Raising children is an all-consuming task. Motherhood begins at sun up and barrels straight on to sun down, then right on through the night for the lucky ones. It’s overwhelming and busy, and sometimes the whole of it threatens to swallow us.
As one who is not always top notch at creating a little white space in life to just breathe, I’ve found myself making more of a conscious effort as of late to remove myself, sometimes for only a few moments, and take time to breath. It isn’t easy, and the always unwelcome companion of guilt likes to trail along more often than I care to admit, but finding those moments is important.
White space makes me a better mom.
But how do we do this, moms? How do we find the time, and take advantage of it, when there is so very much needed of us? What do we do when life is too full to step back?
It’s true, the demands are great. Between the kids who need you, the spouse who wants you, the house that begs for you, and the host of other people who are counting on you, time is spread thin. And if you’re anything like me, you can lay down at the end of the day and recount a handful of ways in which you failed someone or something.
You didn’t get a nutritious dinner on the table.
You didn’t get the baseball pants washed in time.
You couldn’t sit down with all the children who needed homework help, so someone had to figure it out on his own and he probably got half the paper wrong.
You were too exhausted to give your husband what he wanted when all the children settled.
You didn’t do this, didn’t accomplish that, dropped the ball here, and the list could go on…
What do you do when you feel like you’re falling at every turn?
Here are 3 Tips for Creating White Space When You Feel Like a Failure
1.) Start by thinking about all the things you did right
At the end of the night, when the house is finally, blissfully, quiet, think through the ways you succeeded that day. Because the truth is that when we constantly feel like we’re failing we will spin our wheels harder trying to succeed, and that leads to nothing but burn out.
2.) Set aside some time every day to be alone
I am careful when I say this, because I don’t want to encourage anyone to feel as though they should demand alone time. We don’t take these solitary moments because we feel we deserve them, but because we simply know we need them. And it doesn’t have to be long stretches of time. Getting out of bed fifteen minutes earlier to sit with your coffee before the house explodes with activity may be all it takes to charge your batteries.
3.) Be realistic with what you can really accomplish
Part of the struggle of motherhood is there because we place it directly upon ourselves to accomplish all the tasks every single day. We write out To-Do lists that are near impossible to complete, and we wonder why no one will help us, and why we feel so burned out by the time the day is finished.
Sweet moms – We don’t have to do it all. It’s okay if there’s dirt on the floor for a few days. It’s okay if your kids don’t get in the full 30 minutes of reading every single night. It’s alright if the laundry stays piled up for a little while, and if dinner isn’t organic, made from scratch, wholesome fare. It’s okay, moms.
You’re doing okay.
At the end of the day when you lay down your head, you can rest in knowing that your children are loved. They’re seen and they’re known, and you have their backs. And you can rest assured that while you may not be excelling at every thing you do, you are pretty amazing at the most important thing.
Because a child who goes to bed loved is blessed, and the mother who pours herself out for him is the key to that blessing.
So don’t wear yourself thin, moms. Give yourself the freedom to step away every once in awhile, and breathe. Take it all in, the crazy hard whole of it, and then let it out and close your eyes, letting the peace of that white space moment cover you like a blanket.
You, dear mom, are extraordinary. Believe it.