Regardless of family size, children’s ages, or general stage of life, all moms get weary. I’m certainly no exception to that!
There’s a difference between just being a bit tired as a mom and being wearily joyless, though. I’ve felt tired and worn out, yet still happy to be at home with my children.
I’ve also sadly found myself losing joy while I’m at home with my children, fulfilling so many roles and doing more than feels humanly possible sometimes. When this happens, it’s probably because three crucial things have been pushed to the side and lost their importance in my days or weeks.
1. Quiet Downtime
I know this is easier said than done for most of us! But hear me.
After my second child was born, my husband had recently become pastor of the small church we started with friends and fellow believers. He was working his full-time job and also enrolled in graduate school to earn his master’s degree.
Busy? Yes, you could say he was busy.
And I was dealing with some horrible anger and anxiety issues nightly while ending the day for our two young children by myself. Edgy and irritable, I often felt like I couldn’t keep my composure no matter how hard I tried or how much I prayed.
Then, in an attempt to be a more involved daddy, my husband started taking our children out for “Daddy Dates” on Saturdays while I enjoyed time to myself. Though I didn’t realize it right away, that Saturday time was what pulled me from the constant, nagging feelings of I’m gonna lose it.
Now when I start to feel an irritable anxiety tugging at me, I reconsider how our schedule has been. Almost every time this has happened, I’ve missed my quiet Saturday time for a few weeks and need to recharge. Just putting those two things together often helps me regroup.
2. Sharing the Workload
Moms can be a bit, oh, shall we say, particular about how we like things done, can’t we? We rearrange the dishwasher, resort the laundry, and fiddle with the side dish an older child might help prepare. Sometimes we might even just take on the domestic workload ourselves and forget to put younger able bodies to work.
I’ve caught myself doing this on more than one occasion when I’ve realized that my joy in the home is gone.
Shockingly, my children can’t read my mind. They are more prone to forget what needs to be done and don’t feel the same sort of anxiety that I do when the floor, table, or couch is cluttered. When I start to feel frazzled about messes or jobs that need done, I have many times realized it was because I hadn’t clearly explained how I needed help.
When I stop and calmly (or as calmly as I can in the moment!) point out the clutter, messes, or jobs that are crying out for attention and specifically explain what needs done, my family can help me. Praising my children for their careful work when the jobs are done goes far to make them more apt to help the next time, as well.
It’s so important for my children and me to remember that I can’t manage an entire household by myself.
3. Laughing with My Family
A good laugh goes a long way when you’re grumpy.
Yes, there are times when I need to be alone to get my joy back. There are also times when I need tangible help around the house to feel relieved of my grumpiness.
But there have certainly been times when I just needed to choose to change the atmosphere in my home by instigating some good laughs with my family. That might mean turning on some loud super-charged bluegrass hymns and watching my little ones dance as fast as their chubby feet can move. Maybe we drop formal schoolwork for an hour and read a fun book together, play a game, or go run around outside.
When we find some way to laugh together and just enjoy each other’s company, my own reserves are fueled and I can start to feel like I actually have something to give again. It might take creativity, spontaneity, or just plain silliness, but a good giggle with the ones is my home is so very effective!
Can you recognize healthy habits that help you keep the joy in your home?
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