Parents have a lot on their plates.  Even when everything is normal — the daily routine hums steadily with cleaning, cooking, running errands, kissing owies, and paying bills — I wouldn’t be surprised if your default mode is exhaustion by the end of the day.  I know it is with me.

But take the daily load and add some unusual circumstance, an unexpected kink in the routine, or a family crisis of some sort, and you can easily add emotional weariness to that physical exhaustion.

In moments like those, you have only one key that opens the door to your sanity: grace.  Heaps of it.  For yourself, and for those around you.

Are you in one of those unique moments in life?

I am.

Perhaps you’re in the throes of parenting a newborn.
Maybe you’re a first-time mama.
The typical breadwinner in your family is still looking for work.
One of your children is going through a physically debilitating circumstance.
Maybe your entire family structure is rearranging, and not in a good way.
Or it could be a simple walk in the valley called depression.

If you’ve got stress of any type in your life, it affects your physical well being. This basic inventory by psychologists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe lists the most common stressful events relating to life change.

Note which of these you’ve experienced in the past year, and total the number.  If your total is over 300, you have a high stress level, and an over 80 percent chance of physical illness because of it.

Personally, my total right now is 484.  Guess that means I’m stressed.

We’re in the process of relocating to the States for one year, which means my husband is currently in our host country packing up our home, and I’m in the U.S. unpacking our new home.  All of this has been a complete surprise to us in the past month.  I’m also parenting our two littles.  And oh yes, I’m pregnant with minor complications.

We all have these seasons in life. They ebb and flow as the wind changes.  And when you’re in one of these unique circumstances that will inevitably end (even if that end is unseen at the moment), grace is the only way you’ll plow through.

Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

Grace means knowing where you stand in life.  Whose you are.

It also means making sure you get enough sleep, sunshine, and exercise.  It’s spending lots of quality time with your spouse and children, and it’s getting enough intentional downtime.

In short — it’s taking care of yourself.

Are you in one of those challenging seasons of life?  If so, are you giving yourself grace?  I hope so.

Take care of yourself, mama.

And also…  Because of this unique time in my life, I wasn’t able to load the questions for this week’s Book Club discussion yesterday (like how I tied all this in?).  They’re up today, so if you’re reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families

, join us!  Or even if you’re not, please pop over and throw in your two cents as well.

If you take that inventory, are you up for sharing the stress level in your life?  If you’re in a stressful season, in what ways are you showing yourself (and others) grace?