My mom came to help for a week when my kids were born. I remember when my oldest was born, she told us we should go get dinner for our anniversary coming up, and she would stay with Isabella. I will never forget driving back home from that dinner and sobbing to Matt. I cried, “I wish we could drive away and never go back!” Of course, we know postpartum hormones are some crazy things, but the reality of the all-consuming responsibility of being a mother was all around me, and it was much more demanding than I expected.
I don’t know if it’s just the introverts among us who need the alone time to recharge, but I learned from very early on that breaks from motherhood would be necessary for maintaining my sanity. There have been seasons where breaks were very hard or impossible to arrange, and I paid the price (as did my family) with depression and all manner of unkindness when I did not find the space to recharge.
I really want to encourage you moms who have little ones at home all day. I honestly stay up pretty late into the night because that time of quiet and alone (or with my husband around) is helpful for daily recharging. I have heard moms say they fall asleep with their kids, and I cannot fathom that lifestyle. I would feel imprisoned if I didn’t get to enjoy a couple of non-kid hours most evenings.
In addition to daily time, I am blessed to work a part time job where I can take a day off each week to spend time with friends and talk about the Bible my ladies group at church, run errands, and do what I want to do for a few hours. I feel a little guilty saying that it’s probably my favorite day of the week.
Matt and I have always loved to travel together, and we have typically done our best to take a couple of weekend trips without the kids each year. However, the mess of 2020 and 2021 has thrown off our rhythm. I have also taken trips alone and with my mom or other friends that have been amazing opportunities to recharge and refresh.
Maybe you think this is unachievable. “Who am I going to get to watch my kids?” Listen, when we went from two to three children, we drastically decreased the number of people willing and length of time they were willing to watch our children. So now I work on splitting them up at different places or, for a longer trip, have someone for a couple days and someone else for the last few days. It is a lot of work to arrange it all, but the benefits are worth it for me.
If you can’t afford to take a trip but you know you need the break, can you stay home and get someone to keep the kids for a few days? Or maybe visit a family member or friend for a cheaper way to get out of town? Sometimes when I take the kids for a couple days to visit my parents, my mom will tell me to go do something and she will hang out with the kids.
I wanted to write about this today because it’s one of the things that keeps me sane in the little years and even now in the elementary school years of motherhood. I was not sure if I wanted to be a stay at home mom before I had kids. I loved my ministry, and my pastor always told me he would have a job for me even when I had children. But things don’t always work out as we expect, and I ended up being a stay at home mom for about ten years. I loved things about it, but I desperately missed the adult interaction, the sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing what to do and checking off a to-do list, and the feedback from others on a job well done.
I hope you take time for the things that recharge your mind, body, and soul. If you need some help figuring it out, send me a message! I would love to help you with it.