I don't know about y'all, but at least once a day I am astounded at my brain's ability to forget something. It probably has something to do with being responsible for three non-self-sufficient little people. And, you know, running my own life as well. No big deal. It's easy to feel like I'm floundering trying to keep everything running (somewhat) smoothly. Soccer games, school lunches, laundry, what's for dinner?, carpool, birthday parties, doctor's appointments. The list goes on and on. And for a lot of us moms, we are the ones who keep all this stuff in check and in order. It's enough to make anyone's head hurt. And it's enough to make you feel completely drained. Once you've doled out all of your energy running everyone else's schedule and life, it doesn't seem like there's much time for you. There are a few practical things I try to follow in order to not totally lose my sanity.
Wake up early. I know, I know. You may totally be rolling your eyes at me. I used to be that person, too. I want every single last millisecond of sleep I can get. But I cannot even begin to tell you how life-changing it has been for me to wake up before my kids. Before the demands and the rush and the "WHERE ARE YOUR SOCKS?!". Taking the time at the beginning of the day to just be is a game-changer. Some days it's just sitting in the quiet and drinking my coffee. Other days it's working, exercising, reading, journaling, etc. You can get so much done in an hour, and it's infinitely easier than trying to do it during the middle of the day. And it's so good to make time for yourself. Doing it first thing is a guarantee that it will happen. Trust me. Try it just for one week and see what happens!
Prep the night before. Make lunches, sign homework sheets, load the dishwasher, heck you can even make some overnight oats to make breakfast easier. Do as much as you can to make the morning easier before you go to sleep. Nothing starts the day off on the wrong foot like rushing like a mad woman to try to get it all together before the school bus shows up or you have to be out the door.
Write things down. If someone tells you something you need to remember, write it down. If you have a play date or an appointment, write it down. If you think of something you need to remember to grab at the store, write it down. You get the idea. Get a good planner and use it (we both love Erin Condren's Life Planner).
Be ok with saying "no". There is already so much on your plate just doing the day-to-day life stuff. It's easy to totally stretch yourself thin. You've got to learn to be ok with saying "no" to things. A quote that I've heard from a few different places is "if it's not a hell yes, then it's a no". I think that is some great advice and I try to use it when it comes to taking more things on.
Make the time for friends. Friends are so life-giving (at least they should be!). Our friends build us up, speak truth into our lives, make us laugh, and even call us out when we need it. Make time for that in your life. Play dates are awesome, but make sure you have time to spend with your people without the kids, too. I really would lose my mind sometimes if it weren't for my amazing friends (seriously, y'all rock).
Exercise. No, I don't spend hours in a gym. I don't even workout every day, although I'd like to. It's true what they say about endorphins. They make such a difference in your mood and mental state. Try to move your body everyday! Even if it's just a few minutes. Grab a few crunches when you're on the floor playing with the kids. Pick up the baby and do some squats. Just move. Instant mood-lifter!
All of these things honestly help me feel sane and functional in my day to day life. But our own checklists and abilities will only take us so far. "Life in Christ is not merely a life of survival, but of thriving and flourishing in His presence." That's a quote I wrote down months ago from a Bible study I was doing (Flourish from Well Watered Women). Honestly some days it seems like it takes everything we have just to survive the day. And there is victory in that, obviously. If everyone made it through the day in one piece we should totally be grateful. But we were made for so much more than just surviving. And if every single day feels defeating and you wake up each morning with dread of what you're about to face, chances are you are living out of your own resources and abilities. Thank the sweet Lord we don't have to live that way though.
Because most of the time our circumstances are outside of our control. Sadly we cannot control our kids' emotions (ugh), especially when they're little. Our circumstances cannot be what dictates how we function. Sometimes the waters are calm, and sometimes the waves crash in one on top of the other. You may feel like you're drowning. No matter how strong you are, there's only so much you can take. You work and try as hard as you can, but eventually your strength will fail and the water will win. But Jesus. He will keep your head above the water. He will keep you afloat. I am so thankful for a friend who so eloquently shared that truth with me.
We don't have to merely survive this life. We were made to have a beautiful, abundant, enjoyable life. Our circumstances may be wonderful or they may be awful and make us want to rip our hair out. But we know where our hope and strength is found, and it's not in our own ability to handle our obstacles, or even our daily lives.
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
I feel weak and incapable more often than not if I'm being honest. But His grace is sufficient. He shows up in our weakness. Each wave, each hurtle, each moment you feel like you're drowning is an opportunity to lean in and trust Him.
What are some practical ways you maintain your sanity and peace? Do you struggle to trust Jesus in your day-to-day life, with the big stuff and the small stuff? We would love to hear from you in the comments!