Parenting is never exhausting and I’m never ready to go to bed at 6pm.
Cue the laughter. We all know taking care of kids, managing a house, and the rest of life isn’t easy. “The days are long but the years are short”. Countless times we’ve heard and read those words. Moms and grandmas that have been there before encourage us not to let the days pass by and to cherish the moments with our littles.
We hear how they miss those moments when their children were little. It’s true. We know it. The days seem long yet our children grow so quickly.
We want to savor and enjoy the time we have with them. It doesn’t change the fact, though, that It’s hard. It’s exhausting.
When month after month you are waking up multiple times through the night with a crying baby or toddler. Then there is a clingy, drooling child wanting you throughout the day. A toddler is pushing her limits, testing you to see what she can get by with. Then there are the normal tasks of diaper changing, bottom wiping, laundry washing, nursing, making meals and (minimal) cleaning.
Life is overwhelming. It’s hard to appreciate what you have when you are exhausted and have a to-do list a mile long.
I want to share with you 12 suggestions for helping us to enjoy life when the days are long.
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1. Early Bedtime
Having my children go to bed early has been a sanity saver, especially since the toddler stopped taking naps shortly after she was two. I know I just need to get to 7:30 and then I will have some time to tackle one of the projects that need to be done and enjoy a little quiet. 2. Hot Shower or Bath
At the end of one of those chaotic and exhausting days, there is nothing like relaxing in the shower. It helps relieve stress and clear my brain. If you take a bath, add an Oatmeal Lavender Bath Tea Bag for added moisture and relaxation!
Tell God what you are going through. Ask Him to help you. Take praying without ceasing to heart. When you are stressing or don’t know if you can follow through with your child another time, whisper a prayer to Him.
5. Do Something Out of the Ordinary
Sometimes breaking up the routine does wonders for attitudes and helps you enjoy the small moments with you children.
On long days where there seems to be continual drama, I’ve been known to put the kids in the tub for an afternoon bath. They love baths so this always makes them happy. The water is cold long before they want to get out. I can also spend some time reading while I sit and watch them so it’s a win win.
Maybe turning your lunch into a picnic on the living room floor or taking an impromptu trip to the park will enable you to leave your to-do list behind for an hour and enjoy making a memory with your children.
6. Take a Walk
This is a great one for when the weather is nice. Even if it’s less than desirable, you can bundle everyone up and keep it short. Exercise and being outside typically helps the moods in my family. It’s a great way to blow steam, burn energy, and get rid of some stress. If your kids are stroller age, you will get a good workout in. If they are older, let them walk or bike down the sidewalk and burn off some of their energy.
7. Keep Movies and TV Time Special
Don’t make movies and television a normal part of your routine. Keep them special. Then when the kids are being especially clingy, under the weather, or you have a project that really needs to be done you can put in a movie and they will be excited.
8. A Cup of Tea (or Coffee)
Coffee is not my thing, but I love a good cup of hot tea. Yogi Egyptian Licorice is one of my favorites and it’s fun to buy a box of a new one to try every once in a while. I brew myself a cup to sip on during the day. Sure it might need reheated a time or two, but there is just something relaxing about a hot drink.
9. Let Things Go – Lower Your Expectations
Don’t think you can (or even have to) do it all. Realize a perfectly tidy house isn’t realistic. Know your child will misbehave on occasions. Don’t compare yourself to others.
10. 5 Minute Pick-Up
Stuff and clutter cause more stress in my life. I know I won’t eliminate it, but I can decrease it. A 5 minute pick-up has made a huge difference in our home. I feel so much better after we are done.
Don’t try and be fancy and creative. (Unless it’s something that makes you excited.) Your kids won’t know the difference. Don’t put pressure on yourself for big birthday parties, gourmet meals, and extra curricular activities you feel pressured to do. Simplify and just do what is right for your family at this time.
12. Rest in Him
We will be exhausted. But through the longest of days we can remember the promise in Matthew 11:28-30
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
What ways have you found to help you enjoy the everyday moments with your children when the days are long? If your children are grown, what advice do you have for those of us in the midst of it?