As our family steps back into the role of helping our son Christopher with five of his children ages 2 to 7 while his wife, Anna Marie, is in Washington state with her family undergoing chemotherapy, we are again reminded of the basics that allow life to run smoothly.
Mom, you are critical to the heartbeat of your home. When you are tired, it falls apart. You let things go that should be done. You feel discouraged. You are impatient and frustrated. You aren’t the happy, upbeat mom you want to be. You snap at your children when you would like to be smiling at them. You yell at them when you wish you would be whispering your love to them. It doesn’t have to be this way!
Bedtime/Wake Up Time
If you are to be the mom who gets the sleep you need, you must discipline yourself to go to bed at night at a time that allows you to awake rested. For most of us that choice doesn’t happen automatically. We are way too prone to enjoy the quiet of the night after the children are in bed, putting off the call of sleep. It isn’t worth it, though. Too much is at stake.
When you go to bed early, you can wake up having slept the hours your body needs so that it is energized and strong throughout the day. If you carefully plan your bedtime and wake up time, you have the potential to accomplish two vital tasks before the children require your attention: time with the Lord and exercise.
Time with the Lord
“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is” (Psalm 63:1). When you wake before the children for time in the Word and prayer, you prepare yourself for the day in the most important way possible. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).
Growing in your relationship with the Lord and learning all that His Word teaches about how to handle relationships, anger, fear, worry, and the multitude of difficulties you face allows you to not only walk through your day abiding in the Vine but also discipling your children. Plus a time of focused prayer prepares your heart for what lies ahead in the coming hours of busyness with whatever your day holds.
Too many moms say they are too busy to exercise and can’t fit it in their day. Could I encourage you that you are too busy not to exercise? Your body must be fit and strong to accomplish all of that busyness. You must have the energy to keep up with your children and to have the patience to engage with them gently and lovingly at 7:30 p.m. the same way you might at 7:30 a.m. You can find an exercise program that you can consistently do at home in the morning before the children wake up.
Determine the Time
From the time your children are up in the morning, work backward to determine when you need to set your alarm to get up. Do you need two hours for Bible and prayer time, exercise, and a shower? More? Less? From that wake up time, work backward again. How much sleep do you need to function well all day? 8 hours? 8.5 hours? 7.5 hours? Now set that bedtime and discipline yourself to be in bed going to sleep at that time.
I challenge you if this is not your method of life to try it for one month. I am sure you will be delighted with the differences you see in yourself, in your family, and in your home. If you need help with this, Managers of Their Homes is a resource to guide you.