What does your day look like? If you’re like me, it is filled to the brim with things to do, people to feed and care for, and a myriad of assorted tasks that spontaneously appear throughout the day. I wake up, hit the ground running, and fall into bed at night, exhausted from the day’s work.
Now, I’m going to ask you a much more difficult question…
What does your mothering look like?
While motherhood is most definitely an exhausting job (and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!), it shouldn’t be utterly draining. Being tired comes from a place of leading a full life. The feeling of being drained comes from finding yourself running on empty far too long and far too often.
When I wrote my now infamous post on the Me Time Myth, I did not realize how important my opening paragraph actually was to the whole Me Time equation…
“I once heard a talk show host give a very compelling argument for why moms need time away. He said mothers give and give to the point of empty. They must refuel themselves so they can continue to give.”
~The Me Time Myth
We give until we are empty. And then, we think the only way to remedy that is to get away and refuel. But, that’s a cycle you can’t break free of. You will find yourself endlessly EMPTY because you have no idea how to refresh and refuel within your own home among your own people.
And your mothering will suffer.
A mom who is always drained, always running ragged, always fed up and tapped out will never be the mother she truly wants to be. And frankly, this isn’t the kind of mother I want my children to remember, nor the kind of parent I want them to become.
How to Avoid Burnout as a Mom
Charlotte Mason once wrote, “If mothers could learn to do for themselves, what they do for their children . . . we would have happier households.”
Karen Andreola coined the term “Mother Culture” to describe this feeding of a mother’s soul, mind, and body in order to create a rich environment that never brings her to a point of emptiness. (or avoids it as much as humanly possible because I am well aware that “never” is pretty tough to come by)
Related video: What to do when mama is burned out. (just in case you are already there)
You might be wondering what in the world this Mother Culture actually is, and how in the world you could ever manage to fit one more thing into your day. But, trust me, this isn’t nearly as complicated as it sounds, and it is such a lifesaver for the busy, overwhelmed mom.
How do I start building Mother Culture?
1. Find whitespace in your day. As I said in the beginning, my day is filled to the brim. I’m sure your day is too, but I’m guessing some of those moments you filled yourself (I know I did!). So, the first thing you have to do is start looking for whitespace or margin in your day. Here are some ideas to help you:
Put your homeschool on autopilot – outsource and systemize certain subjects so you don’t have to do ALL of the teaching.
Pare down your list of Must-Do’s – You cannot do it all, and you will not find balance every single day, so keep your day simple and stop piling extras into your life that are not truly necessities.
Put systems in place – Every stressor, every monotonous task, every daily grind on your list needs a system. Not only does this create consistency, it creates routine that can be done without a lot of brain power. When you don’t have to spend time thinking about something, you automatically create more margin your day!
To learn more about putting systems in place that specifically help the homeschool mom, get my book, Home Management for the Homeschool Mom!
2. Don’t fill the whitespace. Once you find whitespace in your day, keep it white! You have to consciously teach yourself to NOT fill it with projects, to-do’s, cleaning, email, etc. They may be “good things,” but the quickest way to burn out is to fill your day with LOADS of good things. Learn to just be.
3. Slowly, bring a tiny bit of mother culture into your whitespace. I recommend a book. No, not a book on homeschooling or decluttering or cooking. A book that has nothing to do with self-help, and preferably fiction. Read for a few minutes. Yes, a few minutes. As Brandy Vencel says, Mother Culture doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Allow yourself to soak in a paragraph or two, and then put a bookmark in your place and set the book down where you can find it again.
4. Learn to build mother culture into your every-day. I want you to learn to keep margin in your day, so I don’t want your whitespace to be all mother culture. Thankfully, the very essence of mother culture does not require you to do things apart from your family and children in order to enrich your life. You truly can build mother culture into your every day life.
For instance, I started my Mother Culture journey by sitting down to do my kids’ Chalk Art lessons with them. I had spent years facilitating and mediating art in our home. It never occurred to me to actually do it WITH them! The Chalk Art lessons from You ARE an Artist are the perfect place to start because chalk is VERY forgiving, and the lessons are simple enough that they don’t require you to expend a lot of energy helping your kids with the lesson. Our family has a Clubhouse subscription, but you might want to start with something like the History lessons or the seasonal lessons. (This Fall video series is a favorite of mine!)
If you are like me and need a list of ideas to get you thinking more about how to incorporate Mother Culture into your day, here you go…
Examples of Mother Culture Activities
Read a book
Listen to music
Sing or play an instrument
Go on a nature walk
Study a painting
Try different art mediums & styles
Study a flower
Get a subscription to a “pretty” magazine – Country Sampler, Victoria, Tea Time, The Magnolia Journal
Go outside and use your sense to just observe
Put pretty scripture cards up around your house
Get a “coloring” Bible – this is the one I have
Ultimately, the best way to implement a life of Mother Culture is to do projects/art/life alongside your children, and then pursue a few interests of your own outside of school hours – just as you would encourage your children to do. You are setting an example of what a rich ADULT life looks like. We are aesthetic creatures made by an aesthetic God. Think on these things and learn to live in abundance!
Get a FREE Mother Culture Planner from Everyday Graces to help you in your journey!
CLICK HERE TO START PLANNING!