At that exact moment my 4 year old comes bounding over to me.
“Whatcha doing Mama?”
“Mommy is having her quiet time, Love.” I reply, silently praying for 10 minutes of peace and quiet.
“Oooh! Can I have quiet time with you?”
I pull her into my side and hug her. Kissing the top of her head it takes everything in me to say, “Not right now. Mommy is going to have her quiet time alone first, and then we can do it together.”
As she bounces off to keep playing, I feel pangs of guilt. Isn’t this why I decided to stay home? To spend time with my girls? The voice in my head can be relentless.
I open my journal and the devotional app on my phone. I try to quiet my mind to spend time reading, reflecting, and journaling. The guilt keeps coming back, gnawing at me in the back of my mind.
I am so selfish for putting on the TV to have time for myself. How could I say no to her? One day she’ll be moved out and I’ll wish I could take that moment back.
But none of this is true. Yes, I decided to stay home to be with my girls. Does this mean sacrificing every waking moment? Does it mean sacrificing everything, even my sanity? Absolutely not.
As a parent, we give up so much for our kids. We loan them our bodies as a home, a food source, and a place of comfort. We sacrifice sleep, we give up our ice cream cones when theirs falls to the floor. We use our fingers to wipe boogers and we catch their throw up in our hands. All of this we do without hesitation.
Yet at the same time, I know how anxious and overwhelmed I become when I don’t deposit any time back into my bank. I can’t run on empty. I need there to be deposits made so that I can give it back to them. If I am going to be the best mom for my kids, I need to take time outs for meditation, prayer, and exercise. A bath without kids and rubber duckies and date nights with my husband. I need to allow myself to leave the house for a glass of wine with some girls, to take a brisk walk alone, grab a coffee and browse the aisles of Target with no real purpose.
Because all of that is better for me and better for them. I need to be strong so that I can be the best mom for them. I need to be a role model for my girls and show them that taking care of yourself is important. That it doesn’t mean I am selfish, or putting myself before my kids. It shows them that physical and mental health is something we need to work at, even when we have babies at home.
Letting them see Mama read her Bible, do yoga on the living room floor, and go on dates with Daddy is investing in myself, my relationships and my family. It is teaching them they are a big part of me and my world, but not the centre of it. Taking time to be still and be with God is something I need to do to set us up for a successful day. Exercising is something I need to do so that I can be healthy and be around for them as long as God allows me to be. Going on a date alone with my husband is showing them that I love their daddy and I am going to invest in our marriage and create a peaceful home.
As parents we give and give. Once in a while we need to be still and pour into ourselves. Sometimes, that is just as important as getting on the floor and playing.
Michelle Smid is a stay at home mom to two beautiful girls. She has been madly in love with her husband for 11 years and married for almost 8. She is the author of the family and lifestyle blog Just An Ordinary Family. Her resolution for 2015 was to learn how to take care of herself to be the best version of herself. It has been a challenging year but she isn’t looking back. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.
We want to hear your uplifting, inspiring, funny, or touching story about your experience as a mother. Please visit our Storytellers page for more information on how to be published on the Good Mother Project blog.