This is Eric posting a letter that Dianna recently wrote to a dear sister in Christ who was struggling with caring for many young children. I (Eric) thought the wisdom Dianna shares here might be valuable to other mothers of babies and young children. So here it is:
A few things that helped...
>getting Eric on board... I finally kept a record for a week of how much sleep I was getting and how many times a night I had to get up. Showing him really opened up his eyes (and mine...no wonder I'm so tired...duh!). He realized how, at that point, "sick" I was from exhaustion (I was starting to get continual sore throats and fevers, diarrhea and stomach aches) and he became my greatest helper in trying to get rested and better again.
>committing to go to bed (in bed, lights out and falling asleep) before 9 every night for at least a month or two to heal. This was so hard and so good for me. I had to give up many social things and a lot of "quiet/no kid time" but it was so so worth it!
>B vitamins, vitamin D, and fish oil! They are amazing energy boosters.
>Taking a day off every couple of weeks. A few times, Eric let me lock myself in our bedroom and I literally, would lie flat on my back, drink a ton of water and eat Vitamin C and Zinc all.day.long. I would sleep whenever I fell asleep and if I was awake I would listen to sermons (but let myself fall asleep if I got sleepy) and read my Bible. I can't believe how much these days would help. It was my "mandatory" bed-rest day. :)
>hiring help...you already mentioned this...I hope you find someone! We were able to hire someone to clean our house for $30. She was a young lady and liked the extra cash. Not doing that physical labor and not having to make my kids do it, was extremely helpful.
> The book, Managers of their Homes, was very helpful. I don't live and die by a schedule, but taking the time to write out everything I want to do and putting it into a reasonable time slot is a wonderful exercise for me. I have had times where there is no.way.on.earth I could ever do everything I wanted to do. Duh, Dianna, no wonder you are frustrated and tired...it just isn't humanly possible to do it all! So about once a year, I write out a schedule and then I throw it away...it's just to double check that I'm not trying to do too much.
>Learning that if the Lord has not granted me time or energy to complete something, then it is not his will that I do that thing. Some weeks that means that the Lord doesn't intend for me to do all of our laundry, all of our school, all the possible social engagements, having people over, etc., etc. There are so many good things to do...and I must always be willing...but if the Lord does not provide the means than I shouldn't beat myself up thinking that some how I'm a failure of a mom/wife/teacher/child of God. It is so easy to walk into friend #1's house and see how neat it is and think, "my house should be like that" and then talk to friend #2 and hear how much school and fun projects she is doing and think "I really ought to be doing that if I want my kids to go to college" and then talk to friend #3 and hear how much she is doing in church and think "I really ought to be doing more in our church" and then proceed to go home, try to do it all and then drown in a frustrating, joyless, faithless pit or get angry and give the kids a hard time for being naughty while you have so much to do, because if you are going to do as much as you think you need to, you certainly don't have time to discipline properly and if your kids were as good as they ought to be, well...they shouldn't need it!!! um, yea... I've been there...haha! :P I had to learn to stop listening to the lies of Satan that said I needed to be everything for everybody or else I was a failure. I needed to listen to the Holy Spirit who was willing to give me faith, joy, peace, rest and a yoke that was light. I needed to learn to live a Spirit-led life as a wife and mother...learning to ask, "God, what do you want me to do with the next hour? Laundry, school or rest?" or "God, I have this pile left to tackle tonight, should I do it or go to bed?" I'm not intending to claim that God answers me on these questions, but he certainly at times filled my heart with peace at the thought of leaving the pile for the night. Before I would look at my piles and be filled with anxiety at all the evidences of my failures that day. Now, by God's grace, I look at the things that are left and think, "God is enough."
I hope you find the strength and encouragement that you need! I'll be praying for you! God is able!"