“Solitude is the soul’s holiday, an opportunity to stop doing for others and to surprise and delight ourselves instead.” – Katrina Kenison
Since the day we brought our little girl, Cheyenne Noël, home our house instantly transformed into a hub for hustle and bustle. Making the transition from newly-weds, to parents has rocked our world in a way that makes us never want to look back!
I’m a person who loves a good time: blasting music, laughing out loud (anyone who knows me KNOWS I love a good belly laugh), reciting random movie quotes (this is more of a secret talent of mine), spending time with my family, and going on joy rides (do people still do that?) There comes a time when a girl just needs to chill.
Often, I’m in a room with the TV off, reading a book, or having a conversation with God. Sometimes, I even ride in the car with no music (rarely, though) and just pray or reflect on my day. Since becoming a mommy finding these moments to steal-away and recharge has become more difficult – but not impossible.
I remember about a month into motherhood I nearly had a panic attack. I couldn’t believe how my life flipped upside down and it felt like everything was (literally) moving faster than me. On one hand, I was madly in love with my baby girl and my new life as a mom, but on the other hand, I missed the free time I had, and having those quiet moments to recharge. Mom or not, we all need some time to steal-away and reset.
Thankfully, a few months have passed, and finding quiet time in my day has become a little easier. However, I noticed that my quiet time is limited and sometimes I felt rushed and like I did nothing at all. After Cheyenne’s arrival, when my house would fall silent, I’d try to catch up on chores, bills, my to-do list, or whatever I felt behind on. It can be difficult to find balance in the busy life moms and business women lead, but I’ve learned to choose my tasks wisely. When I feel that little tugging from the inside, when my body tells me to rest; I find a place to indulge.
I’m still nursing on demand so sometimes it can feel like my body and my time are not my own. But when I do have a few moments, even if only five minutes, here’s how I try to make the most of them.
I firmly believe that God gives us our families and our work. He knows how busy we are and He knows how much our responsibilities weigh on us. But, He also wants to spend time with us. Not only is it good for our souls but it’s also good for our minds. Philippians 4:6 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” I quickly learned (like, within the first second) that it’s very easy to become anxious as a mom. I’ve also learned that when I find myself uneasy, it’s time to pull away and unload. Nothing calms me like taking a few minutes to say a prayer and get those things off my chest that are weighing me down.
Prayer is also a confidence booster! As a mom of an infant, with a husband who works outside the home, my accomplishments don’t come with encouragement. At least not until my husband notices hours later. And let’s be honest, sometimes, they don’t notice at all – but that’s okay! Yes, it’s nice to get that pat on the back saying, “good job!” but sometimes you gotta be your own cheerleader. For me, that’s where prayer comes in. Instead of focusing on what didn’t happen, I focus on being thankful for what did. 2 Corinthians 9:11 says, “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” Motherhood and marriage is a continued labor of love – a generosity. We should be thankful for the opportunity to take care of our family, even if they don’t (or can’t) express their gratitude. When I feel most accomplished, I take time to say a prayer of thanksgiving and ask God for the strength to do it again. Let’s face it, who knows how crazy the next 24 hours wil be!
The cool thing about prayer is that it doesn’t have to be this perfect formal speech. Just start talking and sharing with God what’s on your mind. I’m by no means going to tell you a specific amount of time you should spend praying, that’s none of my business (or anyone else’s!) but I would encourage you to try to find time at least once a day – it really does make a difference and you’ll find it’s a nice release from the stress of the day.
I know what you’re thinking, because I think it too, sometimes. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” Majority of my hours are spent on my feet, moving and shaking! When I do sit down, it’s probably to fold laundry, pay a bill, pump milk… the list goes on! But, just having a few moments to read is essential for maximizing your quiet time.
There are a lot of genres out there, but no matter what I’m reading for pleasure, I always have two types of books in my arsenal: an inspirational book, and The Bible. I’ve always been an avid reader, and I’m assuming you are too because you’re reading my blog ;-). For me, reading not only engages my creativity, it’s also a way to reaffirm my beliefs, find inspiration for my aspirations, and provide encouragement when I need a little help.
Reading the Bible does all the above, but most importantly, it reaffirms my beliefs. Some days, I don’t have it. Some days I’m overwhelmed, discouraged, and can’t get above my tasks. I can always find encouragement and inspiration in God’s Word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that a man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” This scripture says it all! When I’m overwhelmed with mommy-hood, stressed out with running my household, and feel unheard or unappreciated in my marriage; I find my peace in reading the Bible. I firmly believe that somewhere in those 66 books, there is something for everyone going through everything!
I also like to keep an inspirational book on hand. This isn’t always a book about Christianity. When I was pregnant I loved reading literature about pregnancy and child-birth. I read books about business, historical figures, parenting, and relationships. I’m drawn to book that will not only entertain me but also inspire me. If I’m going to spend a few of my precious moments refueling, I want to use that time reading something that will motivate me to keep pushing.
When it comes to reading, I don’t put strict expectations on myself. Of course, now that I’m “mom”, it takes much longer to actually finish a book – or even a chapter! But I find that when I don’t have the words for a prayer or when I need some encouragement and no one is around, often, I can find it in The Bible or a good book.
This is obviously a big one for me! It’s literally what I’m doing right now. It’s not only something I enjoy, but it’s actually therapeutic for me. Writing is an outlet. Writing has been described in so many eloquent and beautiful ways… I won’t even attempt to echo them. For me, writing is the process of working through my thoughts, putting them on paper (or computer, or tablet, or phone), and then feeding them back to myself.
With writing, there are no limits, your creativity can run wild! You can write a prayer, a song, a poem. You can write a story, your dreams, or you can jot down some plans. You can write your experiences, your fears, you can even write your secrets. Habakkuk 2:2 is a well-known scripture, “Write the vision; make it plain…” Writing can be the perfect way to enhance your quiet time. If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you I’m a collector of notebooks. He might not be able to validate why I have all these notebooks and what I’m actually doing with them, but I believe in writing things down. From appointments and to-do lists to prayers and my worries. I write it all down!
Maybe you don’t feel comfortable praying aloud or maybe you don’t care to sit and read (now I’m really flattered that you’re reading my blog :-)). I would encourage you to buy a notebook and start writing down your thoughts and hopes for yourself and your family. You don’t even need a notebook. Most smartphones come with a notes app or you can even type out your thoughts on your computer. I think you’ll be surprised how good you’ll feel once you’ve gotten your thoughts off your mind and on paper.
These are just a few ways I enhance my “me time” during my busy day. It doesn’t always work out perfectly. Some days Cheyenne’s naps only last five minutes, others I can barely keep my eyes open to read. But I find in all the things we commit to as wives and mother’s; we must also be committed to ourselves. It’s important that we don’t put ourselves on the back burner. The saying is true: you cannot take care of someone else unless you have taken care of yourself. I know it’s hard. I’m nursing on demand and I feel like (and quite literally am) a walking dairy farm. But we gotta do it mamas! There is just 24 short hours in the day and you need to find time to plug into something Greater and release all the baggage. Find your space, find your thing – make the commitment to yourself. You’re worth it!