The Bible says that younger women are “to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God” (Titus 2:4-5). But it’s hard to continue to be “busy at home” when mom is exhausted, feeling overwhelmed by all there is to do in a day, especially if she adds homeschooling to her long list of things to do.
What are some common reasons that a mother gets tired?
1. Doing All the Chores Herself
If a mom has several children, her house gets cluttered and dirty quickly. She’ll have a lot of dishes to do, and a lot of laundry as well. The more kids she has, the more work is created. It can feel like a never-ending job!
But why is she doing it all herself? If God has blessed her with children, they can be helping. Toddlers can clear their own spot at the table, 5-year-olds can rinse dishes, put away much of the food, load and unload the dishwasher, and dry dishes (especially plastic ones). By 7 or 8 years, children can certainly hand wash dishes, except for possibly the most difficult pans, and put most of the dishes away in the cupboard.
The same goes for laundry. Children can begin helping at a very young age, even if it is only by learning to sort clothes into darks, mediums, and lights. Children can learn to dust, to mop and vacuum, to take out the garbage, to wash windows and mirrors, to feed and clean up after pets, to make their beds, and to put away toys several times each day. As they get older, they can help with gardening, making menus and shopping, preparing meals, and mowing the lawn. In fact, if a mother will just think about all the things she does in a day, she’ll discover that her children can and should be helping with almost everything, to the best of their ability.
A mother that has guilted herself into thinking she should do it all herself will be one tired mother!
2. Bickering, Arguing, and Fighting
If a mom has at least two children, she’ll soon discover that they won’t always get along. It naturally happens in every home, because every child is born with a sinful nature that wants things to be done his own way.
However, a mom’s responsibility is to teach her children to submit to others and to show genuine love and kindness in word and deed. These are character traits that must be trained and repeatedly enforced in a home. If children are constantly bickering, it is because their parents allow it.
Constant arguing wears on a mother. A mom that allows it will be one tired mother!
3. Infants and Toddlers That Won’t Sleep
No child likes to sleep. The world is an exciting place. If a little one has to take a nap, he might miss something!
However, little ones need plenty of rest, or they start to misbehave just out of pure exhaustion. They get hurt more easily, cry more easily, and have trouble getting along with others.
Of course, if a child is used to getting his own way and not having to obey, he won’t stay in bed when Mommy puts him there. He’ll argue, get out of bed, play with toys, whine, or throw a temper tantrum. The daily fight at naptime and bedtime just contributes to the fatigue and frustration in the home.
If a mom hasn’t trained her little ones to obey by staying in bed when told, she will be one tired mother!
4. Whining and Complaining
Whining can wear on the nerves of the best mother. Complaining is like a disease that infects an entire home. God has a very low opinion of “murmuring,” for we read that He punished the Israelites severely for their grumbling in the wilderness.
Whining is the opposite of thankfulness. Whining is also a bad habit, which means that children who are in the habit of complaining have simply not been taught the habit of saying “thank you.”
Of course, it doesn’t take a child long to figure out that whining works. If he can wear Mom out with his constant complaining, she’ll eventually give him whatever he wants.
A Mom who allows her children to whine and complain will feel like all her nerves are frazzled, and she’ll be one tired mother!
5. Finding Shoes That Aren’t Put Away
Children are naturally lazy (just like their mothers), and they will naturally leave their shoes, pencils, hair bows, toys, stickers, candy wrappers, and towels lying around. (Mothers have been known to leave things around, too.)
It’s really not a big deal—if it only happens occasionally—and if only a couple people live in a home. But as the family gets larger, more and more shoes (and pencils and hair bows and toys and towels) get left around the house, multiplying like bunny rabbits, until it becomes a major ordeal to put them all away.
A wise mother will teach her children to touch each thing only one time, putting it away in its proper place the first time.
The mother that never gets around to consistently teaching her children good habits will be one tired mother!
What Can a Tired Mother Do About It?
Here’s the bottom line: A mother needs to realize that if her children have bad behavior that is wearing her out, it is because she has allowed it. Once this mom admits her own responsibility, she won’t have a hard time fixing it.
- Children will act well when Mom (and Dad) require it.
- Children will act well when Mom (and Dad) consistently stick to the rules… day after day after day after day.
- Children will act well when Mom (and Dad) require good attitudes to match good actions.
“A double minded [mother] is unstable in all [her] ways…” (James 1:8).
Katrina Morgan says
Thank you so much for this article..I needed that. Printing off to re read, as needed!’
My (just turned) 7 year old is the designated difficult pot & pan scrubber. She can get those difficult pots & pans cleaner than anyone in the house and she’d been doing it for at least a year! So even a younger one can do that!!!!
Anne Elliott says
Awesome! This is good to know…
I read your website and often refer others, too. This week it was a lady recently diagnosed with adrenal fatigue. Thanks for all that you do! Your post today is so timely. I am not generally an undisciplined mother, but after 3 months of almost constant deadlines, BIG events, and general demands, I find myself, my home, and my children in a state of UNdiscipline. And I am one tired momma. I agree with everything that you said . . . it is just hard to know where to begin when it seems as if everything needs to be done at once . . . and so instead of doing SOMETHING, I sent the children out to play and I am here. I know that I’ll feel better when the house is in order and the children are back on schedule so I’ll quit procrastinating and go to work. Thanks for posting today!
