Finding time to rest and get unplugged from the busyness of life, really is a lost art. We have convinced ourselves in order to be good moms, we must be busy ALL the time, when actually, we must prioritize rest and time alone with Jesus to be the best moms we can be! So today, that’s what we’re going to talk about, along with simple ways to be intentional with our kids right at home!
Mallory: My friend and fellow podcaster, Alicia Michelle is joining me today to talk about how to help moms find time to rest and avoid burnout. A subject very much needed for the middle of the summer! Can I get an amen?! Also we are going to share some simple ways you can be intentional right at home, without adding on to your piled list of “to-dos!”
First, a little info about Alicia: She is a wife and a mom of four kids: ages 19, 17, 14 & 10. So she is BUSY! She is also an author, a Bible teacher, podcaster (host of The Christian Mindset Coach Podcast) and a certified neuro coach, known as The Mindset Makeover Coach. She equips Christian women with practical tools so that they know how to find God centered peace to overcome those toxic thinking patterns that we all have as moms, like trying to be perfect, fear, worry, anxiety, not feeling like we’re enough, etc…
My first question I like to ask in ALL my interviews is, Alicia, what does your quiet time routine look like in this stage of your life?
Alicia: That’s such a great question because it has definitely changed over the years! When I had little ones, it was really a challenge to try to find a quiet time routine for me. I really had to think about it, in terms of naps and how their day was structured and how I could fit that in. But now that all of my kids are older and in school, my quiet time routine is something I do after I drop the kids off and have breakfast. I usually go outside on my front porch. We live in the country and we have a beautiful view from our front yard.
Right now, I’m going through the Bible in a year—although, it’s taking me more like a year and a half to go through it! This really helps me stay structured. It’s a great thing to try, even if you can’t do it within one year. I journal as I read, key points and questions I have. God always reveals things to me and I like to document those things. And I am someone who likes to make sure that I’m still keeping on a schedule, so I usually will set a timer for about 20 minutes for reading scripture and journaling. Then I spend some time in prayer, and if God calls me to do more, I do.
Mallory: I love the timer idea—that’s not something that I’ve heard before. I might try that! Moving on to our subject for today—finding rest and avoiding burnout.
Alicia, can you share with us why finding alone time to rest and relax is so important for us as moms?
Alicia: Great question! To start, it’s the center of everything that comes out of us. We have to be able to have that foundation of rest and solitude, so that we can show up well for our family. I think for a lot of my life as a mom, I was running on empty, because I hadn’t made it a priority of finding space for rest and time alone. The everyday activities and demands of my kids took over, so I was much more likely to respond in anger or not in the way I wanted. But we have to ask ourselves, “What is the cause of this?”
I’m a mindset coach, so I’m always going back to, “What is the root thought behind this? Why am I feeling angry? Impatient? Tired? Like I have to constantly be doing things?” And when your kids are younger and they need you even more, it’s easy to place that extra pressure on yourself, while also being exhausted! If that’s you, remember, rest is a lifeline that will keep us strong as moms. It will help us show up to be the moms that we want to be, so you must find ways to make that something that’s going to be part of your weekly routine.
Mallory: Yes, I think that we all know deep down that rest and time alone as moms is super important, but I read in a book by author and doctor, named Meg Meeker that said it best, “We convince ourselves as moms that we have to be champions of busyness.” So true!
Alicia, why do you think that we have such a hard time believing that rest is okay as moms? We just continue to pile on the different things, more activities and get overwhelmed like you were saying.
Alicia: First I will say, you are not alone! Every mom is facing this. We all know we need to slow down and rest, but I think we choose not to do it because of what brain science and the Bible show. We have a subconscious mind that is running the show in a lot of these areas, so we may have some subconscious patterns that tell us, “I am good only when I am busy. I am worthy only when I can do things that are outside, seen by other people as being good…or when my kids are doing all of the right things, that’s when I’m a good mom.”
We forget that part of our journey isn’t just exhaling, exhaling, exhaling for our kids…We have to inhale before we can exhale!
In order for this to happen, we must flip a switch on in our head and realize the reason behind these subconscious thought patterns we are having. Ask yourself, ”Why can I believe something but not act on it?” And in this case, we have society and social media working against us because you want to be a good mom, do all these things for your kids, and give them all these experiences, but we forget that again, to inhale before we can exhale.
