Investing in “nothing”

(All mothers everywhere has their own Meryl, don’t they?)

It is foolish to expect a toddler to go all day without a break.  Little kids can only go so long and so far without rest.  As a parent, to ignore this basic fact is setting them–and you–up for failure once the dreaded melt-down mode hits.

Here’s the thing.

While we, as adults, can go longer and farther than our 3 year olds might, we practice the same foolishness to think that an extra two decades or so make us immune from our own melt-downs.

Now, I’m not going to ignore that bad behavior can happen for other reasons besides fatigue and burn-out, but the older I get the more I realize that our frailty works against us in a large, undeniable way.

The times you yell at your kid?  The time your spouse tells you off?  The time a stranger rolls their eyes at your child because they make a noise at a restaurant?

Sure, all of those things can happen because people can be jerks.

But you know what makes me a jerk, especially as a introvert?

Exhaustion.

My exhaustion comes from hardly ever getting a moment to be by myself.  To recharge without a “momma!” or a diaper or a feeding or or or.

Too long without a chance to just recharge makes me feel like I’m claustrophobic.

For my extrovert momma friends, they don’t get tired of constancy of kids as much as the loneliness that being a momma (especially to small kids) can bring.  You are never alone, but yet, you don’t get the interaction that gives you energy.

Please don’t think I’m ignoring how much my children have blessed me.  I have learned so much about the love of my Father.  I have learned the wonderful gift of sacrifice– of doing something just to see delight in small faces.  My heart has changed forever because of these little people– I feel so much faster and more intensely than I ever did before I was a mother.  I have been changed for the better because of my children, and Lord-willing, I have the rest of my life to continue to learn from them.

But sometimes, in trying to be a good mother, we’ve ignored our Father.

We have ignored something very important that He told us to do since the Garden.

He demanded us to make– to take– a Sabbath.  Sabbath meant more than going to church– it meant praising God, a complete ceasing from work, and asking blessing over your spouse, your children, and the week ahead.

I wonder if He requires it of us for the same reason we require it of our children– we simply work best that way.  We unravel without rest.  We give in to the weakest parts of ourselves when we don’t take time to be still.  We don’t have the energy to offer people our strength.

We fall into the trap of feeling like a failure and tell ourselves we need to do more do more do more…

When in all reality, we need to do less.

We try to wrestle our way out of the quick sand of motherhood, and make everything worse.

Can I suggest something instead?

Give yourself a time out.

Do what you have to to give yourself a minute to breathe; to revive your soul.  Barter with another mom; exchange kids; scrounge up lose change to pay for a sitter.

Go grab a cup of coffee by yourself, or with a group… whatever you need most.

Feed your soul.

Establish a Sabbath.

And just like the traditional Sabbath, you might find that a couple hours of “nothing” is the biggest thing you can do to bless your spouse, your children, and the week ahead.

A HUGE thanks goes to my friend, Ashley, who gave me a Sabbath today.  I thank you, and I’m sure my family will as well!


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