Mommy Burnout: A Real Reality

25
Jul
2016

Mommy Burnout: A Real Reality

I thought the day was starting out like all others, but shortly after I was up last Friday morning, my reality began to disintegrate. I read this article written by blogging friend Kelly Richards over at Mrs. Disciple and it resonated with me. I felt like summer break was eating me alive this year, and I have only one child at home that I am responsible to supervise. {By the way, if you don’t follow Kelly’s blog, do it today – it will refresh you, inspire you, and give you hope!}

I read the article and my heart sank. I was tired – well, actually beat down exhausted. I sat back with another warm cup of coffee and read through some of God’s word and was met with:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:2-5

Oh my, it spoke to me as I was feeling weary. I was trying to manage on my own strength, yet once again. I needed to ask Him for His strength and to show me His plan for my day.

I had been in a three week period of travel – which can be good, exciting, and fun, but for me as an introvert, it can put me in overdrive and exhaust my soul. I was spending some days as a single parent while my husband was gone working out of town, which is not unusual (I experience this weekly) – but the combination of travel, caring for my family on my own, managing my household, two homebased businesses, going through a second round of the 21 Day Sugar Detox, and having recently sold our home and starting the process of selling a majority of our personal belongings had my head spinning, my heart aching, and honestly, I was on overload with nothing left to give.

I had yelled at my son the day before and we cried. I didn’t want a repeat of that day, and I knew my patience had not been magically restored. I needed rest.

I posted this on my personal Facebook page Friday morning, in desperation of sharing that I was struggling to get some prayer but also to be genuine and honest with those in my influence to show that we all end up burned out when we don’t take care of ourselves.

My Mommy Burnout

I felt relieved sharing. I was encouraged by so many wonderful words, and also the comments by other moms who were experiencing the same thing. It’s community – if we don’t share all aspects of our life, we can easily be seen as perfect or fake. I never want to be seen as either.

So what did I do to bring a turn around? Here are a few simple things I did that I hope can encourage you when Mom Burnout arrives, because it will. We all are guilty of burning the candle at both ends, allowing our to-do list to run our days, over-committing, and losing our patience. But mama, there is hope and restoration.

Get in the Word

I spent the morning reading my Bible, catching up on some devotional material, and journaling. I rarely set the time aside to do more than 15-30 minutes, so this filled a hole in my soul.

Easy Meals

Since it was just my son and I, meal preparation was simple for the day and I tool advantage of it. I blended one of his favorite smoothies up and he had that for breakfast. It took three minutes and he was happy! We had leftovers for lunch and I threw in some chicken breast in the Instant Pot for dinner. It didn’t matter that they were frozen solid – that is the beauty of the Instant Pot!

Declare a Jammie Day

Yep, I didn’t get out of my pajamas and neither did my son. It was glorious and refreshing. I snuggled in my bed all day and my son snuggled on the sofa and watched an overload of Winnie the Pooh, Veggie Tales, and Tarzan. I watched HGTV, read, texted some friends, used a lot of essential oils to support my rocky emotions, and just plain had no agenda. It was perfect.

Be Honest

I shared with friends how I was struggling, but I shared with my son – I was having a rough mommy day and you know what it helped each of us. I told him I needed to rest, I could really use his cooperation, and that tomorrow would be a new day. It is amazing how when we are honest and vulnerable, especially with our kids, how it can be transformational.

And you know what? God brought a new day and new energy to my worn out body the next morning!

So how’s your summer going?  

Are you surviving?  

Are you on the verge?  

Don’t wait until you are completely worn out – please, set aside your own day to “reset” and “restore”. I can see how it works much better to be proactive than wait until you are forced to do it.

I will be evaluating my expectations during this transitional season. I am not Super-Mom and I never want to be mistaken for one. Please know, you are not alone when you struggle and feel like a failure. It’s when we fail that we truly see how much we need a Savior to help restore and redeem our life.

Sanity Saving Family Road Trip Tips

5
Jul
2016

Sanity Saving Family Road Trip Tips

We just returned from an amazing road trip through Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and Salt Lake City to the Young Living Convention and we could not have done it without a few goodies that we took along for the ride.

