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Home > Support > Mothering > Do you have any wisdom to share on setting realistic goals?
 
 
Question: I am a homeschooling mother of five children ages 7, 5, 3, 22 months and 1 month. I am truly thankful to God for our beautiful children. He has been so loving and merciful to entrust these little ones to my care. Lately though I feel overwhelmed and tired physically and emotionally. I realize I am only one month postpartum so perhaps my expectations are too high. I feel restless and irritated when things don't get done. I do have many good moments during the day. I feel as though my children truly try to please me and make me happy and this deeply touches my heart. My husband helps with everything and tries to ensure that I get the rest I need. With so many little ones though I feel like I am running a never ending marathon. I realize these years pass quickly so I want to cherish this beautiful time in my life. Do you have any wisdom to share on setting realistic goals?
Answer:

Dear Mom,

Your letter was beautifully written and spoke with such tenderness about your role as mother to your family. I think that you are very wise to look closely at the demands you are placing upon yourself. Let me see if I can give you some shared wisdom. There was a time (and it doesn't feel like all that long ago) when we had 4 children under the age of 6.

You are correct those days of piles of laundry, mountains of dishes, and clutter everywhere seem to stretch out forever. Sometimes it is impossible to think that this will all come to an end. But as you stated, it certainly does come to a close in the life of a family. As children get older and better equipped with skills that make their help a blessing, you will find that the burdens of homemaking are lightened quite a bit. But in the interim it is important that you look carefully at the things you can do to ease burdens right now.

Make certain that you are in good health. If you feel that you need to speak with your health care provider about your physical condition, then do so as soon as you are able. This person will be in a position to determine if your recuperation is on target. Many times mothers in the postpartum phase of childbearing need extra vitamins, etc. to help them recuperate properly. Please talk with your health care provider. Probably the biggest mistake that many healthy new moms make, is they push themselves far too fast during the recuperation of postpartum.

It takes 9 months to bring a pregnancy to completion and I feel like it takes another 9 months to fully recuperate from one too. Do not hesitate to discuss your emotions with your husband, a friend or your health care provider. If at any time your emotions scare you or make you feel out of control, then seek advice quickly.

Go through your house and declutter. It is far easier to navigate the toys and such of an active household when there isn't quite so much there. Take care and pack away all knick-knacks and the like. They are just reasons to dust. Keep this phrase in your mind: "People are more important than things."

Homeschooling is demanding, even on the best of days. But it also true that homeschooling gives you a great deal of freedom. If your 7 year old is up to task with his schooling then it is perfectly feasible to take some time off from formal academics. Give yourself some time to fully recuperate. Perhaps what little is truly required of a 7 year old could be accomplished in the evening when your husband is there to help. Your 7 year old is really the only student that you have in the homeschool. Remember that play is the very serious work of children. They go at it with eagerness. Keep in mind that they are learning all the while they are playing. If your 7 year old is reading, keep this skill current. Reading to him or having him read aloud to you will be the better portion of homeschooling at this time, while you are recuperating.

Try to get yourself and household on some type of routine. I am referring to naptimes in particular. You need extra rest. It is a must that a new mom gets plenty of sleep. I think that sleep is the most prized ingredient in a happy home. Everyone's sleep. J Just dozing in the rocker while nursing the baby can be very refreshing.

Decide which household chore you have to do that is the most critical. For me it was always the laundry. I always felt like little people could eat very simply, so cooking elaborate meals was out for some time. When you decide which chore you feel you must have done each day, then make that the only demand on your time. If a clean towel is what your husband needs to start his day, then that is the priority.

In a household where there are several small children it is safe to say all tasks are priorities but not all tasks are at the top of the list. Decide what you can and can not do. This is a far better way to approach the work of homemaking.

Make time for prayer your personal priority. Spend those quite moments when you are rocking the baby to pray and refresh your spirit. Give the burdens that you are unable to carry to the loving Jesus. Close your eyes, slow your breathing, and concentrate on the prayer you offer to the Lord. Let that time with Jesus be your special time with Him and tell Him everything that is on your heart. Jesus wants to care for us during times of stress and hardship. His tender care is able to be experienced and felt in many ways. If you are able spend some time in the presence of Holy Eucharist. Perhaps your church has Eucharistic Adoration. Ask your husband or friend to watch the children for you, so you can steal away for a small amount of time. Sit there before the Lord. His presence alone is curative and powerful.

Make time for friendships. Friendships that bring you together with other mothers in similar situations are healthy ways to work through problems. Certainly these friendships should not become a burden, but seeing friends and their children every once and a while is pleasant. Make plans to meet at the park or other such place so that no one person is burdened with people at their home.

God love you and the purity of your heart. You are a witness and it has been a blessing to me to read your letter. I am certain that as you begin to feel stronger your energy level will rise to meet the demands of your family. In the meantime, keep talking to your husband and keep exploring ways to better care for yourself and your children. I have always felt and still do that the days spent in mothering the gift of children are the days that I am working hand in hand with the Lord. How awesome is His goodness and tender care of each of us.

Jesus, we bring before You this afternoon the needs and concerns of our dear sister in Christ. Jesus, we praise You and thank You for the gift of children. A treasure of the highest order is the birth of a baby. Lord, please send Your comfort to this new mom. Lord, she feels heavy burdened with responsibility and work. Send the Holy Spirit to her household and empower her and her husband with the skills necessary to do the work well. We love You, Lord Jesus, and know that You are always there for us in times of stress. Soothe our tired spirits with the balm of Your love. Help this dear mother to rest peacefully in Your arms when she prays this evening. Make certain that she has plenty to eat and people who will care for her while she is restored to full health. Amen.

Sending out a prayer,
Rita Munn

   
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