today i have a special treat for you mamas + mama-to-be’s :) my blog friend emily of anderson family crew is here to share with us how important it is to make time for rest. and, emily knows! she’s a mama to 6 littles. wanna know something great? i “met” emily years ago when i first started blogging — it’s been amazing to watch her family grow! emily is hilarious and real and creative and we share the same faith. it’s great… i love reading her blog and so for today i’ve asked her to share with you all the importance of rest. i’m not sure why this is, but ever since i read her post on having quiet/nap time every afternoon, i’ve been almost infatuated with this concept… mainly because it makes me happy that emily knows what’s best for her family. yes, i’m a dork :)
on that note, several of you have asked about balancing your time + days with running a business and being a wife and/or mama, so if that’s you, please read on! emily’s advice is timeless and i’m hoping it speaks to you as it does to me.
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Hello Gussy readers…I’m Emily, wife to Mr. Anderson and mama to 6 wildly awesome children.
Our oldest just turned 8, and our youngest is 4 months…so to say our life is chaotic, is an understatement. Because of the understood chaos that takes place in our house on a daily basis, this mama needs some quiet time.
My 4 oldest are in school for half days (home by 1:00) and I usually spend the mornings running errands or catching up on housework (our laundry pile is always amazing). By the time the oldest are all home, and after we finish up lunch and homework, it’s my favorite time of the day: rest time.
Ever since my oldest was about 1, I have implemented an afternoon nap time. As he’s gotten older, it’s no longer a nap time for him, but a rest time. As each new baby is added to the family, I work my hardest to get them on the same afternoon schedule (meaning, they take their longest nap in the afternoon). At this point I have 3 that nap, and 3 that just rest. “Resting” can look very different for each child, depending on their needs that day. Sometimes they are cranky and I know they need alone time, so I have them grab some books and puzzles and head to their bed. Other times, they are allowed to play quietly with their sibling that’s awake…but this only lasts if they remain quiet. If they fight, or are loud, then they have to go back to playing alone.
Every day I remind my kids that rest time isn’t for them, but it’s for mama. I need this time. Over the years it’s changed, as the needs of my kids have changed. We’ve experienced afternoons where rest time lasts for 3 hours, and sometimes it lasts for 1 hour. Either way, I’m getting time to myself every afternoon.
So, since I committed to having my kids rest every afternoon, I make sure I’m doing the same thing. For years now, I only allow myself to do things that are fun and recharging for me in the afternoon. This can look different on any given day, but some examples are: write a couple blog posts; catch up on some of my favorite shows; do a crafty craft; read a book; have some time with the Lord; take a nap. Whatever is needed so that I can recharge myself, I’m gonna try to do it.
Let me say that it’s not always perfect. Some days I walk away feeling even more exhausted than before, because my kids weren’t cooperating. Since having a new baby, I have felt like I’ve had to really lay the hammer down during rest time because I only have a little bit of time completely to myself, while my newest one sleeps. So, when she lays down, I set the timer for 45 minutes and tell the kids that are awake still, that they may not play with each other, or come and get me (unless someone is dying of course) until the timer goes off. This usually ensures I get about 30-45 minutes to myself—but not always. Life isn’t perfect.
So, to all you mama’s out there, let me tell you something. You need this time. It doesn’t matter if it comes in the morning or the afternoon, but for your sanity, you need this time. Don’t you have things that you love to do? Maybe it’s painting… or photography… or writing… or organizing… or meal planning/cooking… or heck, maybe it’s watching T.V. If you love it, make some time for it. You don’t need to be at your kids beck and call all day long. In fact, when you get time to yourself, you will be a better wife and mom for it… I promise.
If you’ve never had an afternoon rest time, or if you are struggling with a toddler that won’t nap anymore, don’t give up that afternoon time. It’s okay to put your kids in their rooms for an hour or so in the afternoon. Give them some books/puzzles/legos. Make them have to figure out a way to not be bored. If you think “there is no way my kid will stay put for an hour in their room” then start out with 15 minutes. Set the timer for 15 minutes… then gradually add 5-10 minutes to their rest time every day so that you are finally at an hour. And be consistent with it… and don’t give up when you add a new baby to the mix… work hard at getting them accustomed to sleeping long in the afternoon.
I hope this helps some of you with finding time to yourself. I realize that not all of you will think you need this, or maybe even some of you already have another routine going, and that’s great. But if you are struggling, then hopefully you can get started today!
* If you have any questions about how I do things, leave a comment here!