I think we’ve all felt this before.
It’s nothing uncommon.
We have all of these hopes and plans we want to do with our children but we just can’t find the energy to do any of it. Whatever it may be from playing with them, having an intentional conversation with them or reading to them. You name it.
It all requires what feels like an endless amount of energy needed to do any of it. As a result we just feel guilty and like failures.
However, there are also seasons in which we don’t feel like we’re failing.
We have extra energy when we come home from work. We have good conversations with the kids at the dinner table. We pray with them and have meaningful heart-to-heart moments. Or we plan weekends away the family in which we truly make lasting memories.
But the struggle I’m referring to is when we get stuck in those unmotivated seasons for too long.
This is probably a good time to mention that as I write this post I’m also feeling unmotivated.
What if we could get better at getting unstuck?
I don’t think we can always avoid it as life always has its ups and downs but I do think there are a few things we can learn to help discern the source of our lack of motivation.
A Lousy Devotional Life
If you’re not spending time with God regularly and you don’t feel like pouring into your kids that’s a pretty good indication that things are starting to slip. If we can’t find time to connect with God, how are we going to engage with our kids’ hearts?
Not Doing What God has Already Told You
You may have prayed about something specific recently for your kids. Something you want them to grow in. For me and my family it is often the bedtime routine. Me and my wife thought and prayed about what we should be doing there and have received lots of good wisdom. Both through prayer and as well as talking to other parents. But when we find ourselves in an unmotivated season we find the bedtime routine starts to regress into old habits.
If you’re not following the instructions God has already given you, you will once again reap these negative outcomes. I don’t think there’s anything much more unmotivating than a kid who used to sleep well who now keeps you up at night.
Not Taking Care of Yourself
Are you getting enough sleep yourself? Are you eating healthy foods are you being active? This isn’t to say you need to be doing all these things to perfection as if training to be an Olympic athlete. But maybe the neglect of these physical needs has also become a source of your own lack of motivation.
Now, hold on. You might be thinking.
Am I simply saying do your devos, be obedient to God, start a diet and suddenly everything will be alright?
Yes. But sometimes it’s not that simple. The problem is that you don’t feel like doing any of those things. You probably already know you should be doing them.
But when we’re feeling unmotivated we might not have the energy to even do that.
So what can you do?
The following list contains both practical ideas as well as what I hope will be helpful perspectives to encourage you.
Draw Closer Not Away
When we feel unmotivated often we have a tendency to distance ourselves from our families. And God. We feel like if we just had a little more “me” time that would help us snap out of it. But that often ends up being more of a black hole. It drains more than it restores.
Try switching up one thing up during your routine. For me this is listening to worship music while driving. You could also listen to scripture or play a Christian audio book.
Secular entertainment does a great job of making itself accessible.
But try to switch it up.
Return to the routine
This is following the instructions that we have already received. When you know how best to run your evening with your family or just have some idea when it works out best stick to the game plan. Sure it won’t work out every time and so you need to be at abaptive. But trust that God wants to help you figure this out and stick to the game plan.
If you’ve deviated far from a successful routine maybe introduce it back gradually over a few days. Let’s you kids know in advance so you set up a proper expectation though.
Make Long-Term And Short-Term Goals With Your Family
This can be either in terms of what you’d like to work on personally with your family. Or how you can improve the functionality of your family’s routine.
The point is to have some goals that you can write down and look at. It gives you a game plan and has a positive effect of making you more aware of the areas you’re working to grow in.
It also gives you something to look back on a give thanks once you’ve worked through it.
Plan Something To Look Forward To.
This is usually leaving the house with your family to do something that you all enjoy. Like going to the movies, pool, Park, hotel whatever it is that your family enjoys.
But plan it out.
Spontaneity is good too but that’s not the goal here.
Let your kids know that you’re going to do something fun so they can get excited about it. It’ll help it stick better in their memories. And when your kids are feeling the monotony of the routine you can always remind them about that special thing that you are all looking forward to.
Try Something New
There’s a reason why we don’t watch the same movies or listen to the same songs on repeat. Although we might love and cherish them we eventually just grow sick of them.
We need something new to excite us.
Now this isn’t to be confused with over consuming as that is just taking this principle too far. Because what I’m talking about doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be travelling to a new country or building a new home.
It can just be sharing experiences that are new for your kids.
Things that you love but haven’t introduced to them yet. Things like songs and movies from your childhood or trying new foods. This last one is always a risk though.
Of course they won’t love everything you introduce to them but when they do you’ll find that your excitement gets renewed in that same thing.
I hope this helps.
As always, these are just some practical tips that I have found to be useful. The subject of feeling unmotivated can also dip into issues such as mental health which I have not addressed in this post. In that case you need to seek further help with your doctor. The tips given above are just meant to be simple things that you can try right away.
All the best getting unstuck.
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Kevin has been married to Jerrah-Lee 11 years. They are currently raising one human girl and one human boy. He loves spending time with his family, traveling and seeking out mildly life threatening situations. Although his wife does not fully support this last hobby, he hopes to raise kids that do.
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