spiritual mom brain

Mom brain is a very real thing. 

Moms are in charge of remembering all the things. What snacks we need. Appointments. Special homework assignments. Who’s struggling with what. Which child needs extra emotional support. Birthdays. Favorite things.

With all these things floating around in a mom’s head, it’s easy to see why our minds feel cluttered, overwhelmed, and exhausted.

In addition to being sleep deprived, moms also typically wear many hats, flowing from one job to another without a break, until heads hit pillows. Some days, my schedule looks a little like this.

6:00am – Alarm goes off. Dive into focused work before the kids get up.
7:00am – Kids are awake. Referee the breakfast making.
8:00am – Work Emails while the kids watch TV
9:00am – Staff Meeting
9:30am – School Time while keeping up with work
12:00pm – Lunch. Make sure everyone is fed a decently balanced meal.
1:00pm – Try to keep everything from dissolving into anarchy while tackling an urgent work need
2:00pm – Repeat until dinner
6:00pm – Switch to dinner mom mode. Maybe throw a load of laundry in. Catch up with the hubs. Answer eighty thousand questions, most of which are some variation of “I’m hungry, can I have a snack” or “What’s for dinner,” some of which are the deeper variety of “why is the sky blue” or “is youtube real?”
7:00pm – Clean up dinner. Clean up kids. Maybe shower myself.
8:30pm – BEDTIME. For the kids. Read a few chapters while they fall asleep. I won’t be awake much longer either.

Whew. I know you relate. Some of you are juggling lots of developmental ages. Some have a commute (when the world is normal-ish). I’m grateful to be able to always work from home! The lines get blurred between work and home, which is why my schedule can look like a disaster, but I’m grateful to always be around. 

Spiritual Mom Brain: Multi-Tasking

With all the multi-tasking and continual working, it’s easy to see why it’s hard to get our brains to shift into a lower gear and slow down to focus on God’s word. It takes a lot of work, and I want to resist adding more hard things to my already difficult life. But this one is worth it, and the more we practice, the more we train our brains to focus in. You’ll even start to enjoy it and see the benefits flow into other areas of your life. 

I can hear your protests already. I get it. I’m the queen of losing focus, of bouncing from one task to another without even thinking. While I wrote the above paragraph, I sent a few work emails, got lost in the Facebook time warp, set a few to-dos, and contemplated the schedule for today. Singluar focus is something I have a VERY hard time with, but it’s been proven over and over again to increase the function of our brains. And I can bet we’d all love a little more of that in our lives.

To be singluarly focused, instead of multi-tasking all the time, requires a great deal of discipline, especially if you’re anything like me. My mom brain is so tired from all the laps it’s running. 

You can set aside blocks on your calendar for focused work times, and while they may be a little more like jello and less like cement on the rigidity, it trains your brain to focus in and work hard for that short little burst. You’ll find you’re even more productive.

Spiritual Mom Brain: Time-Scarcity

I find I live in this world of time-scarcity. I feel like I have to do all the things all the time because otherwise I’ll run out of time. It feels like there’s not enough to go around, and I’ll be left wanting if I’m not hustling all the time. 

In the same breath, when I find myself with a chunk of time dedicated to getting stuff done, I feel so overwhelmed by the thoughts of what to do, that I’m almost paralyzed into doing nothing. 

The same is true for our spiritual life. 

When we think about sitting down and focusing on the Bible, or prayer, we have a long list of failed experiments that pop into our brain. There’s that time we ended up playing Candy Crush for 20 minutes instead of in the Bible app. Or the time we fell asleep, head on the table, “praying.” Or all the times we followed our checklist but nothing felt applicable or relevant to real life.

Spiritual Mom Brain: Ideas

There’s no one formula. Just as relationships are all a little different depending on the two people in them, our relationships with God will all look differently. We all relate to the world, the scriptures, to praying and worshipping a little differenlty, and thats ok. In fact, it’s more than ok. It’s the way we were created. We have a creative God who delights in all the nuances of the world. You were made uniquely you, and no one can tell you just how to experience God. 

For me, some things I’ve found helpful are:

  • To journal my prayers. I don’t mean a bullet list of prayer requests, but a word for word writing what I’m thinking. It’s like keeping a diary, but I’m talking to the creator of the universe, not myself or static pages.
  • To follow a plan. YouVersion Bible app has reading plans for all seasons of life. Some are short, some are more intensive. Some follow a topic, while others focus on a specific area of the Bible. Scroll through and select one. This helps me fight the “I don’t know where to start so I won’t do anything.”
  • I write down at least one scripture from what I read each day. This helps my mind to focus a little deeper on the words on the page, first to be able to select something to write down, and next to continue thinking about it long after I close the Bible. 
  • Reading actual pages instead of a screen has been more helpful in certain times of my life. When I’m lacking discipline or feeling stressed by all that’s going on, a Bible app is quickly minimized to move on to other things, and before I know it, I don’t have time to read the bible. Going back to basics and removing screens helps me focus when I’m stressed. 
  • Listening to the Word of God – both in an audio version of the bible and through biblically-based music, activates another sense and allows me to dig in deeper. I find I can do repetitive chores (folding clothes, unloading the dishwasher, sweeping the floor) while I listen, which helps the words to sink in with my learning style. This helps me consume a lot more of the Bible. I love the Dwell bible app for this. They also have plans. 
  • Illustration also helps me meditate on the words I’m reading. I can ask myself, what symbolizes what the Bible is saying here, or what imagery is the Bible using to make a point? 
  • Journaling out my thoughts – typically through a keyboard – can help me to get to the heart of the message and what is really speaking to me in my current events.
  • Setting a block on my calendar for time in the Word
  • Accountability and friends to text what you’re learning. 

Does mom brain affect your time with God, too? What have you found helpful in your pursuit of God?


Donna Reidland · at 8:01 am

This is a very insigtful post. I’m well past mom brain age but with ministry work, writing, a 90-year-old mom who lives with us, a wonderful husband who I don’t want to neglect, I’m frequently scattered and multi-tasking, too. But I also know that those who have young children at home can be especially challenged in these areas. I admire some of my young friends who are so creative in finding time with God and His Word. Your post is a great example. Pinning and sharing.

    Melissa · at 8:04 am

    Donna – you’re exactly right! It’s multitasking that gets us, not just mom brain. I’m grateful you stopped in today – your words are always so encouraging. Blessings!

    Anita Ojeda · at 8:06 am

    Back when our nest was full I used a lot of the same tactics you do 🙂 —especially journaling g my prayers, praises, and writing down a Bible verse. I also started the habit of getting up an hour earlier than everyone else—something I still do today.

      Melissa · at 7:25 am

      Oh yes – that extra morning hour is amazing. I’m tempted to fight the alarm, but it’s almost never worth it!

messymarriage · at 9:51 am

Great ideas, Melissa! I do several that you do! Writing out my prayers is chief among them and has brought me such joy and clarity over the years. Thanks for sharing this! I’ll be pinning and tweeting!

    Melissa · at 7:24 am

    I love that it’s brought you joy and clarity – that’s a perfect description! Grateful you stopped by!

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