We’re only in the first week of Advent, but I’m already hearing from parents who are looking ahead to the finish line (whatever that might be? Christmas? Spring? Empty-nesting?)
I hear you. I’m tired too.
“The Prayer Book for Tired Parents: Practical Ways to Grow in Love of God and Get Your Family to Heaven” launches tomorrow, and the past couple weeks have been much busier than usual: from everything with the book to prepping for our first craft show (rosary wrap bracelets, Gigi’s polymer clay earrings, and our BOOK!), to home renovations and finishing Gigi’s second quarter of school – and working full time and doing all the normal parenting things…!
Amidst everything that’s going on, there’s peace in our home. We’re busy and tired, but we’re not anxious. We’re not stressed. We’re not at each other’s throats. We’re ENJOYING the season of preparation for the coming of Christ.
If you’re tired too, and you don’t want to make things worse, here are five strategies that have been working for the Cowdens:
- We’re keeping ourselves fed and hydrated. The only thing worse than tired parents is tired, HANGRY parents. You owe it to yourself and to your family to be properly fueled and hydrated.
1.5. We’re not over-caffeinating. I drink about 12 ounces of coffee in the morning, and that’s it. When I’m feeling the mid-afternoon rut, I either drink water, do 25 bodyweight squats, or spend 5 minutes doing a quick chore. More caffeine does NOT mean more productivity!
- We’re sticking to a schedule. A LIFESAVER has been breaking our day into three shifts – morning, afternoon, and evening. We plan ahead as much as possible, set realistic expectations for what we can accomplish, and we write them down so everyone is on the same page. It’s not always perfect, but we’re deciding how to spend our time instead of wondering what happened to it.
2.5. And we consistently get to bed at a reasonable hour.
- We’re prioritizing Daily Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, and family prayer. St. Francis de Sales is credited for saying something to the effect of, “Everyone should spend thirty minutes in prayer daily, unless you are busy – then a full hour is needed.” I can’t find the source, but whoever said it first was right. Sure, we only have a limited number of hours in the day, and skipping daily Mass would save us at least 1.5 hours, but there’s no better way to spend that 1.5 hours than in the presence of God. After all, we say that everything we do is for love of Him – so we’re putting our money where our mouth is. And you know what’s interesting? The time spent in prayer and at Mass overflows in our home. We feel God’s peace. We receive the graces of the Holy Eucharist and of praying as a family. We are daily reminded of the purpose of the season of Advent. We are never too busy for God.
3.5. Going to Daily Mass means we’re all getting dressed to get out of the house. There’s something special about putting on a fresh outfit that perks us up. And the change of scenery is good for the kids, who would otherwise be in the house most of the day.
- We’re offering the day for specific souls/intentions. Getting through the day becomes much more meaningful when we offer our joys and sufferings for a specific soul (Holy Soul in Purgatory). It can be as simple as, “Jesus, I offer this day for love of you, for [name the soul], and in reparation for my sins.”
4.5. This is not just something to do in November for All Souls, but can be done every day of the year!
- We’re committed to enjoying the season with our children. I wish this were a no-brainer, but when we grown-ups get tied up in all the busyness, it often means our little ones get pushed off to the side. We take time each day to enjoy the company of our children – to play together, do crafts, read books, to watch a movie together. Our kids are the fruit of our married love, gifts from God, and we want to enjoy them as long as possible!
5.5 It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Our kids just want us for us.
We want YOU to experience the peace and grace we’ve experienced. It IS possible for parents – as tired as they are – to have a fruitful- Advent.
What would YOU add to the list?
For more practical ways to grow in love of God and get your family to heaven get The Prayer Book for Tired Parents – available December 1!
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