Parenting Through Exhaustion

Some days, life is a hamster wheel of responsibilities. Get up. Take care of the family. Make meals. Do laundry. Run errands. Pay bills. Clean up. Kiss kids good-night. Go to bed. Repeat. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

In such times, it's tempting to believe the routine of our days has little meaning. We are locked into survival mode, waking tired each morning and falling exhausted into bed each night. We cannot envision a life beyond more parenting tasks. It feels like forever, but none of it is true.

Every gesture matters

While we may wallow in the minuscule and mundane, the truth is that the very act of serving another makes a lasting impression in the life of a child. Parenting, by its very nature, puts focus on goals that are bigger and deeper than the immediate. And when you choose to keep going when you are utterly spent, when you take time to listen when your mind is full, when you reach out and pull in when you seek time away, when you do all of these you teach your child that they have value and that giving of yourself can benefit another. It is in self-sacrifice that we point others to Jesus. As we give to others, God will show himself to be faithful in equipping us for the tasks at hand.

Don’t sweat the trivial

Sometimes we get distracted with the details. And while it may not matter if we make macaroni and cheese or whole wheat Mostaccioli, it does matter that we invest in our growing children. They will not be small forever, and now is when we shape their hearts. When we keep life moving, when we kiss the scrapes and wipe the faces and comfort the tearful and redirect the wrong, we are modeling sacrificial love to our families. When we sit together and bow our heads to thank our God who provides for each of our earthly needs, we model putting God first. All these little acts of love that we make each day are investments in citizens of God’s kingdom.

God gives grace in frustration

God never promised us a stress-free life, in fact, he promises us that life will be challenging. In John 16:33 Jesus says, I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” We don’t need to get overwhelmed when we recognize that God walks with us through every struggle. Our God overflows with grace for us and he desires for us to live in that compassion. So even when we are weary and the days are long, even when we have said the same thing more times than we can count, even when we feel unsure, choose poorly, miss the mark and overlook opportunities, God is faithful. God is more sovereign than our ability to mess things up. As God has forgiven us, we too should forgive ourselves and lean on his grace.

Give yourself grace

Our God persists with us through all manner of difficulties and he challenges us to be faithful to the callings he has entrusted to us. So it can be helpful to reset our expectations. Pinterest perfect can be an enemy of healthy priorities. There's a lot that won't matter in a few years, so give yourself the grace to focus on what's important, not what is merely urgent. See challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. It matters that we get back to it, try again, and look at our family with fresh eyes. It matters that we are intentionally present and doing what we can on each day. Because the service we offer to those we love helps to build God’s kingdom.

Lean on God

God calls the weary to come to him and find rest (Matthew 11:28). We were never meant to do it all, God designed us to be dependent on him and in community with one another, not to be supermom solving all of the world’s problems. Take time to find refreshment for your soul so you have something to offer your family. And when exhaustion overtakes us and the evening arrives, we need only ask God to sustain us. Even when we are too overwhelmed to pray he intercedes for us. We can trust in his provision for us and for our families.

As we wait on the Lord he will renew our strength!

About the author — Nadia Swearingen-Friesen

Nadia Swearingen-Friesen is a writer and national speaker with a passion for empowering parents to approach their families with great intentionality and grace.  Nadia and her husband, Mark, are the parents of four children and live in the Chicago area. Nadia also blogs at

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