What do you do when quiet times aren't so quiet? Here are 10 creative quiet time ideas for those in the trenches of motherhood. | IntentionalByGrace.com

When Your Quiet Times Aren’t So Quiet

What do you do when quiet times aren’t so quiet? Here are 10 creative quiet time ideas for those in the trenches of motherhood.

Before I became a mom, I was a stay-at-home-wife. Before I was a stay-at-home-wife, I had a career held an office job with an hour lunch break every day. Before I worked in an office, I wasn’t a Christian so it’s pretty much null and void for this discussion.

As an employee in an office setting, every day at noon I would close my door, put on my head phones, and open my Bible. I spent the entire hour in the Word of God, reading and journaling to my heart’s content. Some days I would drive down to a park with my lunch and Bible to sit outside and just soak in the Word and God’s creation.

What do you do when quiet times aren't so quiet? Here are 10 creative quiet time ideas for those in the trenches of motherhood with small children. | IntentionalByGrace.com

As a stay-at-home wife, I rose every morning and made breakfast for my husband. He was carted off to work with a sack lunch, and I immediately headed to the kitchen table to begin my quiet time. I’d pore over passages and journal for hours. I had all the time I ever wanted to spend in God’s Word. I loved every minute of it, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity.

Now, two years later I find myself in yet another season, a unique season all of its own making. I am a stay-at-home-mom of a very busy toddler (update: and now another little boy and a little girl).

I no longer eat lunch alone, or have endless hours of quiet and solitude.

From the minute my feet hit the floor to the minute I pull the chain on my bedside lamp to drift off to sleep at night, I have endless interruptions, or as I’m learning to call them – divine appointments.

While chatting with a mom of a newborn and toddler, she expressed her discouragement in the lack of quiet for “quiet times.” She wanted to be in the Word, but just couldn’t get five minutes to shower, let alone open the Word of God in peace.

Can you relate?

Throughout this season of motherhood, I’ve learned my quiet times are as unique as each new baby giggle and as inconsistent as a toddler’s nap schedule. And you know what? That’s okay!

Just because it isn’t quiet, doesn’t mean you can’t meet with God.

Just because you can’t get a minute alone, doesn’t mean you can’t pour your heart out in prayer.

Just because you can’t spend hours like you used to, doesn’t mean you can’t take five minutes.

Fellow mamas, can we ban mommy guilt and our idealized versions of what our quiet times should look like and instead bask in mommy grace?

So many moms give up quiet times altogether because they can’t do them in the morning, or they can’t do them for at least 30 minutes, or they never have a moment alone. I don’t believe it’s God’s heart for us to turn our backs on His word, and tell Him we will get back with him later once we’ve raised our children. We need Jesus to help us raise our children, mama! Now more than EVER we need to be saturated in the Word of  God.

I recently read Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. Add it to your list (and these). You’ll love it. But she said (emphasis mine):

God knows these seasons of motherhood and [*gasp*] He ordained them. He gets more glory when we serve our children with a joyful heart than He would if we were able to steal away for private devotions with Him.

God gets more glory when we serve our children joyfully than if we spent hours conversing with Him in private devotions. Wow! I hope that encourages you, mama!

Now this doesn’t excuse us from making every effort possible to meet with the Lord on a daily basis (even alone if we can), but it does provide the words of grace needed in those difficult seasons, doesn’t it?

What do you do when quiet times aren't so quiet? Here are 10 creative quiet time ideas for those in the trenches of motherhood with babies and toddlers. | IntentionalByGrace.com

Here are 10 Creative Quiet Time Ideas

1. Put an apron over your head. Susanna Wesley, mother of 19 children, believed so strongly in daily prayer times that when she couldn’t get a moment alone, she would simply put her apron over her head. The children were instructed not to bother mama while her apron was up.

2. Read the Bible to your children. When Samuel was a newborn, I would read my devotions out loud while he laid beside me flapping his arms and cooing. He liked hearing my voice, and I was able to commune with God at the same time. Much needed time for a weary mom!

Carrie Ward, author of Together: Growing Appetites for God , confesses her struggle to be in the Word as a mom of young children. But instead of giving up, she purposed to include her children in her “quiet times.” Every morning at breakfast she’d read a chapter or two from the Bible. Don’t worry about whether or not your child understands. They understand far more than we give them credit for, but they are also seeing mommy in the Word and are growing used to listening – very important learning opportunities! This morning reading with my son has now evolved into family devotions. Sometimes this is the only time I get God’s word in a day.

