One of the hardest things to do as a woman is to relax.
Think of all the things that we have going around in our heads at any one time: everybody's schedules, doctor's appointments, what we're making for dinner, what's in the fridge, what's on the grocery list, whose birthday is coming up, creative discipline ideas, projects at church, and the list goes on.
But the problem is that we have to find a way to contain those things so they don't spill over into our whole lives. We've all known times when we haven't been able to be good moms, or we're not really "present" with our husbands, because we have so many other things on our minds!
So how do you relax?
I think we all need times to rejuvenate, everyday, just us by ourselves. That can be hard when we have little kids, or when we work full-time, or when we homeschool, or even just when we have busy lives.
So here's what I recommend: when the children are little, teach them to nap. And it is a skill! Too many of our children won't sleep unless they're lying on us or walking in a stroller. You have to teach kids to fall asleep in their cribs, and that means not always rocking them to sleep. You have to leave them in their cribs awake, and let them fall asleep on their own, even if it means they cry initially. You're actually doing them a favour. Teaching someone how to fall asleep on their own is such a blessing, because it's a great skill to have!
Then take that time for yourself, even if it's just to nap or take a bubble bath. But don't do something useful! Don't vacuum, or pay bills, or anything else. Just take some time just for you.
The other stuff can get done. Position the baby in the room with you while you clean, and talk to them later. I used to put the play pen near the computer, so I could pay bills while singing with my child. But when they had naps, that was my time.
Then, when they get older, keep the tradition that for half an hour or an hour after lunch everybody is in their own rooms. They can be reading, playing, or whatever, but they're quiet in their own rooms. Trust me, you will thank yourself later for doing this! But giving everybody some downtime after lunch is so relaxing. And if you start young, and make it a habit, even the most rambunctious boys will often comply.
If that won't work for you, here are some other ideas to get times to yourself:
Trade baby-sitting with a friend. You take her kids two mornings a week, and she takes yours. Then spend one of those mornings doing errands, and the other one just relaxing.
Arrange for your husband to put the kids in bed so you can have a bubble bath. Explain to him that you need this time for yourself so that you can be more "with" him later! Otherwise as soon as the kids are asleep you'll want to be off on your own to make up for all that time by yourself you didn't get during the day.
Go to a gym where they have childcare! Leaving your children in a high-quality gym childcare isn't the worst thing in the world, and many women find working out relaxing on the brain, if not on the body!
Take walks with your children in strollers. If they fall asleep, you can just contemplate the fall leaves!
Allow your children 1/2 an hour to an hour of videos or TV a day, and use that time for yourself: to read a book, do your devotions, or just to rest.
If you're at work, leave the building for your break or your lunch. If you stay, chances are someone will want to talk to you. Try to get out on your own!
Remember, we all need downtime. If you try to take every available second to get your housework done, you'll feel worse in the long run. You need some quiet minutes everyday just to clear your head. It makes you a better mom, and it makes you a better wife.
So make it a priority to carve out some time for yourself! Make sure everyone else in the family realizes this is a priority, too! You'll find yourself feeling very rejuvenated!
About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.