Take a Rest!

“I have so much to do today, I think I’ll take a nap.”

As a single, full-time mom who is also self-employed, I’m not going to deny it, there is a lot on my plate. Over the years I have become an expert at getting it done. Laundry for tomorrow, cupcakes for a birthday celebration in school, a computer assignment for work, stuffing envelopes or helping kids complete homework; I know the pressure of pushing yourself to the breaking point.

In fact, in recent years I’ve learned to say to myself once or twice a month, “I have so much to do today, I think I’ll take a nap.” And you know what, I do. Sometimes the amount of work that needs to be done is so overwhelming that I can’t even begin to start knocking it out. That’s about the time I decide to lay down and take a rest.

Rest is so important to our attitudes, work capabilities, physical well-being and health. I’ve fallen into the pit of pushing myself too hard for too many days too many times. In the end, my health paid the price.

I’ve had to learn to slow down, to rest when I need it. Can I push myself until eleven or twelve at night to get it all done? Of course I can, and sometimes, I must. But the only thing I’ll accomplish by doing that night after night is a one way ticket to the sick bed.

So, I take a nap.

Honestly, making this happen is usually a challenge. I face the dilemma of whether or not to inform the children that I am about to take a nap. If I tell them that Mom needs a rest and is going to take a nap, a child will surely barge into my room every fifteen minutes or so for every kind of odd and purposeless reason. Eventually, one will even crawl in there with me and snuggle down to sleep. However, if I don’t say anything about napping, some sort of apocalyptic event will happen between two of the sisters and the volume from the lower level rises to such a point that sleep is impossible. In the end, I can usually get in an hour or two of actual sleep.

After waking and returning to the downstairs I usually find the house trashed, especially the kitchen. Someone invariably tries to make something while I slept. An easy bake oven packet sprinkled on the floor. A glass of milk inexpertly poured. But the rest is always worth the minor clean up. It was needed.

I’ve found a couple other helpful pointers for getting the rest I need so as not to become too rundown or exhausted.

1. Strict Bedtime.
Enforcing my girls’ bedtimes can be difficult at times and I occasionally bend the rules, but for the most part, bedtime means bedtime. “You don’t have to sleep but you can’t be here,” is my motto. Those two hours after my children are tucked in to bed are times where my body settles down and my mind relaxes. The calls for drinks of water, or wiping bottoms, or helping with homework are done for the day, and I rest.

2. Set apart time for meals.
I’ve had to discipline myself in this area. I’m the type to eat breakfast while checking emails, and eat lunch while running out the door to drop off the little one to Pre-K. Dinner is often eaten during the prep or the clean-up because the actual eating time is consumed with serving the children. I’ve had to make a conscious effort to stop, sit down and eat.

When your To-Do list seems insurmountable, remember what Jesus, Himself, said to His apostles after they had returned from preaching village to village:

“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”  – Mark 6:31 (NIV)

Take time to rest.

Your body and your family will thank you.

Copyright © Rebecca Onkar, Moms of Faith®, All Rights Reserved

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