Another mom has a toddler who wakes early. So she sets her up with her own “coffee” and book at the kitchen table. She’s allowed to read quietly beside Mommy while Mommy does her devotionals. I make Sam peppermint tea sometimes in the afternoon, and we have “tea time” because Mommy needs a refresher! We cheers and read a little of God’s Word together.

3. Post scripture around your home. You can write it on index cards or incorporate it into your decor. When you walk by, stop and read the verse a few times. Meditate and pray it.

4. Write scriptures on your recipe cards. When I got married, I created a recipe binder filled with all sorts of recipes that I had collected. At the top of each one, I scribbled out a verse to encourage my future self. There have been countless times God has used these verses to encourage my weary 5 o’clock heart.

Because I love this method so much, I did this for my 20 Minute Meals eBook! Each recipe has scripture to encourage you already written in. {Psst the book also plans a month’s worth of meals for you, gives you your grocery lists, and tells you how to get real food meals on your table in just 20 minutes… *commercial over*}

5. Before you check Social Media. Okay, I know I’m going to hurt some feelings, but if you have time to check Facebook statuses or InstaSories, you have time to take a moment with the Lord. I’ve been guilty of this far too often, so I understand. Just think about it.

6. Put on a video. Sometimes you need an unpaid babysitter, right? Throw on a wholesome video for your children and take a few moments to let God’s Word sink in. You have my permission. If you need some suggestions, here are my favorite shows for kids.

7. Put down the dust rag. It’s so easy to scurry around completing all those “really-difficult-to-do-while-your -children-are-awake” tasks when you finally get your kids down for a nap. But instead of hopping right into work mode, why not steep a pot of tea and commune with the Lord for a few minutes? Mary and Martha anyone?

8. Leave your Bible(s) open. I’m sure you have more than one Bible. So why not take them off the shelf and put them to good use? Open Bibles all around your home, and when you walk by, take thirty seconds and read a verse and pray. This is one simple way to read God’s Word more.

9. Make it available. Seems so simple, but it’s a good one to note. If you’re a nursing mom, put a devotional beside the chair you nurse in most often. Write scriptures on an index card (or print off some from our Scripture Memory Challenge) and post over the changing table. Hey! Why not laminate a few verses  (or put in plastic baggies) and put them in your shower!? Make scripture, devotionals, and Bibles available wherever you frequent most.

10. Download a Bible App on your phone. Most all of us have smart phones. Download the YouVersion app, or some other Bible app to your phone. Then, whenever you take a break to look at your phone (maybe to check Facebook? *ahem*), open your Bible app. You can download devotionals and Bible reading plans. My favorite is Charles Spurgeon’s. Morning and Evening Devotionals, and the ESV Bible in a Year. Having the Bible on my phone has been a life saver for me many times!

Elizabeth Prentiss Quote: "My darling precious children! For their sakes I am continually constrained to seek after a sanctified life..." What do you do when quiet times aren't so quiet? Here are 10 creative quiet time ideas for those in the trenches of motherhood.

Dear mama, don’t give up on seeking the Lord and pursuing Him in relationship. Sometimes you’ll get a moment of quiet to commune with Him; thus making it a “quiet time.”

Other times it won’t be so quiet and there will not be peace around you, but there can be peace in your heart. God ordained this season of motherhood, and because of that He will provide all the grace you need to not only get through it but enjoy it!

In the catechism we have begun working on with Sam, the question is asked, “Where is God?” The answer is everywhere, and even more specifically, God is inside you. He has chosen to enter your sin-stained body because of the blood washed linens that Jesus has dressed you in. God’s grace is sufficient for this season, and His grace is available.

Do not turn your back.

Do not tell Him you’ll see Him on the other side of parenting.

I know many of us do not consciously say this, but it is our actions that speak so loudly, isn’t it? Make it a priority to commune with God whether it’s alone or with the kicking legs of a baby on the changing table. What we want our children to become we must become ourselves.

How do you make time for quiet times in this busy season of motherhood?

Other posts I’ve written that you might enjoy:

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  1. I am that woman. ๐Ÿ™‚ And man, sista – you blessed my socks off. Ever since you talked to me that day, my life was totally changed. I just finished my devotions at the breakfast table with Annie. It was our time together. Even thought she acted like she wasn’t interested, she heard the Word – and I’m happy with that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I set an alarm and get up an hour before the kids do to read my Bible and pray. I also have a no Facebook or games before Quiet Time rule. The only one who sometimes wakes up before sceduled is my 19 month old, who is doing very well at learning to sit and play quietly in bed until Mommy comes to get her. I have a new one due around Mother’s Day, at which time I’ll be back to listening to my Bible ap on my cell while I nurse :-).

