Embracing The Need for Rest Without the Guilt

Written by Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life, Contributing Writer

My kids often ask why they have to go to sleep at all. 

Why isn’t an afternoon nap enough? Why do we have to sleep so much at night? And maybe most importantly to them, when are my parents going to bed and what am I going to be missing out on? 

Embracing the Need for Rest

These are deep questions to young kids, and of course there’s always the “because I told you so” approach to settle their queries. Honestly, there are plenty of afternoons and nights when that is the only response I feel up to giving.

You need to go to sleep because otherwise mama is going to go crazy. 

But there’s a deeper response that I sometimes give them, and it’s good for us all to reflect on too. 

Really I am thankful for all their innocent questions because when I take the time to answer them adequately, it becomes a learning opportunity for them and a good reminder for me. And even though we plan for more structured ways to teach them about God, these short conversations are often what take root most effectively. 

We were designed to need rest. Physiologically, emotionally, spiritually– we need time to reboot and reset. It’s true for my kids and it’s very true for me. 


This basic, but important, need is not without purpose. Sure we can overlook it and stick with the pithy reasons for why sleep is important. Ultimately, though, our need for rest points us to our limits and our dependence on the limitless One. This is what we tell our kids. 

It’s easy as mothers to start our day with a to-do list and plow through, regardless of the messages our bodies and minds are sending us. We are chronically busy as a culture. Whether you work out of the home or spend much of your time in the home, you almost certainly feel the same crunch and pressure to do it all

A daily rest time is typically one of the first things cut when our schedule are bursting at the seams. The dishes and the laundry and the errands and the demands of our planners and people in our lives take precedence over our needs. 

We do and do and do until we faint from exhaustion or snap at our kids because we are so stressed or get sick because our bodies are worn down. 

We need to know our limits and embrace our need for rest without feeling guilty that we are not doingallthethings. Because when you can’t do it all, you need to prioritize what really matters. 

Let’s give ourselves the freedom in our schedules and permission to not feel bad about recognizing our need to take care of ourselves, even while we are taking care of everyone else. You may feel like you are neglecting your lists, but what you are really doing is simply making a different choice and coming out more ready to be a better wife/mother/friend/worker/person. 


So, what does daily rest look like for you? 

Maybe it looks like a short reset with a coffee and a book while your children have independent play time.

Maybe you listen to an audiobook and take the long way home while you breathe deeply after a day of work. 

Maybe what you really need is to take a nap while your baby naps. 

Maybe all it takes is a good conversation with a friend that makes you laugh or think or remember you’re loved. 

For me, it most often looks like a period of quiet time during my kids’ afternoon rest times. Not all of my kids nap anymore, but they all have their own rest time in their rooms. And while the house is quiet, this introvert savors the silence and soaks in the break from using all my words and meeting everyone’s needs. 

Let me encourage you to figure out what is you need to give your mind and body the attention it deserves. Make rest a part of your day.You were created for such. 

About Lisa

Lisa is married to her best friend and has three inquisitive and energetic kids. She loves crafty things like sewing and painting and actually enjoys cooking with her kids, and making crackers and pasta from scratch. In the busy fullness of life with young children, Lisa strives to live faithfully, remembering the hope of the gospel in all the everyday things. She blogs about a "pilgrim life", living in grace now and waiting for a more permanent, eternal home at thispilgrimlife.com.