Give Poor Mama a Break!

Image by Sean Birmingham Flickr.com/photos/seanbirm/15418978210/in/photolist-puwi2U-8u77Zj

Image by Sean Birmingham
Flickr.com/photos/seanbirm/15418978210/in/photolist-puwi2U-8u77Zj

The past few weeks I’ve relived my child-rearing years as my daughter and her young family have lived with us while awaiting the closing on their new home. With a toddler and newborn in the home, I’ve felt like time reversed itself, but then my 50-something body reminded me that, no, no, that’s not at all true.

Aside from the sore back and enormous fatigue at the end of the day, I’ve been reminded of how demanding mommy-hood can be as each child simultaneously demands her attention with distinct vocalizations at varying decibels all day long. Oh, there may be minor distractions like the second or third viewing of The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh or a precious few moments of independent play dough squishing creativity where Mama may get a break from constant demands. And, there are most days where the children take naps at the same time that last longer than the walk out of their room, but there are days that I collapse alongside my daughter and say, “Wow! How did I ever get through those child-rearing years alive?”

Thinking back on those years I remembered these few helps:

  • Ask for help – seek out a family member, close friend or a recommended caregiver to give you a hand with the kids when you need it.
  • Get out of the house – if you’re a stay-at-home mom, find ways to change your surroundings. Not only will it help you, but your kids’ attitudes will benefit from the different atmosphere, too. Suggested places to go: a local park, kids museum, a friends house, a walk around the block, the children’s library or as simple as running errands.
  • Group activities – enroll yourself and your child in a group activity like a children’s story hour at your local library or book store, Gymboree’s or MOP’s clubs. Not only do these activities occupy and grow your child’s creativity and social skills, they allow you to find encouragement from other parents.
  • Power nap – it’s amazing how a 15-20 minute nap on the couch while your kids are sleeping helps re-energize you for the rest of the day. It was a hard one for me to learn because I always saw the “to do list” when I shut my eyes. But, if you can learn to shut down for just a few minutes a day, it will make the after school to bed time hours more enjoyable.
  • Share the after 5 pm responsibilities¬†– discuss how your spouse or older children might help with dinner preparation, clean up, bath/bedtime routines.
  • Get away¬†with your spouse– everyone needs a vacation, especially parents…Yes, without our children. This was the #1 best lesson I ever learned in my child-rearing years. When we enlist a trusted grandparent, relative, friend or babysitter to watch your children overnight, we build stronger families. Our children not only learn to trust us to return, but we teach them the importance of honor. When we give our marriage relationship its proper place of honor, we lay a foundation for healthy marriages for our children.
  • Remind yourself, “It’s temporary” – childhood seems endless. It really isn’t. One day you’ll wake up and you’ll realize how incredibly independent your baby has become. You’ll finally gain back all that sleep you thought you’d lost forever.

Blessings,

Dawn Aldrich, Author

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About Dawn Aldrich

Dawn Aldrich is a children's author and inspirational blogger. Besides writing she enjoys building family memories with her husband, Peter, their two grown children, and her young grandchildren. To learn more about her book, Auntie's House (2009, Halo Publishing) or to read her inspirational blog, Dawn's New Day please go to http://www.DawnAldrich.com or http://blog.DawnAldrich.com.

Comments

Give Poor Mama a Break! — 7 Comments

  1. Great suggestions, Dawn, and oh, so needed by those exhausted mamas. They can also offer to trade off babysitting with friends to get some time away from the kiddos once in a while to run errands or take a well-deserved longer nap. A wonderful post!

  2. I agree with Linda: some great suggestions here!
    I remember, at a time when things were really tough when my kids were younger, trying to tell myself that it would be a time limited season. I remember finding that quite discouraging as a few more years of what I was experiencing seemed endless! Sometimes exhausted mamas need to plan ahead for regular breaks and in the meantime remind themselves that Jesus only asks them to do life one day at a time.

  3. Hi I came across your website after searching for Christian advice for getting your baby (1 year) to sleep through the night. I have a set of boy and girl twins and my son tends to wake every night around the same time – 3 am , 4am. My husband and I are both very sleep deprived so this is hard somewhat for us. I love my son and thought of just holding him but we have found that causes him to wake more often ( I am a mother of 3 – A 2 yr 11month old and a set of 11month and 21 day year old twins) – they have birthdays approaching very soon as they are almost 2 years apart exactly. Anyway this article on mommies needing a break is so what I need. I am a military stay at home mom so the challenge is that I don’t have family and friends around to help. Its a bit of a challenge getting all 3 little ones out of the house. Because my husband works it just is a little hard to do. But I so need the mental break and physical break to simply refuel daily but never really have it – so I am full of tension and exhaustion. Any advice???

    • Hi Marnie,
      I can empathize with a wakeful child. Sometimes little ones experience nightmares or are sensitive to particular stimulation. Since I don’t know your baby I can only suggest what’s worked for me. You could try running a small fan in the room to add white noise. It helps lull them to sleep and drowns out any surrounding noises.
      Regarding military life, I cannot address that but do know of several friends who are military wives and mothers. They found fellowship with other military moms on base and got involved at local churches. If I may share your comment with them, maybe they will reply and offer some more concrete advise.

      Thank you for sharing your heart and very real dilemma.

      Abba, Father, I lift Marnie and her family up to you. I know you see her and know she’s weary. Place friendships in her life that will support her and offer rest. Quiet her son and help him to sleep through the night. Amen

      • Dawn thank you so much for your response and advic. I can’t remember if I ever got back to you. Your prayer immediately calmed my spirit as I can feel the Lords rest when I read it. Bless you and thank you !

        • Hi Marnia,

          You are most welcome. Please see Sharita’s comment below. She is a personal friend and army wife. She ministers specifically to military wives through her blog 7 Days Time. I hope you two can connect.

          Blessings and peace,
          Dawn

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