Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Weary mothers

This educational year has been good, in many ways. There have been two "official learners" and they have both made progress but for me, a recurring theme has been tiredness.

I don't, for a moment, think I'm the only one or that my load is heavier than anyone else's. Yes, objectively, I am busy: home educating two of school age and with another under school age, two older children who are  taking exams, a husband who works most waking hours and being a carer plus trying to keep up with a big garden and a house for all of us. But other people are equally busy or more so. Many people are home educating with more children than I have. Others have poor health or children with long term illness.

So how should we view tiredness? I'm not talking about tiredness from medical conditions but the tiredness from volume.

When I looked at the Bible, I realised that there were injunctions to avoid idleness but not tiredness. The Lord Jesus was tired during His life on earth. There are many encouraging texts, particularly, the one that has become almost my motto, over the last three years:

My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians   12v9

On a day to day level, I've found tiredness hard to manage. Perhaps, partly because of my professional background. I was a junior doctor in the days before hours' limitation. A weekend on call meant arriving at work before 9am on Friday and not leaving the building until well gone 5pm on Monday. I never had a weekend with no sleep at all but theoretically that could have happened. Certainly, there were many weekends with very little sleep-I was far too tired to count the hours. In many ways, this experience was useful. I learned that nothing dreadful happens with an hour or two less sleep. Yes, being very sleep deprived did lead to consequences. I used to walk home from the underground station, after a weekend on call, and more than once investigated black bags on the ground to see if they were tramps needing resuscitation.  There was also the awful "Everyone is against me" feeling from prolonged sleep deprivation.

As a result of this experience, it becomes hard to know when being tired is too tired. When does stopping mean that I'm pandering to myself and neglecting my family and when is it necessary for the well being, not only of myself but of my family? There is certainly enough work around here that I could work 24/7 and probably a bit more and still not be quite on top of everything.

I've fought with this one. My conclusions are hard battled and I'm not sure that I always keep to them.
  • The Lord's Day is a day of rest from secular work; that includes non-essential housework and home education preparation. 
  • Time reading God's Word and praying has to come before other, non-emergency, tasks. 
  • My husband is much more aware of when over-tiredness is affecting my mood. He is right when he says I have to stop.
  • A happy house is more important than a tidy house. Usually though, I'm choosing between clean and happy which is more difficult!
  • Having the children occupied quietly after lunch gives a few minutes to catch up and even read.
  • I can't do everything and in particular, I can't do everything that I see other people doing. Their circumstances may well be different. 
  • Pray.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 
1 Corinthians 10 v13


  1. So there with you, especially today! hugs.

  2. Very true. Thank you Sarah. May the Lord enable you daily to carry your burdens and give you joy in the midst of them. xx

  3. Caroline, I read your post-you sound so busy. It is a joy to know that the Lord knows and has planned the things we have to do.

  4. I found this really helpful Sarah, I know my load is nowhere as heavy as yours but perhaps because I don't want to be idle in my single years I overdo it most of the time and then battle with tiredness most of the time. Really helpful post.
    Liz, Cornwall.

  5. Liz, good to hear from you. I remember the being busy at work/don't want to waste time outside work theme-a difficult balance.

  6. I too found this post really helpful, thank you.