So, half-term is over and it’s back to school. How do you feel, mama? Did you manage to have
a break? If you did, well done – please share your secret in the comments below. Chances are, not many parents do get to stop and recharge their batteries when school’s out; school holidays usually mean ramping things up a gear or two as we try to keep the kids fed, watered and entertained. Yes, there are no school runs for a bit so you might get a teeny bit of a lie in (if you’re lucky), but the extra meals, extra laundry and extra energy it takes to look after them soon makes you forget about that.
I’m learning – notice that’s present tense – that my definition of a break has to change. My life is BUSY now that I have a family and various other things to take care of, so if I’m going to hold out for a full week or even a day of relaxation so that I can recharge and return to mummy duties refreshed, you can bet I’ll end up more frazzled than an 80s crimped hairdo because that just ain’t gonna happen for now.
So, what’s the solution?
Well, for me, I’m trying to make the most of quiet moments throughout the day and being intentional about creating and then appreciating them, but I’m starting very simply by praying in the mornings.
Prayer is absolutely essential in my life. I cannot do without it. I’ve tried so I know. Before my 3 year old started nursery, he was at home with me so I would take time to pray just after breakfast while he and his little brother were happy to occupy themselves with a box of toys on the living room floor. Now there’s his school run to factor in to our morning goings-on, I’ve had to find a different time to pray.
I challenged myself to wake up a bit earlier to pray before the kids wake up, so now my alarm goes off 15 minutes earlier than usual. Now, to some, 15 minutes might not be a big deal but to me that was a huge decision to make – and to stick to it is a whole other level of seriousness. Sister NEEDS her sleep – that’s 15 minutes of precious sleep time gone!
But our minds are just like dry sponges; whatever we soak up first is what we become saturated with.
Before deciding to commit to praying in the mornings, I was soaking up manic morning school prep busy-ness, including but not limited to: making breakfasts, making sure toilet training is being stuck to and cleaning up any mess made in the process (a whole other blog post in itself), nursing the littlest one, changing nappies, repacking bags I packed the night before but which someone always needs to unpack for reasons I’ll never understand, trying to tidy up as we go to avoid the place resembling a bombsite – while bombs are going off all around me in the form of toddler and baby messiness – and, oh yes, getting myself ready (hello shower, I remember you). And all against the relentless ticking of the clock.
It’s no wonder I was stressed the rest of the day when this is how it started, and I know there are so many parents to whom this will sound only too familiar to. Going back to my useful analogy of dry sponges,
imagine if the first thing we soaked up was time spent in the presence of God – the Prince of peace Himself.
Just being with Him for a bit. Reading our bibles. Praying. That precious quiet time with the Lord is everything and it really does set you on the right path for the rest of the day. Of course it doesn’t stop the craziness, necessarily, but it does help with how you respond to and deal with said craziness.
If you’re struggling to find the time, then fight to make it. I know it’s easier said than done – trust this busy mum of 3 when she says that. Whatever is important to us dictates how we spend our time though, right?
Is prayer enough of a priority to you that you’d make time for it when it’s inconvenient? When you could be doing other things? When you have a tight schedule?
I can only speak for myself; I used to not make time for prayer because it felt as though I wasn’t seeing results from the times I did pray. As things are in our world today, with the way technology has impacted the way we live, we expect to press a button and see an immediate effect. Prayer isn’t like that. There’s no algorithm with God and praying is not coding. The bible says if we ask, we will receive but there’s often a few other things to add to that mix, like faith, obedience and patience.
Also, and this is for free folks, sometimes when we pray for something, God says no. He’s God, after all, and knows what’s best for us, so He can do that. We keep praying though, as though God didn’t hear us or that maybe He did but He just hasn’t answered yet. Erm, no sweetie (talking to myself), He did answer you and He said no but you just didn’t want to hear it. Again, a whole other blog post…
Now that I’ve decided to incorporate prayer and bible reading into my morning routine, I see the difference in my day if I don’t pray and/or read before the day starts. You can pray any time of day, of course, but if you want to start your day in the best way possible, then prayer is where it’s at. Prayer is now my break, it’s just that it happens first thing and equips me to handle what’s ahead. Reading the bible feeds my spirit, and I need that the same way I need breakfast to feed my body. (Usually, oats porridge with chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, chopped banana and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Breakfast game strong.)
Everyone can benefit from adopting prayer and bible reading into their morning routine, mums especially I think. It’s ironic that we’re probably the group of people for whom it’s hardest to do this. This is about more than a bit of yoga, deep breathing and ‘mindfulness’ (ooh chile, don’t get me started). Prayer is about being close to and hearing from the source of all life, the maker, sustainer and finisher of all things, our Father who loves us and has a plan and a purpose for each of us.
Mama, when you pray, not only do you benefit but so do your little ones. They get a much more relaxed, much less stressed mummy, and everyone’s happy when mummy’s happy.
Until next time,
(PS Remember: if you like this blog or want to comment on any of my posts, then, believe it or not, you can like and comment! And if you click ‘follow’, you’ll be notified of my new posts when they’re hot off the press. Click them buttons!)