We have to make sure that we’re filled up so that we can be the best mom, play with them and give them these experiences. Be a mom that is rested and intentional, versus just a mom who’s trying to just do more things and make it.
For so long, I was that mom that just felt like it never was enough. Even though I was homeschooling, even though I was doing all of the activities and things, there was always still something else…That’s the lie that keeps us running and keeps us from being able to stop. So getting to the root of some of those thoughts in our heads, is the key to changing some of these unhealthy thoughts we have about what rest really means.
Mallory: And to continue on that, when we hear lies, we want to combat that with truth with God’s Word!
So what are some ways that you could tell a mom to start with some practical truth in God’s word, maybe a book of the Bible to go through or a scripture to share, something like that?
Alicia: Yes, getting alone in God’s word every day is key! It’s the source of all truth and all knowledge. It is our replenishment. It is the thing that’s going to fill us up. In terms of what to read, I think that’s going to vary on any season that we’re in. If I’m going through something hard or feel misunderstood, I usually turn to Psalms. That’s a great set of books because David so well personifies how to have that tension between sharing what’s on his heart, being honest before God, trusting him with these very real emotions he’s feeling. Then he allows God to transition him to the truth, to focus on the promises and what’s real for his mind to dwell on, and that is key!
I talk a lot about in The Mindset Makeover Coach Podcast, how we are responsible for our thoughts. We’re responsible for what’s in our head, but it’s important is to acknowledge those reasons why we’re upset, why we feel stressed, why we feel tired, why we need rest, etc. It’s real! We’re not crazy. There’s reasons why we feel like this. So getting to the reasons of why they’re there and laying them before God, not just closing them down and saying, “God, I’m wrong. I’m bad. I shouldn’t feel like this.” But really saying, “It makes sense. I’m tired. I’ve been up all night with this kid and now we have to work today…”
Be real about it with God and then allow Him to remind us of His promises and our need to rest in them. You may be tired and overwhelmed, but you can still be comforted and choose to say, “This is where I’m going to dwell, on God’s promises moving forward.” So I think God’s Word and that alone time with Him, is a great way to keep the emotions and the truths about what we’re feeling going, so that we can let God help us work through them.
Mallory: Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s a great word and a great place to start!
So, I know that my kids now being 5 & 8, are past the “nap-taking age.” I wish it would COME BACK some days! But they still know every Sunday/summer/weekends, that this momma needs her rest and alone time everyday. Sometimes we call it quiet time or rest time, but the bottom line is, WE ALL NEED IT! They can play with their toys or read, but they have some alone time and just like it’s good for you, it’s also good for them as well.
When they were babies and toddler age still napping, I used to have a battle inside myself every afternoon. I would say, “I need to be cleaning right now” or “I need to be doing (fill in the blank)______.” So, I really want to encourage the mom reading this, that it’s okay to sit down and rest during nap or quiet time. It’s okay to take some time for yourself: take a shower, take a breather, sit in a chair, take a nap, read your Bible, call a friend….anything that brings you rest. Whatever is going to replenish you and let you inhale, like you said above.
So how can you encourage a mom today to do this or give her some practical advice? She wants to do these things that we’ve been talking about, so where should she start?
Alicia: Yes, we all reach a moment everyday where we’re just like, “Okay, momma needs a break. Momma needs some space…” And again, that’s not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean we don’t love our children. It doesn’t mean we’re a bad mom. It just means we have boundaries and limits. It means we’re human. So when we reach those points, I think of them as little warning lights that God has signaled to go off inside of us. Like if we have the check engine light go off in our car, you think, “hmm, maybe I should check that out.” That’s all that it is. It doesn’t mean you are bad mom, it just means you have reached your limit and it’s time to recharge.
So I would recommend a consistent time each day, even if it’s just 15 minutes at first and work your way to one hour each day. Then start gathering ideas of what you could do to replenish yourself in a meaningful way. Because if you are like me, you can easily pick up your phone and scroll social media and your time flies by and it’s over, leaving you still unrested.
One of the arts of learning how to rest, I really believe, is becoming curious about our own needs and experimenting, because none of us are really taught how to find true rest. What does that mean on the four parts of self: physical self, emotional self, spiritual self, and intellectual self? What are the things that fill you up? For some people, being around other people fills them up. For some people, they need to go inside and be alone.
