“Summer is wearing me a little thin,” I confessed to my friends while the boys wrestled in the family room. “I’m running out of things to do to keep these kids occupied.”
They poured out grace with their words and my weary soul drank it in, but I still felt the singe of guilt. Why was this so hard? I perused pictures of smiling mothers on Facebook and Instagram and wondered about the story the pictures didn’t tell.
Was I crazy to need a break? I looked at my calendar and realized a writing conference I planned to attend was coming up in a couple of short weeks. It was as though God was sending a beacon of light to my tired, frazzled being and I held onto it like an anchor.
But the closer the date became, the more I questioned myself.
Were the boys going to be okay? My in-laws graciously offered to watch them, allowing some much needed time with their cousins. Still, my worrier brain continued to race in a state of overdrive.
I wondered about bedtime and dinner and my son’s food allergies and would they miss me?
Perhaps the trip wasn’t a good idea. I recalled a time a couple of years ago when my three-year-old, then one, had gotten sick while staying overnight with the grandparents.
We guilt-laden moms convince ourselves the world will fall apart if we take a day to recharge. But often, a day to refresh is exactly what we need.
Moms who take care of themselves are better equipped to care of those who love them.
So why do we so often convince ourselves otherwise? We neglect date-night with our spouse because of the kids’ sports schedules. We neglect seeing a doctor even though insomnia is affecting our home life, attitude and relationships.
Even though my worried mind continued to run through worst-case-scenarios, I went to the conference. I had a room to myself, took uninterrupted showers for two days, and swam laps in the hotel pool without panicking about the kids drowning.
I came away from the weekend recharged, both spiritually and emotionally. My cup was full, and I poured life into my family and friends instead of constantly asking for forgiveness.
Over those few days, I learned a valuable lesson: My family doesn’t fall apart when I’m away. Yes, they miss me. Yes, they are glad to see me when I return.
But they would much rather have a joy-filled, rested mom than one who is over-tired, edgy, and stressed. When I don’t take care of myself, it affects everyone else around me.
Today, if you’re running on empty but feeling guilty at the thought of taking some time for yourself can I encourage you to listen to that voice telling you to take a break?
Maybe it’s coffee with a friend. Maybe it’s a movie with your spouse, a pedicure, or a weekend away with your women’s ministry.
The options are as different as our personalities. But the need to recharge is the same.
Be refreshed, exhale, and love on those closest to you even more. You will not regret it.
*Linking up with Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday to encourage and be encouraged. Come join us.