Saturday, July 11, 2009
Over the years, I have read many books, often geared toward moms, that tell women that we need “me time”. That our families shouldn’t expect our undivided attention. That we need to think about ourselves and take care of ourselves first, so then we can take care of our families. That if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of them. The whole “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” line of thinking. Unfortunately, I think many of these books go way overboard and the enemy can use these to make us into selfish, self-centered, resentful women.
On the other hand, I have also read some books that basically say we shouldn’t want time away from our family. That we are to be devoted wives and mothers, with our entire focus being our family. Some of these almost make it sound like you are sinning if you want to spend some time away from your husband or children from time to time.
I simply adore my husband and my daughter. I absolutely love spending time with them! My husband is truly my best friend, and we can have fun doing anything together. My daughter is a true blessing to me, and I honestly love spending time with her. She makes me laugh, she renews my childlike spirit, and she notices many of the things in life that I take for granted. I love our family times! Our vacations, camping trips, game nights, and lazy weekends!
However, I feel there is also an incredibly healthy balance that can be found.
I enjoy time with just myself. I love curling up with a cup of coffee, a good book, and quiet. I love sitting at Starbucks with my iced tea, maybe a sweet treat, and my laptop with nothing but time to write.
I also love time with just my friends. I work with a very special group of leaders in my discipleship group and I cherish the times that we meet together to help each other grow in the Lord. I love getting a chance to meet a friend one-on-one for a cup of coffee and to catch up. I enjoy getting away once a year to hang out with some special mommy friends of mine from all over the country.
I also love times when our family gets together with other families. Sometimes we have a couple over for dinner – some with kids, some without. It’s so nice when we can sit and chat as adults while the kids play together. I also often meet with another mom and her kids for play dates. We chat, the kids play, and it’s a glorious time!
I think the important distinction is our motives. I don’t spend time with my friends because I want to spend time away from my husband. I spend time with my friends because I cherish the friendships God has given me and I want to deepen them. This means that I am careful about who I spend this focused time with, and I look to God to direct this. I don’t spend time alone because I want to get away from everyone. I spend time alone so I can meet with God, or do things He is calling me to do – sometimes write, sometimes rest.
I also work with my husband, not against him, in planning these times. My family comes first. If R or Bug need me, I will be there. My true friends understand that and feel the same way. When I have a meeting and will not be home for dinner, I make sure that dinner is planned and/or prepared for my husband before I leave. When I am going to be away, I make sure that the timing is acceptable to R’s schedule and that he approves of what I am doing.
Right now, I am out of town for 5 days to spend some annual time with some mommy friends. This was planned with R’s approval and encouragement. Before I left, I made sure his clothes were all clean (and almost all put away!). I also created a meal plan for him for the days I’m gone, and made sure most of the food he would need is already purchased and at home. He is perfectly capable of planning and cooking his meals, but this is something he likes that helps him, so I do it. He likes to know what is for dinner, even if it means he’s cooking it, without having to think about it when he gets home. He wants to spend the time playing with Emily while I’m gone, so I do what I can to make that easier for him.
So, my focus is still first on God, then on my family. When my priorities are in order, I can also make time for myself and my friends. God uses all of these times – alone, with family, with friends….to grow me closer to Him, and I pray that He uses me to bring others closer to Him as well.