Connie (tired mom of 11 very active and energetic – except when its time to clean the kitchen – children) 🙂
Serene in Singapore says
I am working on #1 for the older ones – including cooking and #5 for the younger ones, especially the 2 yr old! Thanks!
Ouch! But, of course, you’re absolutely right. =0)
Anne Elliott says
Ouch right back at myself, too. I’ve been cleaning all morning… and my brain keeps telling me, “Anne, if you don’t like the mess in the basement, it’s because you ALLOWED the kids to make it without cleaning it up!”
Hmm… sometimes I don’t like writing blog posts…
Anna Neudorf says
I read the article thinking… ugh! I don’t want to hear it! I have been worn out for a long time because there have been a lot of changes in our life and I can’t seem to catch up. I keep feeling like if I could just get everything in order…. And so comes the help of my three kids: 16 yr. old son, 12 yr. old son and 5 yr. old daughter. I make them help SOMEWHAT. SOMEWHAT is the problem in my life… I am a control freak and I NEED to let go and LET them learn and help out more so that I won’t be so worn out.
We live in the country and so the boys do work but they can help me more and especially our daughter.
Thank you for the article.
I was wondering if you have any article or advise on how to deal with tiredness as well as some unrealistic expectations placed on you by others.
This past week has been really tough. We had sick children, one who spent 3 days in hospital. Both mum and dad also had a touch of the flu so where tired out as well from that as well as the sleepless nights in hospital with the child…
anyway everything at home got behind especially the laundry pile turned into a mountain over night. Washing machines been playing up to so added to the stress…
Anyway we got a long lecture from family members who think we ought to have the house tidy at all times and never get behind. no sympathy or help offered for our struggles, just a totally negative attitude. HOW do you keep the house perfect with 11 pairs of feet trampling across the floor every day. How do you keep on top of the washing when it’s been raining, have no dryer and sick children who wet their beds every night…
Yes all of my children do lots to help, but there is still so much to do…. I know there are things i need to work on, but is it honestly a reasonable expectation to have the house look like one out of a magazine at all times?
Anne Elliott says
I’m typing on my kids’ little computer cuz we’re on vacation, but I just had to respond. This post was NOT meant to discourage you. Hard weeks like this happen to all of us, and you just need to overlook the clutter and frustrations and remember that you are human. I love the verse about how God cares for us and remembers that “we are but dust.” I can’t type much more tonight, but here are some posts…
This one is for when you might be able to predict that hard times are coming. (I have a chronic disease, so times like this happen often in our home, but I never know when. Believe me, my house can be a MESS at these times, It;s okay! Really!)
And this is just an enco0uraging one, to let you know you’re normal:
Gotta go… I’ll be praying…
I already commented once, but I’m back. This really was a hard post to digest. Maybe necessary, but difficult nonetheless. And just for the record you said: “Once this mom admits her own responsibility, she won’t have a hard time fixing it.” Admitting it may be the first step, but “fixing” it is sometimes REALLY hard. I’ve been “fixing it” for several days and it is still a mighty work in progress.
But, on a lighter note, and the reason that I am commenting again: I sent the link to this post to my husband. He knew all that I had been dealing with trying to get things in order and helping the children to get back into a routine – breaking bad habits and rebuilding better ones. He called me and wanted to know if you had talked to me before you wrote this post. It is so exactly what I was telling him before he left for work on Friday. I laughed.
I hope you enjoy your vacation. I’m spending my weekend trying to fix the mess created over months of too much busy-ness. I’m not complaining (really – if you could see my face you would know I am smiling). This is where I need to be and I am glad to be here. And I really do hope that you have a wonderful break. Blessings!! 🙂
Okay, I’ll take the bait. It’s my fault because I allow it. NO I DON’T! But the real truth is I don’t know how to train them. When my kids are fussing, when my kids leave their shoes out again, even though we’ve gone over it over and over and over and over (isn’t that training?), whatever, the only things I know to do are to pound on them (that means spanking), raise my voice, or take away something (toys and meals are typical). What else is there?? My kids help around the house, the rest of this I don’t know what to do to change it. Eventually this brick wall I’m hitting my head against will crumble, right?
Thanks Anne, I needed this wake up call! Just the encouragment I needed to motivate me to keep making the effort even though tired. My children’s current poor sleep, whining & messy patterns are the product of my reduced teaching & discipline the past couple of months. I need to draw on God to give me strength to make consistency in teaching & discipline a priority so we can all develop attitudes and behaviours that please Him.
Anne Elliott says
We’re home from our little vacation, and I’ve been thinking over your comments. Okay, now I’ll take the bait. LOL! I’ll try to write a post (or two or three) on HOW to train them, okay?
Many hugs to all,