Being a mother to our sweet babies is exhilarating and exhausting. The highs and lows - and how rapidly we swing between the two - can be intense. There are so many precious moments with our children, but it can feel like those are often overshadowed by struggles, uncertainty and guilt.
As we approach the holidays, it can feel like we don’t have enough reserves to face the hectic pace the season often brings. We want to be present in all the wonderful moments, creating memories and making everything special; we want to spend time with those we love and be cognizant of why we put so much effort into the festivities.
But we can’t do it all. We are limited, finite, imperfect people that need rest and grace: grace for ourselves and grace for others.
When we are starting from a place of fatigue and busyness with the regular requirements of motherhood, how do we step it up a notch and enter into this joyous season without losing our minds and our patience? How do we make space for “me time” without feeling guilty? Here are some tips for finding peace and rest:
Finding Peace at the Holidays
I have to start with Jesus as my focus. Looking to outward circumstances to make me feel better actually leads to more anxiety and less peace. Jesus offers peace and rest in the midst of the messiness of life, not deliverance from it.
That’s not just a reality at Christmas: Jesus is the reason for Christmas, but he is also the source of purpose and hope in the everyday moments of my life.
That being said, physical rest is necessary. Some of us have more energy than others, but eventually everyone needs to stop. Don’t feel guilty about your limits.
Accepting those limits helps you prioritize your activities and decide on the things that are most important. If you are an introvert with low reserves, categorize the events that you wish to accept and those you will decline. Sometimes just saying no offers you the “me time” needed to recharge.
Ways to Find Guilt Free Rest
• Take advantage of the additional people around. Visiting family members love to spend quality time with your kids and this provides a needed respite from the 24/7 requirement of being mommy.
Our husbands often have time off around the holidays as well, providing an opportunity for daddy/kid bonding time. Maybe dad can take the kids shopping for mommy’s present or make Christmas cookies while you get a nap or some exercise.
Consider organizing a playdate so you can get some of the holiday planning and preparation done.
• Take advantage of regular nap and quiet times. Even when you have a long to-do list, find 15 minutes to relax. Lay down on your bed for a power nap. Drink a cup of coffee and read a magazine. Call a friend and encourage one another.
I love being in my bed when the sun is streaming into my room. My four year-old can’t usually resist the cozy spot when I go in there during her quiet time and more often than not, she joins me. I’ve learned to cherish those snuggly moments and still feel refreshed.
• Limit your time on social media. Motherhood seems to be full of guilt these days. Has there always been mom guilt or is it unique to this social media saturated society that we are now in? If it was a thing before, it certainly is exacerbated by the deluge of information and opinions we now consume.
Throw in the temptation to compare or post the perfect moment, and you have a recipe for discontent and guilt. If my “me time” is spent on social media, I do not find the peace and rest I need.
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Let’s look for creative rest each day, especially during the holiday season. Don’t feel guilty for needing some space and look for unexpected moments of refreshment.
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