One of the biggest complaints I hear from young moms, or moms in general, is that they feel they have lost themselves in the day-to-day of raising a family. What??? How is that possible? I mean, I had to recently start drinking shakes in the morning because I would forget to eat until we went to Chick- Fil- A (for the 3rd time that week) or, I don’t know . . . maybe because my children’s wardrobe looks better than mine, my food is often cold, and well, I haven’t used the bathroom by myself in over five years.
One of the reasons I decided to stay at home was because I felt guilty about not being there for my girls. The time we spent together( when I worked full time), I thought it was rushed — 2 hours at night and weekends that were filled with life — parties, church, yard chores, housework; however, I loved my job, I loved the people I worked with, and I loved my freedom. So I decided to stay home, and while I struggle some, I have come to terms, for the most part, with this season of my life.
Recently, I found myself with the opportunity to go away for the weekend — just as I started to get excited about the chance to get away, I instantly felt guilt and shame and just overall sick about leaving the girls. Thanks, Satan, you strike again; you know just how to get me when I am down.
I have asked many women how they cope with working, not working, time away from their kids, and how they view other caretakers in their kids’ lives. I know what I am doing by asking — I am trying to look for the answer among my friends to justify my actions or allow me to feel a certain way. While I received some good advice, no one has given me the magic answer.
So back to those negative feelings, well, thankfully, they quickly passed when I walked into my hotel room, temperature set on 78, a king-sized bed with extra pillows, and a chocolate chip cookie the size of my face. I thought, “Oh, I may need to call the girls.” So I did, and when my youngest started crying on the phone, wanting to know when I was coming home, I felt like the worse mom on the planet. Mind you, she was fine, but in that moment, she wanted me, so I felt guilty again.
Why do we do this, moms? Why do we stay in constant conflict, questioning everything we do?
As I stood there, I heard a voice, which I can only say was the Holy Spirit, “Laura, I will grant you the desires of your heart if it aligns with my will.” I recently started attending a Bible study that takes a chapter in the Bible and dives deep into The Word. One night the teacher was talking about how she used to love to paint but had to stop because of “life.” She started praying to God to allow some way for the opportunity to start painting again.
A few months down the road, a woman offered to keep her kids for a while so she could take up painting, but more importantly, refresh her soul. I remember her saying over and over that night, ” Take your desires to God, tell him specifically what you want, what you feel your heart needs, and if it is according to His will, He will grant you those desires.” ( 1 John 5:14)
I prayed about this trip — I prayed that God would open the door for someone to watch the girls, that my husband would be encouraging as I prepared to go, and you know what — those things happened! Satan wants to steal our excitement; he wants us to doubt, he wants us to feel “less than,” but more importantly, he does not want us to share God’s goodness and faithfulness with others.
Were my daughter’s actions that night anything more than that of a typical three-year-old — no. Nonetheless, the feelings of doubt, most certainly, were the enemy’s doing.
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God. We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
So can you love your kids and want a break? YES! Stop feeling bad about enjoying that trip with your hubby, or going to get your nails done with a friend, or, the fact you get to the bathroom and read by yourself.
We need breaks.
We need time away from our children.
We need the reminder: we are not God, we are limited, we need rest, and sometimes that means taking time away from our children. You do not love your children any less, or you are not any less of a mother because you need some time to refuel. In most cases, I would argue that when we take the time to fill our cups ( spiritually, mentally, and physically), we are more capable of showing love to our children.