Q&A Tuesday: Do you ever take a day of rest?

I’m a new stay-at-home mom to a 5-week-old baby boy. I have been following your site for several years and I’ve always admired how much you accomplish in a day. At the time, I had full-time job and seemed to use that as my excuse to not do everything, but now that I’m a stay-at-home mom, I still can’t seem to do everything.

Do you ever have a day that you just relax and not worry about getting everything done? Your blog makes it seem like you always have everything put together. I know you probably have your own days but I feel like most days I stress out if I’m not getting to the one store where they have the “free” item, or if I’m not preparing a bunch of meals to put in the freezer, etc.

Just wanted to know if you just have more extra energy than the typical person or if you are seriously exhausted, but know that you have to keep going for your family. – Ashley

Edit: Somehow I read Ashley’s note as saying she had a five-month-old baby instead of a five-week-old baby. So I completely failed to address the very important fact that she needs to focus on keeping it super simple and just recovering and caring for her newborn. At any rate, be sure to read the comments from my readers as they are packed with words of wisdom concerning this!

Ashley, congratulations on your new baby boy and how exciting that you’re able to stay home with him.

Now, I need to set the record very straight: I do not accomplish even a tiny sliver of what I’d like (or hope!) to accomplish.

There are days when I fantasize about a to-do list which has everything crossed off and then I quickly realize that that is just not going to happen. So I have two choices: I can do the best I can do with the time and energy I have or I can spend my life frustrated at everything left undone.

I try to be real as a blogger: to share my struggles and my difficulties as well as my triumphs and victories. I don’t share a lot of pictures of my dirty laundry piles or my windows with sticky peanut butter fingerprints on them, though, because I want to keep this an upbeat place. And I doubt that most of you really would like to read post after post about the bodily fluids I cleaned up or the messes my children made in the last hour. :)

Since I am a minimalist and try to be organized, we tend to have fewer messes because we have less stuff. But believe me, we have plenty of messes — regardless of the lack of lots of stuff. And there are plenty of days when I want to pull my hair out and cry just because it’s so much work to be a mom to three young children. There are times when I get really tired of doing the same thing over and over and over again and feeling like my work is never done.

However, by God’s grace, I’ve purposed to embrace each day — spilled milk, dirty laundry and sticky peanut butter fingerprints — instead of concentrating on the difficulties of life (and we all have them in one shape or another). My desire is to focus on how blessed I am (though I don’t always succeed, just ask my husband!) and seek to live in the moment and make the most of it.

Simple Tips for Being a More Joyful and Productive Wife and Mom

::Realize you can’t get it all done. Give up on being Superwoman and be okay with that.

::Stop comparing yourself to other women who might seem like they have it altogether. I promise you, no woman does.

::Cherish each moment you have with your precious family.

::Make a simple routine for your days. Simple is the key word here. Don’t make some elaborate plan that is likely unattainable. But having a routine in place can make life go much more smoothly.

::Before you go to bed or when you get up in the morning, make a short list of five to eight things you’d like to accomplish that day. I’ve found I get so much more done when I have a plan instead of just being aimless. At the same time, though, remember that your list is just a guide. You likely won’t get everything done off of it — you may get nothing done off of it! — but you’ll probably be a lot more productive and focused throughout the day just by having some goals set.

Back to your original question: Do I ever take a day off? Mothering is a 24/7 thing, so I’ve quickly learned that there’s no such thing as a complete “day off.” That said, I definitely know my limits and try to take a few hours of respite and refreshment at least once a week. This might be sitting and reading a good book, snuggling and reading for an hour with my children, watching a movie with my husband, going to a coffee shop or shopping by myself, doing something with a friend, taking a bubble bath or a leisurely afternoon nap.

I also make it a point to get 7-8 hours of sleep almost every night and I try to exercise and put nourishing foods in my body, drink lots of water and get fresh air and sunshine every day. I think just as it is important that we be wise stewards of our finances, we also need to seek to be wise stewards of our bodies.

My Three Biggest Keys to Productivity

1. My Relationship with the Lord — I get up every morning and spend time reading God’s Word, praying and dedicating my day to the Lord. Throughout the day, when trials and difficulties come my way, I often just stop and pray and ask God to help me in my weakness and time of need. He always is faithful — even in the little things.

2. My Relationship with my Husband — I’m blessed to be married to an amazing man and the longer I live, the more I grow to love and admire him. Jesse loves me deeply, listens to me whole-heartedly, prays for me caringly and encourages me unceasingly. He is my biggest cheerleader and my best friend. We share everything together, we love to be together and he is constantly inspiring me to dream big dreams, set big goals and not settle for mediocrity.

3. Observing Media-Free Sundays — A few years ago, we made the commitment to keep Sundays media-free days at our house. This was one of the best decisions we ever made. Tuning out the noise for a whole day every week helps us to re-focus, re-energize and refresh. We spend the day worshiping in our local church, talking, reading, resting and spending time with family and friends. We look forward to this day all week long.

Related: If you’re a young mom, I encourage you to read a post I wrote a few weeks ago with a few words of encouragement for young moms.

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Baker Street Solutions: $12.50 Amazon Gift Card if you qualify

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Thanks, Moms By Heart!

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Pampers Gifts to Grow Points: 20 free points + a new referral program!

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Thanks, Freebies 4 Mom!

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