Lately I’ve been thinking about what it looks like to choose rest amidst the tasks of motherhood. While I’m sure most of us could opt for more physical rest, in what ways do we intentionally slow down during the fullness of life? Most days it feels like I do circles involving laundry, dishes, diaper changes, and tidying up. It is interesting what events life throws our way to call us to slow down, surrender, and just rest.
For me, life told me to rest in the form of a pregnancy when my toddler was eighteen months old. Unfortunately, I am not one of the glowing round goddesses who feels radiant during pregnancy. Currently, at 27 weeks I feel like I’ve been pregnant for years. The first 22 weeks involved constant nausea and vomiting. I know, glamorous. It didn’t come as much of a choice when I had to scale back commitments and learn to build more rest into our daily routine.
Often my schedule and chores leave mounting “to-do” lists. Throughout this pregnancy I have had to actively choose to say no and instead practice staying in the present moment. In a culture where over-commitment is often praised, it can be challenging for me to create balance that includes stillness. I’m in a season of learning to choose less “doing” and more “being.” This is something I hope to model for my own daughter and son. How do we choose rest that goes beyond physical sleep? I’ve found that it can be done with these four, simple tricks:
Thinning the Schedule
Life is full with events, parties, meetings and activities to attend. Choosing to simplify and say no has been extremely helpful during this stage of mothering and pregnancy. There’s no shame in being in bed before nine, right? Creating a balanced rhythm that includes free days and nights makes me a rested mama and helps the next day run smoother.
Lighten the Load
Sometimes the simple way is worth it. Whether its grocery delivery, homemade meal pick-up in the neighborhood or pizza for dinner, I am working on letting the guilt go to embrace some of the perks modern urban living can bring. Grocery delivery has freed up so much extra time where I can enjoy playing with my little one instead of running around at the store in the afternoon.
Let the List Go Undone
Sometimes I have to choose to let things go for the day. I enjoy a clean uncluttered space and often find myself spending more time making things just right than being on the floor playing. So, certain times I choose to let it go and be present in play. Especially on these spring days when the sun pops out, laying down the list and heading out doors brings a connection to nature that seems therapeutic.
Consistency in Bedtime Routine
One thing I cherish is the quiet part of the night after my daughter goes to bed. I’m soaking it up more than ever knowing our second is coming along soon. This time is necessary for her health, and much-needed for alone time with my husband and my own self-care. We have found that keeping with a calming bedtime ritual creates a restful home for everyone.
Every season of motherhood brings new excitement and needs. Recognizing when we need to slow down is an ever-evolving skill as a mother. Sometimes its finishing a cup of tea before it’s cold, taking ten calming breaths before I handle a toddler meltdown, or building in time for yoga with my little one that reconnects me to the present.