I’ve taken road trips before – but this one was by far one of the better ones, and I attribute it to the supplies which helped keep us sane!

I do have to share this amazing photo in the Grand Tetons. We stopped at Jackson Lake Lodge for lunch and were met with this amazing view!

View at Jackson Lake Lodge

Okay, now for the road trip tips!

Have a Car Bucket

This may seem old hat for some, but we needed a “throw-up bucket” for our trip because my son’s tummy can get a bit queasy. We were thankful we didn’t need it for any of the tummy queasiness, but it worked fabulously for a trash can. We could easily toss things in, empty it out, even rinsing it if things spilled. A true lifesaver!

Activities

Melissa & Doug Activity BookI am still the old fashioned mom who rarely lets her child watch endless movies on the road. Our guy was limited to one movie a day, so that left a lot of time to listen to music, chat, or do activities. Here were a few that kept him busy and happy (which is a big bonus) – Hidden Pictures Discovery Activity ZoneMelissa & Doug Water WOW Coloring Book – Animals, and National Geographic Kids Cool Animals Sticker Book.

Diffuser

I love my essential oils, and diffusing some Stress Away in the car is divine for everyone! I purchased two of these mini diffusers and they worked like a charm and I loved the compact size. They were easy to have out of the way and no spills!

Cooler

Coleman 40 Quart PowerChill(TM) Thermoelectric CoolerWe normally take a portable cooler in the car and have ice in it, but this time we decided to purchase an electric cooler and it was SO MUCH BETTER! We purchased this Coleman 40 Quart PowerChill(TM) Thermoelectric Cooler after my husband did some research and it was one of the best investments. We even were able to use this in our hotel room as well because it has dual adaptors for car outlets and electrical outlets. This saved us money because we were easily able to keep snack items cold and accessible.

Easy Packing

I purchased some new packing accessories before our trip and they were great. I needed a new toiletry bag that kept items upright and also completely closed, but was roomy enough for all my items. I found this Travel Toiletry Organizing Bag met my needs great. I loved that it had wonderful ratings. I used it throughout my trip and am really happy with it. In the months to come we will be doing more traveling and I will need to have a sturdy and durable toiletry bag.

I also purchased some Shacke Pak – 4 Set Packing Cubes on the advice of a friend and these were Shacke Pak - 4 Set Packing Cubes - Travel Organizers with Laundry Bagthe bomb! I loved that I could pack clothes I wouldn’t be needing for the first part of my trip inside the larger cubes and have them set aside in my suitcase. I didn’t have to weed through clothes, it was easy to be organized, and it kept my clothes neat and tidy. I used several smaller cubes for my son’s underwear and socks, which always seem to end up everywhere in his suitcase, so it was a relief when this system worked like magic.

Road trips can often times put FEAR into us moms – but let me just say, these tips were so great! We managed a 10-day road trip and we all still really liked each other at the end of it!

Here we are at Yellowstone, one of my favorite places in the park – the Grand Canyon area.

Us at Yellowstone
Do you have any road trips planned this summer?

Simple Ways to Have Fun with Your Kids

13
Jun
2016

Simple Ways to Have Fun with Your Kids

I admit it. I am not really a fun mom. I can easily get caught up in the tasks of motherhood and forget to enjoy the journey. I will often think having fun and being silly is a big waste of time.

This summer I am trying to let my silly side out a bit more. I want to laugh more, to relax more, and find joy in the simple things. An area I need to be more intentional in is activities with my family, especially my six year old. I do love the activities planned in the Summer Survival Calendar, but some days I just need a bit more fun. Do you agree?

So I sat down and gathered up some ideas of how I can be the FUN mom rather than the boring mom this summer. Maybe something in this list will resonate with you too.

Do a Messy Craft

I actually did this a few weeks back. I found a pottery wheel on our local Buy Nothing group and was given it. I had no idea how messy of a project this would be, however my six year old had a blast with it. He got dirty, molded different figurines, and ended up in the bathtub at the end. We still have those clay figures and it’s a reminder to me to relax and do the messy stuff too!

Look Through Old Photos or Videos

I think everyone enjoys taking time to remember past experiences from our life or even just how we looked. When I grab the iPad and we go “reminiscing” through photos, we all laugh, sometimes we cry, and best of all we get connected together in a new way.  

