A little over a year ago, I was burnt-out in my mothering. We had just endured a whole summer of my husband having to travel every week and I was completely exhausted from taking care of my two littles who were both under the age of three at that time. Not long after those stressful couple of months, we found out we were moving. It was a lot on our plate and we had to make several big decisions. I've mentioned before how I had a major breakdown during that time and God showed me a lot of areas in my heart that needed Him desperately.
During that time, I started making rash decisions. I quit my job that I loved and decided that I certainly couldn't handle homeschooling (it wasn't even time to make this decision so why was I worried about it?). I even declared that I couldn't possibly stay home with my babies another second longer and that I would need help since we wouldn't have any family close by when we moved. It was irrational thinking....
1. We lived an hour from family at that time which meant I didn't have baby-sitters a whole lot anyway.
2. Why did I feel I needed to make a schooling decision for my three year old and one year old? It wasn't time for that.
3. I loved my job and excelled in but quit.
I was making fear-based decisions completely irrational in my mind. Instead of realizing how exhausted I was, I decided I would just go ahead and change everything I was doing. Now don't get me wrong, if we have overcommitted then there is definitely room to take commitments off of our plates. What I was doing wasn't the problem in my case. However, I, or rather my exhausted self, was the problem.
Lately I have been thinking about that season of our lives and how I made decisions in the wrong way. I now see how NOT to make decisions and I want to share my thoughts on this with you, faithful reader.
Don't Make Important Decisions When...
1. You're highly emotional
A therapist that I saw last year often reminded me of this practice, "Jordan, you have to let your emotional temperature cool down before reacting." That changed my entire perspective when she said that. Far too often, we make decisions based off of our emotional state at the time. We ride our emotional waves and that is easy to do as a woman who has monthly surges in hormones. I recently had Amy Blair on my podcast and she talked about listening to your body and it was so helpful.
2. You're Tired or Hungry
It probably sounds crazy, but when I am tired or hungry I can't make clear decisions. Grab a snack, take a quick nap (or go to bed early) and try again tomorrow. My husband and I have had a lot of fights simply because we were both tired, hungry and overwhelmed in other areas of our lives. How many issues can be resolved if we just level out our blood sugar and rest? It also reminds me of the Snickers commercial where they say, "You're not you when you're hungry." Amen to that. It is a running joke in our house that when my husband starts getting grumpy right before lunch we all know to steer clear and feed the man.
3. You're Overwhelmed
If you're trying to raise babies, be a wife, volunteer, run a business and wear all of your hats, you're going to be overwhelmed. That is where I found myself last year as I was parenting two small children full-time, working very part-time hours, being a wife and trying to run a successful blog. It was A LOT. Then we started traveling with Mason as he worked away so much and it was really stressful. However, I now know that those seasons are not the time to make rash decisions. If you're overwhelmed, I want to encourage you to sit down and logically write it all out. Maybe you DO need a career change or to take something off of your commitments list. Grab a trusted, wise friend and ask them for advice and then make your decision.
When the clouds finally lifted during that season we went through, I realized that I needed to prayerfully reconsider a few things I tried to say, "NO" to. You see, I love being home with my babies. It is hard and never-ending sometimes, but I can't imagine not being home with them. I am thankful to be able to be home with them. It is not a blessing that I take lightly and I always thank my precious husband for working so hard to make it happen.
For several years now, I have wanted to homeschool my babies. It is a huge time commitment on me and I know that. I know that our days will look a bit different in the fall as we start homeschooling our oldest daughter. I want to homeschool. If you would have asked me a year ago, I would have said, "No way!". I was overwhelmed at the time and felt like I was failing my family. In hindsight, I needed a rest. I needed to wrap my mind around our big move and get settled before making a rash decision. I didn't need to beat myself up and change our entire lives around over a momentary stressful season.
I am so thankful that God worked in my heart through this season because here lately I have been loving motherhood. I don't take my job lightly and it seems like God is really speaking to me in the area of my mothering right now. I love being home with my babies and teaching them about Jesus. I fail a lot but I am truly content with it. Our oldest is about to turn four years old and I finally feel content in my mothering. I am not worried about what others think of my choices and my mothering. It has taken me a few years to really step into it fully and embrace it and even LOVE it.
I would have missed out on all of these blessings had I made the rash decision to change it all simply because I was overwhelmed.
Perhaps you're in a season where you feel crushed and perplexed. Even if you're not crushed in your mothering, maybe you're crushed and exhausted in another area of your life. I want to leave you with scripture that always encourages me.
2 Corinthians 4:8-18 says, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
Praying for you always, friend!