternoon, provided the baby cooperates, during the week.  Furthermore, we enforce a fairly early bedtime for all children so that my husband and I can have time to rest and enjoy each other in the evening before going to bed for about 2 hours.  I get up very early so that I can be up before everyone else.  This is my time for me (exercising, devos, odd jobs that I CAN’T get done with people around!).

I also plan meals ahead of time (usually) so that I have all the ingredients on hand before the weekend hits (I usually do a weekly Friday morning shopping trip).  I also have a baking day once a week so that I have things in my freezer.  Meals are very simple on the weekend.  We have soup at least once, which has been made during the week.  That way we plan ahead and are doing minimal meal prep on the weekend.  I also don’t do laundry on the weekend, but do a load a day (sometimes more, if there is bedding to wash) during the week.

So, basically, I have one weekend a month where I’m free from commitments, and the rest of the time, I make weekends as easy for us as possible by planning ahead: no laundry, no big grocery shopping trips, little to no meal prep.  And during the week I have basically zero commitments and I wake up early for “me” time, have a nap every afternoon, and go to bed fairly early.  If I don’t do these things, it doesn’t take long before I become very frazzled and stressed, and probably sick.”

Another offered this list:
1. Plan an hour of quiet time a day and preferably have several days a week that have one hour available. (This gives me time to unwind and actually sleep or just to truly relax without watching the clock)
2. Plan enough overnight rest. I may only need 7-8 hours of sleep but I also have “overhead tasks” that help me get a better rest in this time period.
3. Strive to keep Sunday afternoon free for a long nap.

Careful planning ahead of time, and careful consideration of commitments, seemed to be the most common ways we moms provide “margin” for ourselves and get enough time to care for ourselves amidst the hustle and bustle of caring for others.

IN THE COMMENTS, PLEASE SHARE:
How would you add to these observations and this list?
What keeps YOU from getting the rest you know you need?
How do you care for your own real needs?

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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4 Responses

  1. Emily Jensen says:

    This hits home today, as I’m battling illness. I can totally relate to these – it’s hard to get the daily rest I need because my expectations are really high and I’m often over-committed. It’s been so nice to take it easy and slow down (even though my body doesn’t feel well) – it’s like balm for my soul.

    Thanks for your continued encouragement!

  2. Esther says:

    I fully agree with the importance of getting enough rest & caring for our needs as moms. For me, it’s about making time & space for the things I enjoy – getting outdoors for a walk in the woods, having my quiet time in the morning before everyone else is up, going out with friends for coffee or dinner, etc. These are the things that fuel my soul and help me stay sane. For a long time, I didn’t see the importance of these things, and I struggled as a mom because I was always giving but never getting filled up.

  3. Rachel says:

    Being pregnant with baby #6 at age 40 has me getting rest whenever I can take it. That means staying home a lot (church, groceries, an occasional library trip and that’s about it), getting to bed as soon as the kids are in, and also taking a nap each day. If I don’t do those things, then I don’t have the energy to make meals, do the dishes and keep up on the other household tasks. It’s not worth it if I don’t get enough rest, I’ve had to learn over time. Growing a perfect little baby is hard work!

  1. May 23, 2016

    […] And God uses each one of them to grace the world, and to change my heart in unique ways. I’m so thankful for them! Even with the tantrums and the noise and exhaustion. […]

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