    1. Nishoni, my time is a lot like yours right now except the part about a toddler learning to sit quietly. Thankfully, my husband deals with the discipline when he is home, so it’s not interrupting my time. Sam is getting better, but he’s still eager beaver in the morning!!! Anyway, it is nice to have the mornings for the time being. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Just wanted to say thanks for this – it’s just what I needed today. I have two sons that I stay home with and the word “quiet” doesn’t really ever apply to our house!

  4. For a time i woke up before my 2-year-old daughter to have my quiet time. Then she started waking up crazy early and my pregnant self can only get moving so quick. So, she gets a bit of tv time in the morning while i wake up in Proverbs ๐Ÿ™‚ not ideal, but it works for now!

    1. I love the YouVersion app too. I started reading through the Bible in a year again, but I never can get past the “verse of the day.” It always seems to be just what I need!

  5. Leigh Ann, these are fantastic tips! I sure could have used these ideas when my (now grown) children were little! I’m afraid I wasn’t as creative as you! I’m so thankful that God meets us in the shower, in the laundry room, while changing diapers…where ever we are, there He is…no limits. Great post!
    Blessings to you ~ Mary

    1. Ohhh, I wouldn’t say creative as much as sponge-y. I’m a sponge for information. I’ve heard other women share these tips here and there throughout the years. They stuck with me. I am so glad they are helpful, and even a few of them I need to do myself!

  6. These are such great ideas! I especially love putting bibles around the house open to different verses … and also the scripture cards posted around.

  7. Leigh Ann, this is a great encouragement. Hours of devotion NEVER happen at my house, so knowing that my time with family blesses God’s heart is encouraging. I have 3 busy children, including a 21-month old tornado, er, son – and I’m always hopping! Snatching time in the Word, reading Scriptures on my wall, reciting memory verses on cards are good to keep me going. But I know that for myself, it is VERY important to take SOME time away from my family at some point and get that QUIET time with Him when I can. He is my ultimate refreshment, and knows my needs at this busy time of life!

  8. Hi Leigh Ann, I’m just delighted to discover your blog! Lots of encouragement here. I will be back.
    Can I please quote a few sentences from this post on Quotes For A Mother’s Heart? I’ve bookmarked a few posts on quiet time from around the web lately and I’d like to make a ‘quiet time’ category for all the great quotes. Yours would be the first. Your name and blog post will be fully linked and you’ll be on the sidebar forever! ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. The side bar forever? Well of course! ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, as long as the majority of the post isn’t duplicated, you can quote a few lines and point them to us for the remainder of the post. I’m glad you found it encouraging!

  9. Thank you so much for this article and the other articles on your blog. I found you through Pinterest while looking for ways to get my home and schedule back in order. I felt discouraged lately about how I am not keeping up with my roles well lately (daughter of God, wife, mother to an infant son, homemaker, church, etc). Your encouragement toward the Lord and practical help are just the hope I needed today. I just started following you, and I am definitely going to implement some of your tips. Thank you!

  10. I needed this. I read this post as a newlywed, long before our daughter came along. I’m so glad I came back to it as a new mom – it makes so much more sense to me now! Thank you Leigh Ann, this is beautiful and practical (just what I needed!).


  11. Leigh Ann, what a wonderful article! I love that you wrote Scriptures on recipe cards “to encourage [your] future self!” (A momma could do that one at a time in the present, too, while waiting for water to boil or the toast to pop up.)

    And laminating a 3×5 for the shower is brilliant. For moms of boys, I’d love to recommend that you laminate the cards you place near the changing table, too (I could tell you a few stories!), heh heh… ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. I am new to this site, and I can tell you it was here when I needed it! I have recently started a job that is a 2 hour commute, 45 minute drive and 50 minute train ride. I was having a hard time getting in my private time and just recently have decided to utilize my train ride. I do have my Thanksgiving prayer time before leaving and after arrival, But I love the ideas you’ve given here for around the house (I’m not the only one that needs to be inspired!). I’ve also started the 4 Lies ECourse and will begin that tomorrow! Thanks for all you do! I will spread the word, believe me!