Do you believe me when I say seven p.m. is my preferred bedtime? These days with my 4:am wake up call it’s my reality. Last night I walked in the house after picking up the boys from tennis and stretched out on the couch with the book, Where there is no doctor, and an hour later my nine year old tells me,” Mama you have to go to bed”. I fail at being a super mom. I don’t know how the women who turn evening time into another morning full of energy muster up the ability. I’m flat out and it’s not a health issue. Perhaps it is, to the extent that to take care of my health I believe in giving my body the sleep it needs and not requiring it to get by on what it gets.
A few years ago I used to think I could get by on six hours of sleep every day, I even tried out five believing I would get more accomplished. I managed to be easily enraged, irritable and addicted to caffeine. I mocked those who napped during the day and boasted instead about how much I could do with that lost time. Now I believe that the best beauty secret is adequate sleep. “Beauty rest” is not a term the old ladies use to make the kids go to bed early, it is an accurate description for what sleep does for the way we look. And let’s face it, I’m not in my twenties any more. My face is less forgiving after missed sleep.
Before Kira joined my hip I used to take little naps before the boys came home from school. In those days I could make it until ten o’clock without feeling like a sloth. She naps from ten to one and those are my most productive hours working with Whitney. The opportunity for napping for this mama is gone. So when I put her to bed at seven, I walk to the other end of the house and prepare to put myself to bed as well. Or, fall asleep on the sofa and wait for Jack to tell me it’s time for bed.
The benefit of nine hours of sleep is that I can keep up with my five kids, house, pets, ministry, garden and not become overwhelmed but actually enjoy it all. My energy is high and my emotions remain steady. I wouldn’t believe it if someone told me when I was in my twenties that I could feel as good when I was in my forties. But I do. I am still the energizer bunny, but now I know when it’s time to call the day done.
The other rest I have come to honor is a day of Sabbath once a week. There has to be one day where I’m off duty. I literally check out from my life and call it goof off time.I am present with my family and enjoying the moments. Now that I can give myself this pleasure I seem to be more productive the other six days because I’m refreshed, restored, and rested. And there’s no built up resentment because “a mama’s work is never done”. We have to be smart and call it done for a day. God didn’t establish the Sabbath just for us to worship Him, he knew our limits and gave us the gift of a day off for our benefit. If God needed a day off after creating the world, perhaps we should see that as a good model to follow. I admit it has taken me most of my Christian life to embrace the one day of rest idea, but my goodness, when I surrendered to it, what a difference it has made in my life. My next self project ought to be my stubbornness. Wouldn’t my family be happy to see that slip out the door? (unlikely guys, some things are here to stay)