A funny story from this coaching call I did with a mom around this very topic: She was talking about needing to find more balance and rest in her days. I asked her what happens if she doesn’t get this time? She said, “I literally hide.” And I thought she was kidding. She said, “No, no, you don’t understand, I literally go hide in the closet and will not come out.” I laughed but in all seriousness, we had to discover the things that she needed to replenish: silence, quiet, reading a book, time in God’s word…Really solitary silent activities.
Now, for someone else, resting and inhaling might look like calling a girlfriend to get some companionship. Whatever it is for you, have a list of ideas and begin to try things like: knitting, scrapbooking, a new Bible study, sit in the sun, etc. Begin to experiment and see what works for you. Sometimes it might just be eating in peace or taking a simple nap.
Make a commitment to learn what works for you, to fill you up your rest tank, while you’re teaching your kids to do the same. They need to learn to rest and be alone too—that’s healthy.
Mallory: I totally agree. I definitely cannot go without that alone time to rest! Take that time for yourself and do not feel guilty about it!
Rest as well as simplicity, is definitely needed in our lives. With the high pace schedules we all keep, sometimes it’s good to unplug and be more simplistic in our mothering. It’s easy for me to put an iPad in front of my children and be like, “Here, play a game or watch a movie,” basically meaning “leave me alone right now,” without saying it and let technology babysit them. That is simple but it’s not intentional at all!
What are some ideas of ways that we can intentional in doing simple things to make memories with our kids, once we have rested ourselves?
Alicia: Something that helped me in understanding this idea of rest, which relates to what we’re talking about, is asking myself, what are the simple things I could do with my kids that would make me feel like: I am showing up as a good mom, I am taking care of them well with excellence, while also giving them the ability to explore on their own?
Having rhythms of simple, consistent and intentional family time, among all busy daily to-do lists, is so important! For us, it’s having a consistent family day, where we go to the beach or do something together every week. Ask yourself: “What do I want to walk away with at the end of each day? What do I want them to walk away when they lay their head down? Did I tell them about Jesus? Did I challenge them? Did we laugh together? Did we have enough time together at home? What did I learn? How can I do better?” It’s different for every family.
Here are NINE fun & simple ideas to spend time together that won’t break your bank!
Stay at home with the blow-up pool and water table and grill out in the backyard.
Take on a craft project together or do a puzzle.
Have a family game night and play like 5 different games in a row to see who wins the most.
Go to a matinee movie and take your own snacks, or splurge for popcorn!
Play hopscotch or teach them to ride a bike or rollerblade in the driveway.
Go let the kids help pick out plants, then come home and plant them together.
Pick pinecones up on a walk and make bird feeders with them (peanut butter and bird seed.)
Have the kids gather all the sticks in the yard and then have a bonfire for s’mores.
Let them help you cook and be your taste-tester.
It’s really the simple things right at home, that make the best memories!! If you are spending this quality time with them, then you should not feel guilty to say, okay, we’re going to rest now, and you are going to learn how to be creative and play by yourself too.
Adrian Rogers has this really great message, that would be a great listen in your alone time mom, that’s called: Too Blessed to be Stressed. It really goes along with a lot of the things that we’ve shared about to slow down, trust the Lord and release the stress.
Alicia, I wanted you to also share about your free workshops on your website and neuron coaching options if a mom is interested in contacting you. How a mom can get in contact with you today?
Alicia: Thank you. You can find all of the resources that I have at vibrantchristianliving.com (I do have a couple of free trainings there.) One of them, it would be vibrantchristianliving.com/mind, and that is helping you understand what are some of the thought patterns that are really driving the behaviors that we’ve been talking about? Like perfectionism, can’t rest, why do I feel like I know God’s truth, but I can’t believe it? etc.
My course, which is The Christian Mindset Makeover (vibrantchristianliving.com), that I have led hundreds of women through, is the process of getting to the root of what those thoughts are, renewing your mind using something called brain priming, which is a proven scientific process that is backed up by Biblical truth, and then learning how to protect those thoughts.
You can find out more at vibrantchristianliving.com or from my podcast, The Christian Mindset Coach with Alicia Michelle. You can find it on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. And Instagram is probably the best way to reach out to me on social media @aliciamichellecoach. Reach out…I would love to connect with you!
Mallory: Alicia, thank you so much for joining me today and sharing your wisdom with us!
Alicia: Thank you so much. It’s been an honor!
Mallory: To all the moms reading, thanks for joining! I hope this has been helpful! Please leave a comment with your favorite thing you learned today about resting or living simply. And follow us on Instagram @faithful31moms !!