The beginning of a school year is always a good time to evaluate our schedules for the year ahead. I want to encourage you to schedule time for some specific things to help you keep on going this year, even when things are hard. Let’s face it: motherhood is exhausting. I’ve been a full-time working mom. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom. I’m now a single mom. They’re all tiring, but there’s some things we can be sure to do in order to take care of ourselves.
If we can’t keep going, our whole family falls apart. It’s so easy to stay up late and deprive ourselves of sleep to get things done or skip meals because it just takes more time and energy. However, the following tips are vital to our overall health. If we suffer in one area, it will affect all of the other parts of our life. These things can help us to feel our best and therefore be better at being moms and women for the glory of God.
- Eat 3 healthy meals a day. Skipping meals will make you feel tired. When you’re tired, you’re more likely to eat junk food. If you are making healthy meals, both you and your children will feel better (even if they complain. They’ll thank you someday.) This doesn’t mean you have to make gourmet meals. There’s plenty of meals you can make that are relatively easy but use fresh ingredients. You can also make extra of a meal so you can have the leftovers for another meal. This is especially helpful if you’re going to be gone for a night because of kids’ activities.
- I know. You don’t have the time or energy. Look at your schedule and find a time, even if it’s just once or twice a week to exercise. It will improve your immune system. It naturally combats anxiety and depression. It helps decrease stress levels. It will actually give you more energy in the long run. It also feels good to be in shape. Plus, it shows your kids that fitness is important. Pick times that work for you, and then stick to them. Find something you enjoy doing – a fitness class at a local gym, doing an elliptical in your bedroom, jogging with a friend, doing an online workout video after your kids go to bed. Just do something.
- Limit coffee and sodas, and drink more water.
- Spend time in the Word and in prayer every single day. Pick a time that works for you and stick to it. I do mine first thing in the morning, but when I worked full-time, I did it in the evenings after my kids went to bed. The important thing is to make this non-negotiable. We can’t do any of this without the help and wisdom of the Lord.
- Make your kids help. It’s great for kids to take responsibility for things around the house. If you’re feeling overwhelmed as school starts this year (whether your kids are going to school, doing school at home, or you’re homeschooling), make the kids do more. They can pack their lunches or fold their laundry or load/unload the dishwasher. Older kids can even help with meal prep.
- Give yourself grace. We’re often harder on ourselves than we’d ever be of someone else. At the end of the day, know that you did your best and let the rest go. It’s easy to look at what we didn’t get done or what we didn’t accomplish. Instead, try thinking about all the things you did do. Don’t underestimate the importance of the little things. Playing a game with your kids or reading a book to them is valuable, even if the house is a mess at the end of the day.
- Remember that you are enough because Christ is enough, and he will give you the strength to do everything he’s called you to do. You may be exhausted by the end of the day. You may not know what this school year will look like; I mean, who could’ve predicted the craziness that corona has caused? You may not know about a lot of things in your life, but God will sustain you. As we start this school year, know that He is always, always faithful.
“Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.” Psalm 68:5
“The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless…” Psalm 146:9