Washing the Car

This could almost fit into my “messy craft” idea. It’s not a craft, but you can certainly get messy! On a hot summer day, why not let everyone get wet while doing a job that needs to get done? Who cares if there are streaks on the car and it doesn’t get completely clean. It’s all about the experience together.

Choose Different Names

We’ve had fun with this activity several different times, but it’s been awhile. We choose different ethnicities and have our names changed for a day. It is really interesting what everyone picks for their name and then we all have to remember each other’s names. Seems really silly, and it is – but sometimes it can be these little things that break up the boredom and make things fun!

Build a Fort

Simple and imaginative takes first place here! All you need are some blankets or sheets and some chairs or other furniture to hold it all up. Then you can plan to have fun inside – read, eat meals, take a nap, watch a movie. It just makes all those things more fun.

Escape with No Destination

I am excited to try this one during the summer. Just hop in the car and go. Maybe choose a direction to go, but stop when you see an interesting site or place to walk around. Maybe pack a lunch to have on the way and just experience some new sights. This will be totally out of my comfort zone, but I know it will provide some great experiences.

Cook a New Recipe Together

Cooking together builds unity, connection, and creates unique experiences, unlike many other activities. You end up going through instructions (the recipe) and then working together and end with a great outcome – a meal or snack to share. During our summer vacation I plan to do a few more recipes with my six year old to help him gain some cooking skills, but also to enjoy time together in a new way.

What are some ways you enjoy having fun with your kids?

Steps to Implementing a Sabbath

9
May
2016

Steps to Implementing a Sabbath

Back at the end of February I attended a personal growth event – First Steps to Success in San Antonio. To say it was life changing seems rather cliche, but it is true. I am planning to attend this event again in the next few months when it comes to Cleveland to stay focused, inspired, and connected.

One of the key components that came out of attending this event, as well as by viewing Time Secrets from Dani Johnson, was the concept of observing a Sabbath and my lack of intentional time management.

Now, for me (who did not grow up in a Christian home), I really had no idea what a Sabbath was and had not taken the time to discover what the Bible truly said about it and how it impacts my daily life now. I am not here to debate Scripture and how you may interpret the Sabbath. I am here, however, to share my thoughts on taking a day of rest for you, your family, and from your work.

The Sabbath is referred to in the Ten Commandments. It is number four:

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. – Exodus 20:8-11

Until I had some discussion on this topic, I felt it really wasn’t relevant to me in this day and age and especially with all the things I had to do. How on earth could I take a day of rest?

Well, after praying, seeking wise counsel, hearing how others implemented this into their weekly schedule – even those that not only run a household but have home businesses – I soon discovered that in fact by NOT observing the Sabbath I could be acting in disobedience and not allowing God to truly be glorified in my life.

“We simply do not value rest. Busyness is lauded, and idleness is of the Devil.” – Andrew Gilmore in Do No Work: Beat Burnout, Find Inner Peace, and Strengthen Your Faith by Studying the Most Overlooked of the Ten Commandments

I read Andrew Gilmore’s book to get more perspective and it was dead on. We are a burned out generation and if we do not take intentional actions to counter the burnout, it will only get worse. Much worse.

So how do you implement a Sabbath with a house to run, people to feed, activities to do? Let me share with you how I’ve put this into action in my own life over the past two months.

Plan Ahead

So, at our house, a day of rest means I do no housework, I do not cook meals, I do not check email, I am not on Facebook for business, and I don’t grocery shop. So this means I must plan ahead for these. I manage to take care of home tasks ahead of the day 0r they just don’t get done.

I will often plan ahead for dinner and have plenty of leftovers so my family can help themselves through the day. Or we may decide to eat take-out or grab a pizza, whatever fits in our budget. I spend no time checking email – which initially was a huge battle and temptation for me, but as the weeks went by, it gets easier. As a mom who runs two businesses mainly online, this was a leap to trust what the Lord has in His plan and that everything will still be there when I return!

