The other day, a friend of mine posted this on her Facebook: Remember to take care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
This is especially convicting for me because I have been very focused on my first word of the year: diligence. I am working hard at work, with my kids, at home, on my blog, trying to ignite my podcast, read my Bible every day, spend time praying for my husband, connecting with others… and my second word of the year is nagging at me. Spoiler alert: it’s the word REST. I’m not going to go into it too much because it’s really a blog entry in itself. But I have been reading a lot about God demanding his people to rest.
I know from personal experience that if we do not choose to stop and rest, sometimes life has a way of MAKING US STOP. Maybe we get sick, maybe we find ourselves fatigued or anxious or depressed.
I had strep two times this past month. Admittedly, I think the second time I got it was because I neglected to take my amoxicillin for the full 10 days (anyone else a forgetter?). The first time, Clay and I both had it, and my mom graciously kept our girls for two nights and two days so we could rest and recover. By the end, I got my kids back and was so happy to see them, but realized how desperately I need time to myself to rest. For the record, being sick is not that time. I went immediately from being an over extended college student in hot pursuit of my degree, to being a mom. I never got a break or a time to just be a lazy adult who gets to sleep in on weekends or go shopping for hours. I know it’s the life I chose, but a little relaxation certainly goes a long way.
So this is permission to all you moms who work tirelessly in the home with your kids all day, outside of the home for others, homeschooling, or busting your butt for the PTA. Whatever it is that you’re doing, I hope I’m coming in loud and clear:
HONEY, YOU NEED TIME FOR YOURSELF!
I know I am not the only one who cries for time alone to do simple, relaxing things for myself… but then on the rare occasion I go and do it, I feel the familiar choking feeling of guilt. This is especially true as a mom who works outside the home, because our time with our children is already way too limited. I am here today to say I am done being guilty. Having time alone to rest and relax, especially as a mom, is restorative. It is something we need to do, for the health of our hearts and for our minds, to be able to love our children better.
A week ago I was having a hard time loving my kids. I was being impatient, irritable, and grumpy with them, not my usual self which is generally pretty gentle and empathetic. In the interest of being real, this is the actual text I sent my sister: “Do you ever just want your children to go away? I am struggling so much right now. Everything they do annoys me. I have very little grace and I feel like I’m mad all the time.” I did not like the mom I was being or the way I was treating them. You know what I needed? Rest. On Sunday night I went out by myself (thank you, Clay), had a couple drinks, and knocked out some blog posts, to-do items, and design work. I was giggly and happy, stayed up way too late, and the next morning I felt like a new person.
You cannot pour from an empty cup. Don’t fill it with more coffee in an attempt to just barely survive the day, fill it with rest–a hike, a beer on a patio by yourself, a cup of tea as you read or do nothing but watch the rain. You need “you time”–time to write, to paint, to sweat, to listen to the music YOU like (and not the Trolls soundtrack).
I had some business to do this morning, and after it was done I had the option to pick up Stella early from school, or go back in to work after I’d already decided to take the day off, or clean my house (it needs it), but instead, I’m sitting outside at my favorite bar having a root beer (it is only 1pm, after all). I’m writing, I’m sipping, and I’m taking deep, rejuvenating breaths. It’s 66°, sun is warming my face, and there is a gentle breeze lifting the awnings above the outdoor seating area.
I do not feel the guilt; I refuse to be choked. I work incredibly hard, constantly giving of myself for my kids, my husband, my students. I do not have to justify my rest to myself or anyone else.
And neither do you.
So fill your cup, mama. Fill it with rest and prayer and let it overflow onto the dear hearts and souls in your home, and into every area of your life and work. Fill your cup.