Yesterday I talked to a friend whose third baby is about 2 months old. Her first is turning 4 this fall, if I'm correct. She'd put a post on Facebook about a few things she'd forgotten already that day - a doctor's appointment, snacks for preschool, that kind of thing. We talked about how hard it is sometimes. We talked about how sometimes even when you DO get everything right, when you make it out the door on time and you show up where you're supposed to be, things don't go according to plan.
This summer I spoke at a high school church conference, and when I showed up, right on time, to drop my kids off at childcare (they call it "camp"), no one was there. It took 2 minutes into a phone call to realize the the conference actually started the next day. My four year old was heartbroken, my two year old was oblivious, and my infant was hungry. I let the older two play on the playground, and I sat on a bench and cried while I nursed the baby.
In the last week, my baby has had her first fever, my oldest has gotten up to go potty with my help at least twice a night, and my middle child has come to my side of the bed at least once a night to tell me things of great importance, like, "I have sumfing on my yips."
WIPE IT OFF!!!
Ahem. This, my friends, is why I'm so passionate about rest. Because if we don't fight for it, it won't happen. We're "in the weeds," "in the thick of it," "in the trenches." BECAUSE OF OUR FAMILIES, our favorite souls.
So, what do we do?
We pursue rest. We accept rest. I know that might sound like another brick in your already heavy load, but trust me, the yoke of rest is light.
If this makes you feel anxious, here are a few ways I find rest, even when it seems unlikely.
1. I change my expectations.
For my first year or three as a mom, "rest" meant alone without anyone needing me. I felt cheated if I didn't get THAT experience. These days I'm working on resting WITH my kids. Sometimes that means laying with them during naptime instead of getting to the stuff I want to get done. Actually, it almost ALWAYS involves letting go of something I'd prioritized in order to be present.
2. I meet my kids where they are.
Instead of rushing them to the playroom so I can finish that one email or that project, I'll offer a tea party - with real tea and snacks. I sit with them and we hold our pinkies up. I take a deep breathe and step toward them instead of retreating from them because I'm tired.
3. I speak honestly to them about rest.
I'm not just trying to manipulate their behavior to benefit my schedule, I'm trying to TEACH THEM about rest. So I explain "some alone time is good for each person, each day" when they ask why they have to rest. I tell them I'm tired, when I am, and explain that I need to sit quietly for a few minutes. I talk to them about how rest is good for our bodies and our minds. We talk about rest in terms of it being a good gift for us, and we celebrate the freedom of rest. They're young but they get that.
There are tons of ways to do this, and honestly, the best ways change as our families change. But even in these difficult seasons, filled with lots of need and little sleep, we can find restoration and refreshment with rest. Rest is a good gift from our gracious God, and goodness knows we need it.
How do you find rest in this season? Please share your thoughts and tips in the comments. We can learn so much from each other here!
connect with Kristi at her blog And Babies Don't Keep, or follow her on Instagram (@babiesdontkeep)