How to Manage Mom Stress by Being Productively Lazy

Example 4: I’m doing dishes so it’s technically not “downtime,” but the kids are occupied elsewhere so I at least have my thoughts to myself. I start thinking about how hard my day has been or how lonely I feel being home all day or how I’m missing old friends and family…and I start down the road of negativity, which deflates my spirits for the rest of the day.

Since my lazy time is limited, I want to be sure that I’m making the most of it in order to manage my stress. Yeah that makes perfect sense, right?

Productive laziness can include mindless activity like TV and social media and random thoughts, but it cannot consist entirely of these things. I do much better when I limit myself. When I’m doing well, I’m not watching an hour or more of TV every night. I’m limiting social media to no more than five to ten minutes at a time. I’m taking control of my negative thoughts and finding more positive things to think about. I’m putting the to-do list away temporarily (even the mental one).

What Productive Rest Looks Like

Productive laziness often includes conversation—with my family, friends or God. It doesn’t have to be deep conversation, but it has to be something besides (or at least in addition to) staring at a screen together.

Productive laziness involves taking care of myself. That means I allow myself to sleep if needed, I enjoy good food, have a long shower, exercise in ways that I like, and just sit and be quiet and peaceful.

Productive laziness is positive and refreshing. I like to read and write. Occasionally I play the piano, go for a walk or grab a latte. Some people like to do art, garden, work out, do puzzles, or work on a hobby. Negativity is not allowed!

Productive laziness takes discipline. I know. I contradict myself. But it’s true. You have to at least think about it a little bit. And even plan it. And ask your friends and family to watch the kids.

Productive laziness takes priority. Perhaps the dishes need to go undone or the laundry needs to wait. They’ll be there for you later!

When I’m productively lazy, I don’t feel guilty about “me time.” What’s more, I don’t need a whole lot of it! Once I’ve been refreshed, I’ll be more motivated and energized to get back to my tasks—and be more productive. I’ll also be a better mom, better wife, better daughter/sister/friend. And while there might be toys scattered around the room or dishes in the sink, I’ll generally not care so much.

How’s your stress management going these days, mama friend? Are there some small changes you can make to add a little more productive laziness into your schedule? Yours doesn’t have to look like mine. Leave a comment and let me know what helps you! And if you want more tips on how to manage messy motherhood, subscribe to my newsletter and join our Facebook group for moms!

This article originally appeared at

Gina Poirier
Happily married, mom of three (plus one in the adoption process), writer/editor, disciple of Jesus, homeschooler, messy non-gourmet chef, recovering perfectionist, coffee connoisseur, lazy fitness enthusiast, arts and crafts impaired. Join her at Holding the Distaff on her journey of finding inspiration in the messy life we all encounter every day.

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