Blog by Jen Jesse
Yay, moms! We made it through another school year! Months of field trips, school functions, and teacher conferences all behind us. Bring on those peaceful summer days and popsicles by the pool! The kids will all hug and play quietly while we get some much needed quality time with our B-I-B-L-E…
Ha! The life of the stay at home momma. My “quiet time” is usually more of a “kind of quiet, but that just makes me wonder what those kids are actually up to” time. Oh, how we love it though! We all know we wouldn’t trade this life for anything, but it can be a bit tricky to keep your spiritual life a priority in the midst of it all.
Since we’re all in the trenches together and summer is here, here are a few simple and practical things to keep your heart and head sharp while juggling your day to day:
- Rely On and Relate To Other Moms
Remember that we’re all in this together! We’re all looking for another mom to relate to and share crazy stories with. Getting with other moms – not being perfect, but being real and supportive, is so crucial to staying sane and doing this life well.
Whether you’re naturally outgoing or tend to keep to yourself, look around at church or when you’re out and about with your kids this summer. Other mommas are looking for the same friendship and encouragement! It’s part of the universal language of motherhood. Some of the best, most uplifting conversations I’ve had have taken place in a messy living room, with messy hair in a bun and messy children running around throwing things.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
- Technology Is Good
These days it’s easy to become distracted with so many devices floating around, but technology itself can be a great thing! Utilize it to pursue wisdom while you go about your day.
We all have days when we feel torn between entertaining the kiddos or tackling the laundry monster that’s been growing in the corner. Picking up our Bible and settling down to actually read it is sometimes the furthest thing from possible. However, it’s those days where I go to my favorite podcasts, audio books, devotionals and Bible apps and listen to them while I attempt to get some work done!
Honestly, there are times when all I’m able to do is listen to my Bible app while I follow our toddler (A.K.A. The Tiny Tornado) around with a vacuum or drive my older kids to and from sporting events, but it makes such a difference when I just need to hear some Jesus!
“You can see God from anywhere if your mind is set to love and obey Him.”
A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
- Pray and Pray Some More
1 Sam 1:26-27 MSG
“Excuse me, sir. Would you believe that I’m the very woman who was standing before you at this very spot, praying to God? I prayed for this child, and God gave me what I asked for. And now I have dedicated him to God. He’s dedicated to God for life.”
In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah is caught praying and pouring out her heart outside the temple. The thing is, she wasn’t just praying a quaint little prayer. Hannah was praying so passionately that when Eli found her, he thought she had to be either crazy or drunk.
The life of the stay at home mom can feel very isolating at times, but praying is literally a direct connection with God! With prayer, you always have someone to talk to and He hears every worry and stress you may face. Your situation may not be the same as Hannah’s, but when you pray passionately, God sees it and honors it! Your kids will also see it, which is perfect because you teach them through your actions. It’s ok if they think you’re crazy at first, they’ll probably think that at some point anyway – it may as well be for a good cause!
- Cherish Your Season
I once heard it said that you can indeed do everything God has put in your heart to do, He just might not have called you to do it ALL TODAY. It’s normal to sometimes feel like you’re not accomplishing much being “a mom” on a daily basis. You may have dreams that go beyond the walls of your household, and are itching to get out and get started. Just know that God has called you to be a mom for such a time as this. Everything you do behind the closed doors of your home (or while your running around with your kids during the heat) is preparing and shaping both your family and yourself for what God has for you in the seasons to come! When you think of it that way, it’s harder not to be passionate in whatever stage of life you’re in!
Summer is a season, and in only a few weeks it’s back to the routines, early bedtimes and packed lunches. At the same time, just like summer, these days of raising children are just a season. The moments when you’re juggling the roles of house manager, freelance entertainer, chef and chauffeur don’t last forever. I’m told by much more experienced and wiser sources that these days go by too fast. From what I’ve gathered so far, they’re right. So, soak up the summer sun and every second with your little ones!
Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
BONUS: Ideas for When the Kids Get Antsy
I’d love to say that I’m like Mary Poppins and always have something in my bag of tricks. This, however, is very untrue. There are always times when no matter how many books, toys, movies, video games, and outdoor activities my kids go through, there’s still “nothing to dooooo”. Below, I’ve included just a few things I’ve done to tame the boredom beast plus a few tricks I plan to keep up my sleeve this summer.
- Go Park Hopping
Taking the kids to a different playground can be a fun change of pace for all of you. Bring a few snacks along and turn it into a picnic – even better!
- ANYTHING Water Related
Maybe it’s just me, but summer gets way too hot to just hang around outside all the time. Any kind of water play is a must. Water guns, an inflatable kiddie pool, a diaper clad toddler running with a hose; ALL GOOD OPTIONS. For younger ones, “painting” with water is like magic. Watch them create a masterpiece and then be so confused as it dries and disappears.
- Have A Dance Party
Ok…I know this one might not fly as well with the older kids who are “too cool” for such things – however, this still works wonders in my house! Whenever I see my small people turning into bored/under stimulated zombies, I pick some fun music and crank it up! After a song or two, they’ve used up some of that never-ending energy and have attitudes that are much improved. This is especially good for rainy days, when you can’t just tell them to play outside like you normally would.
- Sidewalk Chalk Free-For-All
This is a staple in our house. But it’s not just for the sidewalk – oh no! It goes on everything. The playhouse, the fence, brothers’ hair. Next time your children are begging for something to do, hand them a box of sidewalk chalk and let them loose. (Outside, preferably!) The kids will love it and it all just rinses away!
- Any Combination of the Above
A picnic dance party with water guns blazing and sidewalk chalk decorations?? You’re the best mom ever! Want to take it up another notch? Let’s see what they do when you add bubbles.