Being emotionally present, patient, and connected with your children is a great goal to have, but what about when you’re barely hanging onto your sanity by a thread and you just don’t have the mental and emotional energy to “do the mom thing” the way you really want to? Is there hope for the hurried mom?
What about those seasons where you long to slow down long enough to drink your coffee while it’s still hot and maybe make eye contact with your kids once and a while but you feel like if you stop moving for even a second, life will plow you over?
We all have those seasons. Some seasons are about survival. Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew when it comes to activities and our family’s schedules and it’s all we can do to make it to each practice and event on time. Sometimes things happen that are outside of our control and they make life anything but peaceful.
Hope for the Hurried Mom Truth: Having an unhurried life is more about the position of your heart, than the white space on your calendar.
I personally find that when there is no white space on the calendar, I have a hard time having an unhurried heart. I get irritable, anxious, and have a hard time being mentally and emotionally present with my children. Each family’s ideal pace of life is different. Each mom’s capacity is different. You have to find what works for you and your family.
But one thing I know to be true is that even in the midst of busy seasons, you can be peaceful if your heart is positioned well.
So, what do we do when life feels busy, overwhelming, and just a wee bit hurried?
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4 Hope for the Hurried Mom Survival Tips:
1. Slow down and breathe.
Find a quiet space to sit and pray.
2. Re-evaluate your commitments.
Pretend like you don’t already have any commitments. Pretend that you have a blank slate. What would you want your priorities to be? What would be the most important things you would put in? With the big picture in mind – what are your priorities for yourself, your kids, your family?
Look at your commitments. Are they in line with the big picture goals? Or are they distractions from it? If they aren’t moving you and your family towards your big picture goals, it might be time to have some heart to heart conversations with your spouse and your kids and re-evaluate your priorities. It’s not realistic to expect yourself to make huge changes overnight, but if you clearly define your priorities you can keep those in mind every time you make new decisions. Over time, your schedule will begin to reflect your priorities.
Are you able to be present with your kids or are you too stressed to be present? Whether your ideal rhythm is busy or slow, you should be able to be present through it.
3. Select some things to take off your list.
What can you take off your list? Finish out your commitment if you need to, but get out of the things that make you overloaded. Sometimes that means saying no to good things. If it’s helpful, consider it as saying “not right now.” You may feel pressure – but be confident in your decision and your family’s priorities.
4. Look for the hidden “no.”
Every time you say “yes” to something, you are by default, saying “no” to something else. Sometimes the “no” is sneaky and not obvious until you’re already overbooked and overwhelmed.
If you say “yes” to a weekly 9:00 AM commitment, you may be saying “no” to having a leisurely, un-rushed morning with your kids every week on that day. If you are okay with that trade off, great! But if having to get your kids out the door and to your commitment every week by 9:00 AM is going to overwhelm you, you may want to consider that before saying “yes.”
I HIGHLY recommend that you check out The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst. It’s an easy, fun read and full of really helpful wisdom and insight about how to make wise decisions in the midst of endless demands.
Seasons Outside of Your Control
Sometimes there are seasons where your plate is overwhelmingly full and there truly is nothing you can do about it. Maybe you’re in the midst of an overwhelming season. Maybe you’re under chronic stress due to relationship challenges or financial circumstances. Maybe you have a difficult situation with a child or you are walking through adoption or foster care and suddenly the thing that it felt like God called you to feels like a burden that is too great for you to bear? What then?
1. Still evaluate your commitments and priorities. See if there’s anything you can cross off your list.
Ask yourself, “what would happen if I didn’t do this?” And consider the answer. Some things truly have to be done. But other things that seem like necessities actually aren’t. Yes, you do have to feed your children, but what if you fed them cereal for dinner instead of cooking? They will survive.
Sometimes the truly important things do get neglected and if you’re in that boat, try to rotate what you neglect.
(Side note: Don’t misinterpret what I just said. Obviously you always have to meet your children’s physical needs. Don’t just choose not to feed them and chalk it up to “rotating what you neglect.”)
2. Absolutely prioritize self care.
Do not feel guilty. You cannot give what you do not have. If your cup is empty, you can’t pour anything good from it into your children. Do what you can to take care of yourself well. Self care isn’t always what we initially think of when we hear that term. Check out this post about the importance of self care for moms. You may also want to take a look at the 20 signs you’re overdue for some self care and these 18 simple self care ideas you can try today.
3. Call in reinforcements.
Who do you have around you? Often times people want to help, but we are too proud to let others know that we are in crisis. Who is in your support network? Tell them how you’re doing, honestly. Rally prayer partners. Be honest and ask for practical support if needed.
*Side Note: It’s easy for moms to neglect friendships. When you’re in crisis, you need support but it’s not an ideal time to be out nurturing new friendships. It’s important to be plugged into community and have “your people” established. It’s not always easy or convenient, but prioritize investing in friendships when you’re in good seasons because hard seasons are inevitable and you need support during those times.
4. Meditate on good things.
Lysa TerKeurst says “you will steer where you stare.” When life is hard it is easy to focus on the problems in front of us. Instead of dwelling on your problems, commit them to the Lord and choose to be thankful and search for glimmers of hope every day. Consciously renew your mind to focus on good, wholesome thoughts – even when it’s HARD!
Hebrews 4:16 says “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Philippians 4:6-8 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”
5. Daily commit your circumstances to the Lord.
I’ve heard so many times that God will never give you more than you can handle, but that’s just not true. I don’t believe that God causes the difficult circumstances in our lives. Sometimes they are a result of choices we’ve made. Sometimes they are just a result of the fallen world we live in. One thing that I do know is that the Lord is near to us when we call on him for help. Psalm 145: 18 says “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Lean on him. He is faithful. When it feels like you can’t go one more step, collapse in a heap before him and ask him to carry you.
6. Hang on to hope.
If you’re in a tough season, it can be hard to stay hopeful and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Actively work on renewing your mind daily. Control your thoughts. Choose to have a posture of gratitude – actively look for the big and little things to be thankful for every day. Limit your exposure to toxic and negative voices as much as possible.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
P.S. Before you go…
Don’t forget to download your FREE Unhurried Planner! Plan Intentionally. Live Purposefully.