Moms-Take five for a date

Moms, we are notorious for not taking time for ourselves.

Do our kids need help with homework? We’re there.

Is our child’s sports team asking for volunteers? We’re on it.

Does someone need to get to an appointment? We’ll drive them.

We will just keep scraping the bottom of the barrel for any compassion and patience we need, and at some point, there just won’t be anything there anymore.

Our inner toddler melts down faster than an ice cream cone in August, and in spite of the mess, we are apt to say, “Oh,  be quiet. Just buck it up.”

Guilty?

Yup.

It is time to put yourself—if not at the front of the line—then at least in the queue for some TLC.

Sit down with your calendar, and mark off a day just for you.

I’ll wait until you stop laughing. . .

Fine. If you can’t do a day, take what you can, even if it’s an hour thirty minutes ten minutes.

Once a week. That’s all.

Just. Start. Somewhere.

You need to refill your tank.

Do you think you are built to just run on fumes forever?

 

Author Julia Cameron and Janice Elsheimer have both written terrific books on learning how to refill by taking time for ourselves—Artist Dates—particularly in regards to awakening our artist within.

Please note the authors describe artistry—that is what artists do— as any activity through which we gain joy and fulfillment, whether it be mothering, writing, photography, cooking, gardening, or a multitude of other past times. These works can be done for sheer delight or for payment.

{Thunderous sound of hundreds of mommy feet running to their rooms and concealing themselves in the closet}

You can all come out of hiding now.

I am not advocating that you take your creations public, or even that you build a business with them, unless, of course, that is a dream of yours. I am asking you to recognize we are all artists in our own way, and unwrapping your gifts will bring more refreshment to you than you ever realized was possible.

As Elsheimer wrote:

Our gifts are not from God to us, but from God through us to the world.

Yeah. Go back and read that one more time and really let it sink in.

Through us.

To the world.

So where do you begin?

 

No time?

Start with prayer. Remember to make a request on your own behalf for time to discover and start using your talents, for quiet to refresh yourself. Listen for a response and direction. As NIV Jeremiah 31:25 states: “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”

If you have kids, you may have to lay some groundwork first by teaching them the value of quiet time. Author Kathy Murdock writes:

If we don’t give them this quiet time, and let them explore, they will never learn how to do this. Then how will they be as adults? How will they ever know what they truly like, and how to be quiet, and how to reflect, if we don’t show them?

You will also need to hold a conversation with your spouse so you can both carve out these important blocks of time.

 

Have just a few minutes?

Begin to journal. This is helpful to get the junk out of your head and on paper so you can let go of it. Last thing at night is great for this. Remember that you can always burn, shred or toss the pages if they really should not ever be read by anyone else. You will be amazed when you start writing what eventually takes shape on the page.

I have, at times, written pages of I don’t know what to write, I don’t know what to write, or a mess of bitterness, anger or discontent, only to have an idea or solution finally work its way to the surface once I have scraped all the garbage out of the way. I have found journaling to be just one tool to keep my heart healthy and to generate all kinds of interesting items.

 

Have a small block of time?

Take a short walk around your house or the neighborhood.

Go sit by a window, or outside if weather permits, and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, and read a few pages of a favorite book.

Pick up your long abandoned hobby or project, and work on it.

Grab your camera and search out some small things to photograph whether indoors or out.

Do some stretching or yoga exercises, as long as you do them for the sheer enjoyment.

 

Carved out an hour or more?

Lazily browse through your local library, area bookstore, or craft supplier.

Go to a cafe to enjoy a cup of coffee, and read a few pages of your book.

Take a long walk and listen to favorite music or a humorous talk on your ipod.

Visit a museum, local exhibit, or a presentation.

 

These suggestions are meant as a jumping off place for whatever will work for you.

Attending to your needs, and filling your tank with joy, love, satisfaction, and peace allows you to cope more readily and steadily with the ups and downs of life.

So, pick a day and a time, and set it aside just as you would for any other family member.

This is not a luxury.

This is an important component of being the kind of mom you want to be.

Now go run to your closet, not in fear, but with joyful exuberance and butterflies of excitement, and get ready for your date!

 

Challenge: What will you do for an artist date? What can you recommend to other moms? Thanks for sharing in the comments!

 

Sharing at No Ordinary Blog Hop

The Better Mom Monday Link-up

Finding Heaven’s Soli Deo Gloria Party

Pour Your Heart Out with Things I Can’t Say

Image credit-Marc Jacobs via Flicker

 

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Comments

  1. Good morning Kim,

    Wonderful, insightful post. Thank you for sharing your gift.

    It’s counter-intuitive for many and downright against the cultural training most of us have received; self-care is necessary.

    Giving yourself what I like to call the “hour of surrender” can be one of the most empowering, spiritual-awakening things a person can do.

