My mom recently shared something shocking with me. When my sister and I were young, my dad would give her a day to herself for her birthday. She told me how much she enjoyed those kid free times of reading a book, lunching in a park alone, having quiet. Looking back I think I remember those days. Heading to church with my dad, Barbie's and paper dolls to keep me occupied for the hours while he was in his office. I never knew why we spent a day without Mom; I guess I assumed she had some appointment to get to.
If I had found out when I was younger her real reasons for spending a day without us I might have gotten offended, but by the time she told me, I was a mom myself - in the trenches of doing everything with a small army of followers. Well, just three followers but it can feel like a lot more!
Being a mother is such a study of opposites. You love being with your children but sometimes crave solitude. You would do anything for those crazy kids but often giving your time feels like a sacrifice too large. You teach them to talk then beg them to be quiet for just a minute.
When my mom admitted her need to sometimes be alone, I nodded in agreement and complete understanding. And I felt a little guilty about it. You see, as moms we're used to our children coming to us for everything. Big needs, small announcements, we are the filters everything goes through. To admit I get weary in my role of cook, laundress, peacemaker, cleaner, playdate coordinator..., I somehow feel like I'm short changing my kids in the mother department.
But then I realized something amazing. When I can take a span of time - even an afternoon - to myself, I come back to my kids desiring to meet their needs in a new way. The time of quiet, reflection, eating at a place that doesn't serve nuggets and fries gives me a fresh appreciation for the antics and questions awaiting me at home.
As much as we don't like to admit it, moms need rest like anyone else. Taking a day or an afternoon to get a pedicure, go for a hike, or grab a coffee doesn't mean you don't love your children. It's giving yourself the space to recharge so you can give of yourself even more.
Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash