Monday, April 27, 2015

Encouragement for Tired Parents

Are you a tired parent? The tiredness is a sign you are doing it right. Good parenting is work, and work makes us tired. Most of us don't put in long, hard hours without feeling the toll on our minds, bodies, and soul. We have to recharge each one of those. 

Do you feel pulled in many directions? You've been blessed with a lot of responsibility. Prioritize, and work in order of importance. Do your best. When you get to the end of the day, take an honest look at how hard you tried and encourage and compliment yourself as you would a friend who tried their best. Take it from me, a recovering "own worst enemy," life is a lot more pleasant when we are kind to ourselves.

Do you have a long list of things that "NEED TO BE DONE RIGHT NOW?"  If they truly need to be done, God will make a way and give you the strength to do them. Believe it or not, some of those things that seem like they MUST be done have a way of working themselves off your list. 

Sometimes I still find myself stressing about things like fixing the tub leak before it ruins the floor, but then I stop. "Do I have food, clothes, and shelter for myself and my children? Yes! Then, the rest is of no consequence! God will give Clint time to fix the bathtub. Be thankful, heart!"

Do you ever feel like quitting or running and hiding? It's OK to take a day where you feel totally overwhelmed by life and STOP and REST at the feet of Jesus soaking in His Word. It is the fastest way I have found to get back to a peaceful heart and a happy normal. It's like working on a roof all day long in the hot summer sun, and then sitting down in an air conditioned room and drinking something refreshing. My time with the Lord is blessings upon blessings. I don't want it to end and can't wait to get back to it. 

If your body is weary, get some rest. When I was nursing babies and had a wide range in ages of children, I needed nap to survive the demands on my body. I'd put the littlest ones down for a short nap and make the oldest stay in their beds with books or quiet toys so I could grab some precious sleep. I felt guilty for years because I needed that nap. Silly, I know! I finally told myself it was OK because even Superman sleeps. 

If you are feeling emotionally weary, I recommend three things: Spend time with the Lord. Spend time with a godly adult who will listen and also makes you laugh. Thirdly, break the routine for a day or a weekend and make time to just ENJOY your child/children. Build with Legos. Dress the doll. Make mud pies. Describe clouds. Make silly faces in the mirror. Relax and have fun to strengthen the bond which will give you renewed commitment and strength to look after the ones you love. If you are feeling stressed, your children know it. Having fun with them is relief for them too.

Do you have so much that needs to be done that you're wondering "THERE'S SO MUCH TO DO!!! WHAT DO I DO FIRST? HOW WILL I EVER GET IT ALL DONE?" I learned when I felt like that, it was a sign I was being taken to my limits. I learned I could go further if my tank was filled and could survive the chaos of life by wearing my Ephesians armor. For what to tackle first, look your priorities and do what needs to be done soonest. Then, get busy. You won't accomplish anything by staring at it!