    It’s a simply process: regardless of a person’s personal and business schedule, the Hour of Surrender can be taken at any time, during the course of any day, in just about any environment. And the beauty is, it doesn’t even have to be an hour. If you have an hour, great. If not, start with what you have: 5 minutes, 15 minutes. etc.

    When a person leans how to surrender completely to self and to God, (that means to quit fighting and to embrace), a newness comes over her and she can connect with the peace and freedom of inner harmony; (to become the mom, daughter, friend, entrepreneur, committee member, church-goer, etc that is in alignment with her soul).

    • Hour of surrender.
      I like that, Joel. It sounds so peaceful and restful, and I can attest that it is indeed.
      Of course, that comes after much protesting and struggling. :-)
      But it is so worth it.

  2. “This is not a luxury.”
    *stab*
    No guilt needed. Even Jesus removed himself from the crowds for quiet moments…
    Good stuff.

  3. This can strike at any age! Even with the nest empty, I often find myself running on fumes.
    Thanks for this encouraging post! I’m visiting from Soli Deo Gloria.

    • Janice, I, too, have an empty nest and find myself not taking time the way I need to. Just because we don’t have kids doesn’t mean we now take care of ourselves, unfortunately. :-(

  4. Oh Kim, I could jump right in that photo and take a seat. lol

    Thank you for the reminder to take some time for me. Although the time I’ve spent walking to see my mother has been plenty of prayer and connection time with God. Bless you, and thanks again.

    • I will pull up a chair and sit right beside you, Lynda! I am so glad you have had time to walk and pray as you visit your mom. All three things are so good for our soul and our mental health! Thanks for your kind words.

  5. What great advice. I often needed to be reminded to take time for myself. I have even hired someone to watch my youngest once a week so I can do this. However, I end up booking appointments instead of doing something I want to do. My respite worker gets upset at me when I do this. I need to stop and remember that this time was set aside for me and it’s ok to take time for me. Nobody else will.

    • The good news, Michelle, is that you have hired someone to allow yourself breathing room. Now the next step is to use that time to refresh. Put your name in the appointment book first, because the time is for you.

      When we facilitate our Financial Peace classes, we often recommend that folks get an accountability partner who will lovingly and firmly tell them “no” in regards to spending money. Would that be a help to you, finding someone who would make sure you spend that time on you?

      Joel Boggess, life and career coach and the first commenter, really says a mouthful when he talks about that hour of surrender. We do need those minutes or hours to refresh, so we can give our best—as opposed to our worn and threadbare—to our family and our work.

      I pray you are able to take that time. Thanks so much for coming by and sharing!

  6. I am with you all the way on this one. When I was raising children we had a quiet time everyday for at least an hour. I really think our children need this just as much as we do. I personally think that we over schedule our children with activities and they are somewhat stressed too. Journaling is great and it helps in so many ways. My children now call me for a date of something that they think I may have included in my journal; which is rewarding.
    Thanks for your thoughts and everyone listen to them.

    • I agree, LeAnn, that kids are overscheduled these days. I don’t know how parents do all the shuttling around that they do!
      What a great role model you have provided in journaling over the years, and now your children use the journals as a resource.
      I appreciate your thoughts and have no doubt there are more moms who will find them encouraging!
      Thanks for your kind words, too, and your exhortations to moms to listen. :-)

  7. Kim, Thanks for this important reminder to rest in Him! You’re so right – not only do we need this for us, but it’s part of our spiritual walk with the Lord.
    Have a restful and wonderful evening!
    Blessings,
    Ann

    • Thank you for stopping by, Ann, and for your kind words as well. I agree-we need this time and it is part of our walk. However, I think sometimes we do need an accountability partner-spouse, friend, whoever-to “help” us remember to take the time for ourselves! Just knowing it’s right isn’t always enough to move us to action.

  8. Time is an elusive thing around here. When we have it, we fill it up!
    Sandy

    • I can only imagine what it’s like at your house, Sandy! I grew up with 6 siblings (7 of us in an 8 year span) and remember it as being busy!

  9. Wonderful post! It always helps when someone acknowledges the importance of doing something for ourselves every now and then. In some way it seems to validate it. Thank you for a good post.

    • I remember reading somewhere that sometimes we moms just need permission to do things, whether it’s changing a job, becoming a stay at home mom, or especially taking time for ourselves. Consider all of us granting permission to one another! :-)
      Thanks for coming by, Christie!

  10. Taking time for myself is so important. Otherwise, I get really cranky. It makes me a better mom to have that time to myself!

    • Absolutely! I can remember getting so wound up at our girls behaviors when they were younger. Some days my husband and I would tag team because we would get so frustrated. When I was rested, though, I was calmer and a much better listener, which always helped getting through those very trying times. Thanks for coming by Shell!

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