Last week, I wrote about some reasons I think it's important for moms to take breaks. I truly believe it's important to our sanity and spiritual health.
So how do we do that? It's not always easy. Trust me, I know.
Moms generally fall into one of two categories: those with friends/family around to help and those that do not.
I sit on the fence between these two categories, so I truly understand the heartbreak and loneliness of being without friends or family. There was a season of my life when I was without family in my area and with no friends. I had a very precocious oldest daughter, a toddler/preschooler with severe food allergies and towards the end of this season, was pregnant. It was long and hard and oh so lonely. I read a lot about making memories and tried my very best but there were lots of bad days. I know now that I should have tried harder to reach out and ask for help. So when I say this, please know that I understand. If you are in a similar season -- please find a woman that you can approach in humility. Explain your situation and what you need ... a friend. Tell her that your heart is to serve your family but you just need to breathe. I think every momma can understand that. Meet for coffee, go grocery shopping together, walk around Walmart after your put your kids to bed and your hubby is sleeping. It all starts with you, being humble enough to admit you don't have it all together, that you need a friend.
Maybe the paragraph above is beyond your understanding. You've got friends. This also entails a bit of humble pie on your part. It also involves you shutting down some lies. The first, biggest and most prevalent lie being that guilt you feel creeping in every time you leave the house without a child. A close second is that they (your children, specifically) won't know what to do without you. Let's just clean it all up right now. You're worth some special time away and your children will be just fine until you get back. Even if they scream the entire time - they'll be fine.
Here are a few ideas I had for your MommaBreak:
- Start or attend a book club. Even if you only discuss one chapter a month, it's a great time to gather with other moms and encourage one another. Share war stories, laugh and cry and pray together, eat a slice of cake without having to share any of it.
- Start a grocery shopping coop. Your friend watches your children while you grocery shop, then the following day (week, month) you watch hers. It will give you both some time to just be quiet. We can settle our hearts before the Lord anywhere, you know. Aisle 5 is just as good of a place to ask God for wisdom on raising your children as anywhere else.
- Schedule one dinner out with a friend every three months. Save a couple of dollars a week towards your 'Keep Momma Sane' dinner. Oh and once it's scheduled - don't cancel apart from a severe emergency. A 6 year old with a fever is not an emergency. Your husband can handle it for a few hours. Trust the man you married, even if his methods look a bit different. Talk. Talk to your friends about those areas you want God to strengthen you and commit to praying for one another.
- If getting out of the house is simply impossible for you, invite a friend over. Don't fret about the dirt in the corner or your lack of a fancy dessert. Sure, the kids will be running around like wild men but it's okay. Just connect with another mom.
- If there are no moms you feel comfortable inviting over and you can't get out of the house - it's time for drastic measures. Find a video your children will watch, even if it's just 20 minutes. Before putting it on, prep an area with your Bible, a notebook and your beverage of choice. Put the video on and run like a mad woman. Yes, I'm fully advocating using Elmo as a babysitter when the situation is right. Read a Psalm, write out your heart to the Lord and sip your beverage in that small window of peace.
What other ways have you found time to take for yourself to recharge and refocus on the Lord?