Four Reasons Why You Shouldn't Be an Exhausted Mother
Thursday, March 17, 2022
Written by Stacey Watts
I was scrolling through Facebook recently, laughing at the jokes, rolling my eyes at the political humor, and loving the scripture . . . and then a post that said: "If you're completely exhausted and don't know how you're going to keep giving this much of yourself day after day, you're probably a good parent."
Dude. If this is all I knew about being a mother, then I'm pretty sure I never would have given it a shot.
Are there days like this? Absolutely. The newborn days immediately come to mind; those nights when, for some reason, the kid seems to need zero sleep, yet the experts say that the little booger should be sleeping 18 hours.
But those days shouldn't last forever. And this should not be the norm of your whole life.
Girls, if you have a child over the age of 2 and your days still look like this, then it's time to take a little inventory of your mothering skills.
Are you doing too much? Remember that your job is to work yourself out of a job. With every passing year, your child should be more and more independent. By age 3, children should have basic chores. "Put your toys away. Put your dirty clothes in your hamper (and learn to start laundry as well). Put your trash in the trash can. Smooth out your bed linens (they may not be stellar bed-makers, but they can get a jump start). By age 5, they should be feeding the pets, watering plants, and starting simple cleaning tasks (wipe the counter in your bathroom). By 10 or 11, there's not much around the house that they shouldn't be able to do. Don't wear yourself out doing things for your children that they're capable of doing themselves; when you do that, you're falling down on your responsibility to teach your children how to effectively run a household, and you're also denying your husband (or yourself) some much-needed attention.
Are your children doing too much? Sure, extracurricular activities can encourage teamwork, result in new friendships, and teach responsibility, but going overboard with ball can also steal family dinner time, throw priorities out of whack, and result in less sleep and bad study habits. If you're not having dinner together as a family four to five nights a week, then rethink your schedule. They're not all going to the pros, y'all. The real world will probably not ask you to hit a home run, but you will absolutely have to know how to sort darks from whites.
Are they obeying you? Have you fallen into a loop of, "Oh, forget it, I'll just do it myself"? If you don't require your children to obey you, then don't be surprised when they disobey their teachers . . . and police officers. Disobedience is dangerous, destructive, and exhausting. Do you truly want a peaceful home? Obedient children are happy children, and happy children generally have happy mamas.
Are you treating your husband like one of the kids? Listen, you trusted him enough to marry him. Let him be an equal parent. When something needs to be done for your children, be sure you're allowing him to step in and be a parent. And if he tells you that you're doing too much for your children, listen to him -- chances are, he's right. God created him to lead your family, so by all means, let the man lead!
Dean of Parent Coaching, ParentGuru.com
Stacey is administrator and dean of coaches for John Rosemond's Leadership Parenting Institute.