Find Fun

I mentioned how our family has started hiking more. This is an activity I love to do, however I was in a pattern where I felt we really didn’t have the time to get away and enjoy the outdoors like this. I was dead wrong. When you are intentional with your time and you decide how you will spend it, amazing things can happen. We’ve had some excellent hikes as a family and I look forward to more! Maybe your family loves games, or road trips – it doesn’t matter – just do something as a family and build that time together.

Pick a Day that Works

For us, we will look at the calendar a month out and determine whether we will observe our Sabbath as a family on Saturday or Sunday. It changes between those days because we have different commitments and ideas on what our Sabbath looks like. So again, planning ahead is key. We block it out on the calendar – being intentional with that time.

Find Rest

Be careful to dedicate time to prayer, Scripture reading, and allowing God to speak to you and refresh your heart. Having a Sabbath doesn’t mean you just fill another day to the brim with activities and stuff – it means you are being intentional with giving that time over to the Lord and allowing Him to be a huge part of your day.

I encourage you –  set the tone for your family. Bring this idea up if you are not already setting aside a day for the Lord each week. I have found it so good for our family, my soul, and my businesses. I come back refreshed and renewed to tackle my daily tasks.

Do you take a Sabbath each week? What does that look like and how do you manage your family?

Five Favorite Devotions for Moms

2
May
2016

Five Favorite Devotions for Moms

The favorite part of my day is morning. I get up before everyone else, grab a cup of coffee, and sit down with God – reading my Bible, jotting down notes, journaling, and reading some awesome devotional material.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I wanted to share five of my favorite devotionals for moms. I am sure there will be a few little people in your life, wondering what you might like to receive on Mother’s Day. So why not share this post and give them a few heart-centered ideas. 🙂

The Quiet Place: Daily Devotional Readings by Nancy Leigh DeMossThe Quiet Place: Daily Devotional Readings

This is one of my all-time favorite devotionals. I will cycle through it every other year. Picking it up and hearing some familiar phrases and stories is a comfort. Do you ever read a devotional more than once? I enjoy Nancy’s writing, her style of vulnerability, and bringing her heart to the pages. I have it on my Kindle, so I can easily access it from my iPad or my phone too. But the imitation leather edition is really a nice gift idea. This is a full year devotion, which I love! Grab it HERE.

5 Minutes with Jesus by Sheila Walsh

5 Minutes with JesusLooking for a devotion that has several verses to get your journaling jump-started? This is the one. I enjoy that at the end of each day’s section, there is a “Five Minutes in the Word” section listing at least 4-5 verses that relate to Sheila’s writing. I enjoy simple and things that relate to my life. This one fits that perfectly. She gives a real strategy, even when we are so busy that we can and are blessed when we stop to take a few minutes to spend time in His word. Grab it HERE.

Devotions for the Beach and Days You Wish You Were There by Thomas Nelson

Devotions for the Beach and Days You Wish You Were ThereYes, I am a little beach crazed, so it should be no surprise that I enjoyed this devotion as well. Even in the Kindle version you have some images that are so nice and often overlooked in these versions.  

You have a verse, a writing, and a short prayer you can end with. If you are looking for something to change up your routine, this one is great, only 90 days long, and perfect for spring!  Grab it HERE.

Quieting Your Heart: 6-Month Bible-Study Journal by Darlene Schacht

Quieting Your Heart: 6-Month Bible-Study JournalThis is not necessarily a devotion – however, it will help you focus and begin journaling your prayers and observations during your quiet time. I often find it difficult to focus and really dig in a bit deeper, so this book has been a great resource and guide for me. I love that I can doodle and color on the pages, yet it has some points which help me clarify what I am reading: 3 things I am thankful for, finishing the sentence “God is…”, and more. If you struggle with what to journal, this one is great. It’s a 6-month book and the price is very reasonable! Grab it HERE.

First 5 AppFirst 5 App

If you have not discovered this App full of incredible devotions and teaching – hang on – it is going to ROCK YOUR WORLD! It is created by the folks at Proverbs 31 Ministries and it is incredible. They are covering complete chapters of the Bible with teaching, some memorization, and on the weekends you get a video wrap-up, which is my favorite part of all! It’s like you are sitting in the living room with these ladies. GO NOW to grab it, and it’s FREE!

Do you have a favorite devotional you would add to this list?

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