That’s all you really need.
That’s what one of my best friends said to me on the phone the other day. She went on, “The minute I get a little more of either of those? My day just seems to go so. much. better! And if I don’t have either of those? Let’s just say, it’s not pretty!”
I could be the perfect Mom if I just had enough Jesus, and enough sleep.
So… we could leave it there, perfect idealistic Mom-hood floating just out of reach, or we could explore together HOW to get more of those two essential ingredients?
Don’t we all want to be happy, contented, patient mothers?
Then why is it so HARD to get enough Jesus, and enough sleep?
Well, to be honest, for me the first answer is probably:
“Not enough self-control.”
Getting more sleep requires going to bed earlier (since the kids will be up at 7 no matter when I go to bed). And the Internet is just so tantalizing in the evenings, especially if you’ve been soothing cranky toddlers or slogging through first-grade addition problems with a stubborn 6-year-old all day… and if you have SLOW Internet, it’s even more frustrating, because you can only watch 3 seconds of a YouTube video at a time, but those 3 seconds are so alluring you just keep wanting more… and more... until a whole hour has blinked by and you haven’t even finished watching ONE STINKIN’ VIDEO.
Then you finally throw up your hands and say, “It’s not worth it. I’m going to bed.” But it’s already past 10pm, and it still takes a few minutes to get into your jammies, wash your face, brush your teeth… and you’ve been looking at screens for the last two hours, so you tell yourself you need some wind-down time in bed with a real book… which means its 11:00 before you finally turn out your light… and this happens. every. night. (And you’re one of those people who need at least 8 hours of sleep to feel good.)
So… late to bed means less sleep, which means it’s harder to get up before the kids, which means less time (or none at all) with Jesus in the morning… which means less awareness of His presence throughout the day… which means there’s a good chance the cycle will repeat itself that evening because you can’t hear that Still, Small Voice telling you what you really need.
“Marshaling and directing your energies wisely.”
I love that definition, because it implies that self-control is not just stopping doing something (which always feels impossible to me). Self-control can be a forward movement, channeling your energies into wise directions.
As Kat Lee says, “Choose what you want more over what you want now.”
For me, that means choosing to close my computer at a decent hour, even if finishing a project is what I desperately want now. It means winding myself down into sleep early enough to give myself a full 8 hours, so I can actually get up when my alarm goes off, so I can do what I want most: begin the day sitting in Jesus’ presence, receiving a fresh Word of truth.
Chances are, if I make those choices, everybody’s going to have a better day.
I might even turn into Supermom overnight. (Hah!)
Along with marshaling my energy wisely, another way I want to practice self-control is to make better strategic choices instead of indulging and then beating myself up.
Back to the YouTube videos: I think the ever-practical Kat would say, “If your Internet’s slow but you still need your fix, take a minute after breakfast to click on one or two choice videos (to let them load), and then watch them in that right-after-lunch sweet spot when the kids’ tummies are full and they’re happy to play quietly for a half-hour or so.” (Rather than fending them off at arm’s length with steadily increasing frustration as the Internet stalls again. And again.)
Now that would be a good strategic choice, and here’s why:
Limited number of videos (or __insert personal craving here__)
= controlled indulgence,
which equals sanity and refreshment, instead of guilt and remorse.
Marshaling and directing your energies wisely, and controlled indulgence.
Bingo. Self-control in a nutshell.
That Perfect Mom crown you’ve been dreaming about?
It’s actually within your grasp.
But seriously, though. With Jesus and sleep? We can do anything.
What keeps you from getting enough Jesus and enough sleep? Is there something else you’re not getting enough of these days that’s sabotaging your Mom-happiness?