Everyone needs a respite, right?
In sporting events, there are time-outs and half-times. During school days, kids have recess. Entrepreneurs and CEO’s of organizations take retreats to regroup and reset. There is even a weekend to segment the work week. Our European neighbors across the pond minimally take four weeks of vacation per year to recharge as opposed to us earnest, hard-working westerners. To be a thriving human, people need periods of respite to get back into the game of life and deeply enjoy it. The actual definition of respite is: a period of temporary delay, an interval of rest or relief.
Don’t we all need an interval of rest and relief - especially moms?
It is flabbergasting to me how western culture views being a mother as a cop-out from contributing to the real-world…as if training little humans to be respectful, moral, God-loving, disciplined little people isn’t contributing to society. Raising kids who are connected to their parents isn’t as important as personal success these days. Another jaw-dropping perception is that mothers who are with their kids most of the time don’t really need respites because, after all, she can do whatever she wants whenever she wants. Those perceptions are only beheld by those who have never actually taken on the role of full-time mom for a season. Those of you who have held the role of full-time mom for any length of time, even a few months, intimately knows that it’s an arduous, rewarding, and significant job. Mothers need a respite from their full-time job too!
Being a mother is the most beautiful, joyful, and exhilarating work while simultaneously being the most depleting, exhausting, and sacrificial work a woman will experience in life. It’s a revolving carousal of giving, giving, and giving some more. Mothers are strong! We can give for a long period of time without reprieve out of love and responsibility, but at some point, we all crumble without a respite.
Why is it that we moms feel guilty about taking a break?
Well, I am giving you devoted moms permission to take a respite and here are three reasons why:
1. You are a human. Every human gets a break…right? Mom-work is non-stop, 7 days a week. How much more do you need space to be the person that you are created to be instead of only mom. There is more to you than mother, although being a mother will consume so much of you during your young mothering years. Don’t lose your whole self, but also don’t be afraid to yield yourself to the important work of mothering.
2. You are a unique person with gifts and interests in addition to being a mother. Using your gifts and engaging deeply in your interests energizes you and gives you a feeling of satisfaction, which is important to being a thriving human.
3. You will burn-out and live in a depleted state if you don’t. When you are fried, you are no good for anyone. Without respite, you will walk around fried, which will eventually lead to depression. Unfortunately, I speak from experience. Being a devoted mother isn't an altar of death of your individuality and dreams, it is a privilege and you will learn to prioritize. Find a respite rhythm so that you can maintain momentum, joy, and purpose. It’s OK to ask for help. Do a trade with another tired mom. Help each other out as you pursue motherhood and purpose together!
I am sitting in a little museum in Dauphin Island right now with retired people talking really loudly as I type these words. I am taking a day to step away from being mom and to just be Joy! I am taking a day to dream, write goals and visions, and do what energizes me – a respite. One of the things that energizes me is encouraging women by speaking and writing, so today as I take a breath out, I want to encourage the hard-working, summer-time moms to give yourself a break and find a way to exhale. You and your family are worth it!