"I am so impatient." "I'm exhausted and so low on energy." "I feel like I'm at the end of my rope." "I don't know what to do." I've made those statements and I'm sure you have, too. I hear them from other moms all the time. The demands are draining, the responsibilities are overwhelming, and the 24-hour duty just about wipes us out. It seems we never get anything accomplished that isn't undone in an hour. So how can we make it better? How can we learn to survive this season of life when the demands of children are unending? How can we take some time for ourselves? The answer is simple, yet difficult. We ask for it and plan for it.

I've been at home now for thirteen years and I have had to learn to balance mothering with taking time for me. It's been the best lesson I have ever learned. I have learned to do it on a daily, weekly, and even annual basis, and I know I've become a better mother because of it. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Daily:

  • Use naptimes. Use a designated portion of that naptime for you (not laundry, housework, meals, etc). Read a book, soak in a bubble bath, take a nap, write in your journal, sit out on the porch, spend time doing devotions, do something that will fill you up. If you're like me, its difficult to do such activities with toys all over the living room, laundry piled a mile high, and breakfast dishes still on the table, but you can learn to leave those until after you've taken some time for yourself. You'll be surprised how much you actually get accomplished after you do something that fills you up.
  • Use rest times. If your children are past the nap stage, then an afternoon rest time is essential. If you haven’t taught your children the importance of taking time for themselves, now is the time to start. This gives you time to recoup from the hectic morning activities and regroup for the afternoon and evening yet to come.
  • Regular, early bedtimes. When the kids are in bed by 8:00 or 8:30 it still allows for time in the evening before it's too late.


Weekly:

  • Trade with a friend. Pick one day a week to trade sitting. One Tuesday you watch her kids and the next Tuesday she watches yours.
  • Organize a ladies night out. Pie and coffee one night a week will help you get in touch with other women again.
  • Plan a regular moms night out. Set aside one night a week that you and your husband decide is mom's night. You can depend on it and use it any way you want.
  • Attend a local mothers group. Call 309-888-MOMS to find a moms group in your area.


Annually:

  • Have a slumber party for some friends. Ask Dad if he will take the kids to Grandma's or to a hotel so you have use of the house.
  • Do a get-away weekend alone. Sometimes its nice just to be somewhere quiet. You can get caught up on photo albums, set some goals, read a book, or just watch movies to your heart's content.
  • Plan an annual get-away weekend alone or with a friend or group of friends to a Hearts at Home Conference. Call 309-888-MOMS or check out www.hearts-at-home.org.

Elisa Morgan writes in her book "What Every Mom Needs", "We have to learn to help ourselves. We have to learn to ask. Directly, by using words. No one can read your mind. No one is going to waltz in, recognize your predicament, and save you."

Do you need to take some time for yourself? It's time to ask, plan, and proceed. You'll be glad you did. Your family will be glad, too!

Jill Savage lives with her husband and four children in Normal, Illinois. She is the founder and director of Hearts at Home, an organization designed to encourage, educate, and equip mothers at home. Jill is also the author of Professionalizing Motherhood. To get more information about Hearts at Home call 309-888-MOMS or visit the website at www.hearts-at-home.org.

Purchase Jill's book at CBD

Copyright 2001 Hearts at Home. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.