Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It's Alright to Take A Break From It All - Even If It's Just For An Hour!

When is the last time you took a break from everything and just focused on yourself?  For most mothers I think this answer would be that they don't spend a lot of time thinking about their next trip to the mall, movie or lunch date with a friend.  They are focused on their children's needs and how they can help them succeed in this world that is sometimes a very difficult place to be in.  Once you have kids, they are your life and that is how it should be. 

This is a hard topic for many women to address because no matter where you are in your motherhood journey your feelings regarding this very important role in your life run deep and they are individual. It took me a long time to realize that even though my life-long dream was always to be a mother, I did have times when I felt like I needed some time to myself.  I was a stay at home mom for many years and that was right where I wanted to be but there were days that were hard.  I can't deny that and I wouldn't want to because they were extraordinarily important years for me but more importantly for my children.  I want my daughters and daughters-in-law to know these things because when you are in the middle of it all, it can be hard to remember that you are wonderful and you need to care for yourself.

I started working outside the home when my children were older and this was also a tough job because trying to balance everything at home while trying to make an employer happy is not easy.  I identify with both types of mothers and I appreciate all the love, thoughtfulness, creative juice and energy that it takes to do both jobs. 

I am forever thankful that I was there for all of their firsts, most of their practices and games, parent teacher conferences, music lessons and recitals, church and school programs.  There were some days that I was so busy doing things for my children that I forgot or neglected to do some very important things.  Like neglecting to open the garage door before putting the car in Reverse and backing into that very same garage door.  Yes it happened and all 4 of my kids were there.  Embarrassing.  Obviously I needed a break on this morning.

When my kids were very little my mother told me that it was important for me to set aside a little bit of time each week to renew myself and just relax doing something that would help me to revive and replenish me for the next week.  It was for me but it was for my family too, she said. 

At the time I remember thinking that the advice she was giving me was crazy!  How could I leave the children I had waited so long for, even for a few hours, to go into another room and do something all on my own or go out and do something with a friend?  To me, that was selfish.  What could I get from time on my own doing a hobby or from the world outside that would help me be a better mother?  I couldn't think of a thing.  But was my mother right.  Could I learn something new or might I find something that I wanted to share WITH my family and help to make it better?  That would be a good thing so why not give it a chance?  

She wasn't suggesting that I run off and do things that would pull me away from my family but she was gently encouraging me to take a little time for myself.  I started to think seriously about things that would help me and help my husband and children at the same time.  Just because I was home didn't mean I had to be doing only things for my family.  I made a list of things that I wanted to try and do while my children were napping, in school or at friend's houses.  Some of these things were just for me and some of these things would help my family.  The point is not to turn your attention away from your family but to help you find a way to charge up your battery again.  Things like:
  1. Being in a room alone to read a book - that's a gift.
  2. Praying - I mean really truly focused on the moment and what your heart is feeling prayer.  This is hard when little ones are around but you need heavenly guidance in a powerful way when your children are young, teenagers and yes, even when they are adults.
  3. Work on a sewing or craft project.
  4. Take an on-line course.
  5. Practice or learn how to play an instrument.
  6. Organize something (if that's your thing!)
  7. Work on your cooking or baking skills - everyone will surely thank you for this one!
  8. Invite a friend over just to talk.
  9. Call someone on the phone to let them know you are thinking about them.  Service ALWAYS revives and nourishes our souls!
  10. Pick one of your kids up from school as a surprise and take them out to lunch.  This will do wonders for them - and for you and your relationship with them.
  11. Take a walk - as long as you are not responsible for watching any children at the time!
  12. Write about your life in a journal.  Write about your day or your week and be detailed in how you are feeling.  This will become a keepsake for your children and grandchildren and it really does help to sort things out in your mind and helps you to learn to appreciate everything that you are blessed with in your life.
  13. Learn how to do something you have always wanted to do like refinish a dresser or reupholster a piece of furniture. I know, pretty major things but some people are ambitious and there is nothing wrong with that!
  14. Listen to your favorite music.
  15. Watch your favorite movie!
  16. Call your parents and talk to them.  This is an important one because you need them and they need you so keep talking.
  17. Take a nap! 
Here is what I know about taking time for you:

You are a mother but you are also an individual.  Your value to this world and more importantly to your family is great.   

You are unique and your children need you. They need all of you so you should refill your own cup!

There are things that only you can do for your spouse and children.  Take time to prepare and nurture yourself for this most awesome of responsibilities.

You are a mother but you are also a Daughter of God.  He loves you and wants you to know your value to Him, your spouse AND your children.

It's okay to take time for yourself because it is going to help you be a better you - and that is ALSO your responsibility!

Take care of yourself.  Nurture yourself.  Make time in your life to recharge your battery.  Taking a little time for you each week doesn't mean you are being selfish or a bad mother, it means you are doing a great job as a mother because you know that when you feel accomplished, rested, more knowledgeable or empowered, you are ready to be an even better mother tomorrow then you were today.  That's what it's all about!  And look, I learned to find time for myself and my kids all turned out okay!

I know, wedding picture overload but it is the most current picture I have of my cute kids!
Happy Mothering!

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