I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of rest lately. As a parent to three young kids, my days are quite busy. For 12 hours each day, I’m running at full speed in every direction. I’m playing, fielding questions, cleaning, preparing food, going on errands, and in the middle of all of that, trying to parent.
For a period of time, I thought that the problem was that I wasn’t getting enough sleep. I have my schedule programmed so that I have four hours a day to myself. An hour for exercise, an hour for starting the day, an hour for reading, and an hour for getting anything else I missed. Four hours out of sixteen is not nearly enough, but it’s all that I have.
On days when I oversleep, my whole schedule is messed up. Since I still want to exercise, I end up taking away my evening downtime. That, or I have to sacrifice some other family bonding time.
What I’ve found is that rest keeps me in equilibrium. It’s having the time in the morning to get my exercise done and the news read before my kids are even awake. It’s cooking, cleaning, and playing throughout the day. It’s getting the kids to bed on time and finishing up any other outstanding tasks. It’s reading for an hour right before bed, which has the added bonus of putting me to sleep considerably faster.
When I work hard throughout the day, I get a reward when the day is over. Walking through a quiet house, with everything picked up and put away, fills me with a deep sense of peace. That peace greets me in the morning as I go through my starting ritual. The quiet, still house soothes my soul. But if I’m honest, the noisy house filled with children brings me joy.
Life as a parent, especially one of young children, necessarily means a chronic case of fatigue. That fatigue only defeats me if I let it. Define your values, identify the things that you absolutely must get done during the day to feel at peace, and never give in to “I deserve a break today” syndrome.