Children are a blessing from the Lord, no doubt. They are also an immense challenge to raise – Especially if you are trying to raise in the ways of the Savior. It’s hard work that requires vast energy and time. It’s a wonderful job. And sometimes we need a break from it, whether our kids think so or not.
I am in no wise saying that we shouldn’t make sacrifices for our children. Not in the least. But I think a lot of times we make ourselves into martyrs for them. They need our attention, they need our energy, they need our nurturing. BUT there does come a point where we need time to ourselves, or with grown ups, or with our husbands, or most of all with our Savior.
So Moms need time-outs. I know a church that has a program called “Mom’s Time Out,” where the ladies of the church go on field trips or get together without their children for a time. We need to start that where I am…. Oh, yeah. Why? It seems kind of selfish to take time out for ourselves when these are crucial times in our childrens’ lives.
1. Everyone needs a time away. Even Jesus did. I’ve talked about this before: we cannot be at our best for our children if we are not feeling our best. We need rest just like everyone else. Also, the whole idea of “absence making the heart grow fonder” comes into play. When I have time away, I miss my kids. We need to miss our children sometimes to cherish them more when they are around.
2. Your relationships with others will continue when your kids are out of the house. Those relationships need nurturing too. Your husband needs time with you, because you are with him “till death do you part.” I have seen couples so wrapped up in their children that they didn’t make time for each other. And when the kids moved out, it was like they were living with a complete stranger. It works for friendships too.
3. You need to set an example for your own children. Do you want your children to feel the way you do? Frazzled with adult life, never having a break, or thinking you need one? When I take my time with my Lord each day, my kids are watching. They see that it is important for me to spend time in God’s Word. It makes them want to as well. They need to see you and your husband loving each other, because that is how they will set the standard for marriage in their own lives. They need to see you serving in your church or witnessing to people. They need to see you interacting with your friends, because it shows them how to treat their own friends.
4. This is something I just learned, or relearned, and thought I would add it in… We need time to renew our spirit. Sometimes, I think a time-out is needed to evaluate whether or not we are parenting in our own strength. This should be, like every other area of life, an area where we acknowledge and depend utterly on the Holy Spirit to empower our parenting. We will fail miserably when we do it in our own strength. It is good and right to take time to examine ourselves and see if we are leaning on Jesus or parenting using our own efforts.
I could go on because this has been a big struggle in my life. For a few years, I felt like I needed to sacrifice ALL of my time for the kids. Never have a break. Never ask my husband to help, because he is already doing so much. Self-denial is in the Bible, right? Devotions went by the wayside and my rationale was, “The Lord knows how busy I am, He understands and knows that I want to spend time with Him. It is the thought that counts.” The problem was that this wore on me greatly, and it showed in how I treated my kids. I almost resented being a mother, because it seemed like a monkish kind of life – especially when they were all toddlers. My husband helped me to realize that it is okay to take a break, and often times he would (and still does) push me out of the house to take a break because he could see I was at my wits’ end. And being faithful in my daily time with the Lord has been the biggest boost. I need Him and I need to hear from Him every day! It is truly paramount to parenting.
So don’t try to be a hero, never taking a moment for yourself. Your family needs you to… and you need to too!