I am a homeschool mama, which means I wear many hats throughout my day. From the moment my feet hit the floor, I have tasks to juggle, mouths to feed, hearts to disciple, and relationships to grow. Oh yea, and I have to teach them something academic, too! Because I’m a struggling perfectionist, I often convince myself that these different hats must all be worn perfectly. And we all know how that ends. Worn out mama with an empty tank.
I recently attended a homeschool conference, and the theme was “Teaching From a Place of Rest.” I wasn’t sure how excited I was about that theme. I went into it with a mindset that the word rest was a reflection of the word lazy. I imagined sessions on how to teach math while laying in your bed, a homeschool schedule with frequent naps built in, and creative ways to incorporate sleep into your studies. Silly me. Turns out that “a place of rest” was more of a mindset or habit, than a single action!
The idea is simple and doesn’t only apply to homeschool mamas. It’s a healthy way to look at any of our mothering roles. Have you been struggling with exhaustion? Are you quick to snap, and slow to offer grace? Are you just trying to survive your days? Try some of these ideas and see if you can find a way to start your day from a place of rest.
What do you envision when you picture yourself in a place of rest? What does that look like in your unique circumstances?
Are you laying on the beach, alone in the breeze? Perhaps you need mini vacations built into your year. A one-night respite, in a peaceful place. It doesn’t have to cost money, but that time alone with only your thoughts can be priceless.
Are you snuggled up in your bed with a good book, filling all of your brain space with imaginary life? Maybe you need to join a local book club where you can step away from the to-do list for a night and use a different part of your brain.
Are you sleeping in a dark room, with no alarm clock in sight? Try offering a sleep swap with your husband, a morning off for each of you a couple times a month. Sometimes it really is just about sleep.
Are you sitting in your comfy chair with your devotional, or newest book, and a hot cup of coffee? Set up this sacred space somewhere in your home, and try to sit there at some point each day. Even if it’s only for 5 minutes. And even if you don’t have the energy to open the book.
The first time I was challenged to think about this, I couldn’t even picture myself in this mystical place. I had nothin. Nada. I’ve learned to look at what things bring me life, what things brings me joy, and what things allow me to walk away feeling filled up instead of depleted. The key here is that this place of rest is going to look different for each of us.
How often do you need to go to this place of rest?
There is no formula for this. I know sometimes that can be so discouraging for us mamas! There are days when I would just like someone to tell me exactly how to do something, a simple equation that spits out the perfect solution. But motherhood almost never offers that gift!
Whatever you decide to try, make sure you pencil it in on your actual calendar. Scratch that, use a pen. If you don’t put it on the priority list, it will be easily forgotten.
If you find yourself in a great place, don’t be tempted to skip out on your place of rest experience. It’s always easier to keep a good thing goin, than to have to come from behind.
How do you fit this in when you already have a full plate?
Mama. If you’ve got a plate so full, that you can’t imagine adding this routine to your schedule, it’s time to clean the plate. Go grab a paper plate from your kitchen, and write all of the things that you absolutely must do in the center. Draw a ring around them. Next, list all of the things that require your time, but that you enjoy doing. Things that you feel are worth investing in but are not necessarily a necessity. Draw a ring around those things. Now, add all of the things that you do that really don’t bring you any joy. These things may be old commitments that you have grown weary over, things you said yes to without thinking it through, or things that are a burden to you in this season. Now step back and enjoy your creation. Are there are any things in that third ring that can be taken off your plate? If so, do that. Create more margin in your life, so that you can fill in that space with things that help you start your days from a place of rest.
For me, teaching my children from a place of rest means I have practiced my new habit of letting go of the little things (mostly worries) that were consuming my mind, and have replaced that space with a renewed energy, and open hands. My breaths are deep, my shoulders are relaxed, and my cup is overflowing. However you get to that place, make it yours. This habit is one thing worth adding to your mama plate.