Learning to Say Yes to Less
We can truly rest when we begin to embrace simplicity – understanding that we cannot do it all.
Moms, we do not have an infinite supply of energy. although our children may think so. Giving ourselves permission to embrace simplicity and enjoy rest without the mom guilt staring us in the face is important. Our lives are already complicated and busy enough. There is no need to overextend, create unnecessary work or continuously run around like a chicken with its head chopped off.
However, this was me for a long time… the headless chicken.
A New Level of Busy
For many years I thought that a full day’s worth of work was a day well spent. I’ve always been a busy person even as a child. But when I became a mother, I was introduced to a whole new level of busy.
I will be honest; it was hard for me to embrace anything that required me to do less and still is at times. I needed to be busy, and I stayed busy, so when my children became school-aged, I rejoiced because I had time. I filled the entire 7 hours with busy work and still managed to say yes to anyone who needed my help because I had time.
My entire routine was predicated on my children being at school. When I dropped everyone off; I would come home and clean. It was easy for me to wash and fold 3 loads of laundry, clean the entire house, and prep dinner. I didn’t have any little ones calling my name every 5 minutes, making messes as I cleaned, or tugging on me to play.
However, is that truly living? When did I rest?
These are the questions I eventually asked myself. My answer was no, how could I rest?
In fact, by the time I finished all that cleaning and whatever else I assigned myself to, it was time to pick up the kids and I was exhausted. Frustrated, because there were still 6 more hours until bedtime and my energy was depleted.
There was homework to be completed, dinner that needed to be finished, and still the normal nightly routine. I did nothing about it. I complained about not having enough hours in the day, went to bed, and woke up to do it all over again.
Until one day I couldn’t do it any longer.
When the pandemic arrived on the scene of my life and shut the schools; it found me unprepared.
I knew the routine that I had created for myself was not going to work for the role I had been thrust into. Yet I still attempted to do it all: 3 loads of laundry, clean the entire house, prep dinner, oversee 2 virtual learners, and entertain 2 toddlers.
It wasn’t until I converted my office into the “I can’t get my life together storage room,” that I realized my life was not together and something had to change. I remember crying out to the Lord, “There has to be another way!”
That day for the first time I asked God to give me wisdom and guidance to manage my household in a way that was pleasing to Him.
It’s not that I didn’t have enough hours in the day or that the things I wanted to do were wrong. I had to clean, cook, and take care of my children and home. These are essential parts of motherhood. Did I need to do an immeasurable amount of laundry, an unrealistic amount of cleaning, and say yes to everything and everyone? No, I didn’t.
The Lord spoke to me through a sermon.
The preacher talked about making room for what you want God to do in your life and being wise with your time. And more than anything, I wanted to have balance in my home. As I began to seek God on managing my house more effectively, he gave me a strategy that significantly decreased the amount of housework and helped me develop a routine that would work whether my children were in school or not. Which allows me to spend more time with my children, live out my purpose, and rest.
As catastrophic as the pandemic is God still used it for my good and His glory.
God will take these difficult situations to bring out the best in you.
It exposed me to me. It forced me to re-evaluate how I was managing my house and revealed that I was not prioritizing my time wisely. I was overextending myself for people and things that would manage just fine without my immediate attention. Have I mastered it? No, I still mess up at times, but I thank God that I am not where I use to be.
What I’m learning about embracing simplicity and rest is that it is vital to the journey of motherhood. There’s nothing worse than an overworked, way past the point of exhaustion mom. It doesn’t mean that I am free from the challenges and stresses that come with being a mother. But it means when those challenges arise, I have the time and energy to navigate through them because I am more intentional with how I prioritize my time.