Me time. What does that phrase conjure up in your mind? Positive or negative?
For years as a young mother I used to think the concept of “me time” was selfish and unbiblical. To think that I would need a break from my children would have been somehow less committed and giving into a fleshy, sinful attitude. If I began to feel overwhelmed or the desire to get away the guilt would hammer me. I was made for this role and this was my calling after all.
In so many ways our cultural, modern attitude puts self at the front at all times. The “You deserve a break today” McDonald’s campaign is rife with the “me first- look out for number one” idea. Children are looked on as burdens and irritations and the joys of motherhood are forgotten. We spend our time planning our next get-away.
And so, in reaction to that I along with many Christian mommies would feel guilt if we desired to have respite. Our children were blessings, after all…and who would need to rest from a blessing?
And then my health began to decline. After each pregnancy I was not bouncing back as I did before. The prenatal darkness I had experienced for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy lengthened out longer and then started coming back postpartum. My hormones began to go wacky and the fatigue started to suck the life out of me. My brain began to swirl and the fog that would hang over me started lingering longer and longer. And I crashed.
My crash meant I could not be with my children hardly at all for 6 weeks. They had to get very special permission to enter my room and then only for a brief span with low voices. The years worth of sickness had gripped me to the core and my body had said, “enough”.
And the truths that had started to come into my heart began to become undeniable…
It was not helping my family to not take care of myself. We are to love our families in serving them self- sacrificially, but if we do not care for ourselves in the process we will not be helping anyone. The first rule of rescue is to care for yourself. On an airplane you must first put your own oxygen mask on in order to care for your little ones.
- So I have learned that it is not selfish to need time alone.
- It is not selfishness to take a break and get in a place of quiet where you can string two sentences together without interruption.
- It is not selfishness to make sure our physical and spiritual needs are being addressed.
For, in caring for ourselves, we care for our family. And I think that is the key…
We are taking breaks in order to better serve our families.
We are getting away to be more refreshed to return with joy.
When I was on my 6 week sabbatical the intensity of silence was amazing. I had never had such sustained quiet before and it was stillness that was felt. I determined right then and there that every mama needed to have stated times of this kind of quiet, even for a 24-48 hour period. The mind slows down and begins to notice. I was able to notice the color of the flowers, the chirping of the birds. When my brain was not full of the next meal that needed to be made, the next subject that needed to be taught, the next closet that needed to be cleaned–I could contemplate, I could think, I could ponder. Our brains are like the rest of our body and need to rest and refresh.
We are in a frenzy of a hurried society where we never take a break to stop and “Be still and know that I am God.” We are so overbooked and overcommitted with our self-induced expectations. Especially as homeschool/large family moms–we have a view of what a Proverbs 31 woman looks like, that is not necessarily what the Scripture says, but what our culture says. We run our children to this event and that, we say yes to every commitment and run ourselves into a frenzy.
We need to fight to make times for an atmosphere of quietness for ourselves and for our children.
In my next post I will share some things that I think are important to practically apply these things. In the mean time Anne Voscamp has an excellent article on How to Love Better by Loving Yourself More.
What are some things that you have done to create an atmosphere of quietness?