I love nap time. I lived for nap time.
The house was quiet and I was meeting one person’s needs. Mine.
It was heaven.
Sure, I loved my kids. A lot. But mama needs time.
I’m an introvert and need time of silence and solitude which is challenging with little kids running around. But, at the time it was what made me make it until they laid their little heads to rest. This was the pattern until they were able to, one by one attend school. Then EVERYDAY would be silence and solitude. RIght? Ha.
When our twins were 9 months old, we were called to homeschool. It was a clear calling one that may have involved tears. We were on a family vacation when the “call” came in.
I remember driving home from that vacation thinking now we need to figure out how to get along ALL day without killing each other.
The next few years I learned more than my children. The Holy Spirit discipled me. He told me of ways I was to raise our sons to be men of honor, courageous men for this world. It was a whole new language for me, a whole new world.
God sure is practical too. I learned how to work smarter not harder. Here are some of the things I learned to do so that I could maximize my down time.
Because this isn’t a tough-woman contest. This isn’t about you giving all of yourself until there is nothing left. It’s about giving life to yourself and others. It’s about living a life of joy even in the fullness of daily life.
And if you think God is expecting these unrealistic ideals from you, you are wrong. He gets it. He knows the busyness of caring for little people. He knows the needs of those around you. He knows intimately the hurts you carry, the shame, the pain, the struggle. He sees it all and wants to enter in, show you a new way, free you from all those things.
In Bubblewrap is not for people, I share that it is good, even healthy to feel things. If you are hurting, feel it. Ask God about it. He is not the one you need to present yourself perfect.
So, in the midst of busy life with littles, it’s vitally important to put the oxygen mask on yourself before placing on your kids.
Dying to self? Yes that is the way of Jesus.
But being kind to yourself is as well. Jesus took tons of time to be alone, away from crowds, with the Father. There he received his marching orders. There he learned the heart of his Father for the people around him. That was his superpower.
You won’t find that superpower looking at your social feeds during down time. I promise.
Working smarter not harder looks like getting your kids involved in your daily work.
Doing laundry today? Let them help. Let them match socks. Let them bring piles of clothes to each person’s room. Let them help you measure out the laundry soap.
Here’s the deal. You have to do this work. Why wait until they are sleeping to do it. That would NOT be maximizing your down time.
I’m sure you’ve tried doing your tasks while they play. Maybe they play for a little but as I recall, they always need you for something. This way you are together, they are “helping” and it’s keeping them occupied.
Just got back from shopping for groceries (I have tips for that, too in Grocery shopping with kids without losing your mind), let them help carry the bags in. Let them sit on the counter and separate the dairy from the veggies. Have them put the apples in a bowl for the counter.
Eventually they lost interest and headed off to play while I finished. That was fine with me.
As they got older, we had a job schedule where each child would have the same job for the month.
When they were older it looked like:
Kitchen Duty - Set the table, load and unload the dishwasher.
Garbage and recycling - Collect ALL the garbage and recycling and bring the cans outside. On garbage day they would bring the cans to the road for collection.
Laundry Duty - Fold the wash of the kids. I would do my husband and my laundry.
Vacuum the basement - Once per week they were to clean up the basement and vacuum the floors.
Please do your self a favor and teach them how to do the job the way you want it done.
This will be essential for your future sanity. Take one day a week to teach the jobs.
Teach them to collect all the garbage from the garbage cans around the house. Not just one and call it good.
To be honest, I was not great at follow through on this. My life had spun out of control with busyness that I didn’t take the time to follow up on if this was completed well.
My advice? Don’t let your life spin out of control with less important things. Do what is precious and let the rest go. Really.
As I’ve said many times, change will take time. Lots of it. It will take patience too. Lots of it.
Just do what you need to do for today. Tomorrow has enough.
Work smarter not harder by getting your kids involved in your work so you have less to do during your down time.
It gives them purpose. They learn that they are needed to run your household. They play a valuable role in making your family work. It teaches them to serve others as well.
Don’t take on too much, Mamas. Just start somewhere.
I’m cheering you on!
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