Me time. Many mothers want “me time” for their Mother’s Day gift. I get it. Trust me. As the mother of five children in five years, you don’t have to tell me how exhausting parenting can be. I too, wanted time alone for my Mother’s Day gift for many, many years.
Something strange would always happen after I would spend a few hours with a cup of coffee, my favorite cookie from Panera (kitchen sink cookie is the best!), some books, notebook, pens, and Bible. First, I would feel guilty for wanting to have a break from my precious children. After all, it was what I had always hoped and dreamed of- my own family, a houseful of children, marriage, staying home and homeschooling. They are a gift from the Lord, right?? I can’t say I felt quite prepared for how much work parenting actually was, especially in those younger years where the discipline and training seemed constant. There was a season where all I ever wanted was “me time” thinking it would satisfy the exhaustion of my soul.
Second, I would return home, often to a clean house with the dishes done because I have an amazing husband (shout out to Greg!), even more guilt-laden that somehow he could manage to clean things up with five children in tow and I couldn’t. Not only that, but I’d re-enter the world of motherhood and instantly sigh.
Nothing had changed my home from me getting this “me time” I so desperately wanted. The kids still fought, discipline was still needed, schoolwork still had to get done, as did all the normal household chores. Yes, they still wanted to eat dinner. every. single. night! Truly, the most expensive part of homeschooling is the groceries!
me time expectations
The expectation for “me time” is that it will completely and utterly refresh our souls. At least, that was my hope. That when we walk back into the door of our home, chaos will cease and peace will prevail. I expected my time away would make my children behave better, fight less, and make me a more patient mother.
Except that it didn’t.
Unmet expectations always leads to disappointment.
I’d be extremely disappointed to come home and find all the attitudes still in place. A clean house was great, but better behave children would be better. Being more organized from my “me time” spent planning meals, chores, and all the things was my hope. Now, I not only felt guilty for wanting time away, but failure shamed me when what I was expecting didn’t actually come to fruition.
time with Jesus
Somewhere along my motherhood journey, I realized it wasn’t “me time” that I really needed. Even if some of that time was spent reading God’s word. I really just needed Jesus. Everyone likes me better when I’ve spent time with the Lord. My children don’t need me to try harder to be patient; they need my surrender to the Holy Spirit and let Him work through me.
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”Matthew 11:28-30 bold mine
Jesus. He is the one who will give us the rest our souls are longing for. He alone can give us the refreshment to persevere in motherhood. Hands down, parenting is the hardest job I’ve ever had! These humans depend on me to keep them alive!
No amount of pedicures, manicures, massages, hair cuts, or girls nights out will give us the rest we are looking for. Placing my hope in things left me wanting. It left me frustrated that what the world promised would satisfy me, didn’t. The world can never give us what Jesus can and wants to give us.
I’m not totally sure when the shift happened in my life, but I stopped desiring so much time to myself. Maybe as our children got older, I didn’t feel like I needed it as much. Really, I think it was that I made being in God’s word priority over the years. Since moving to North Carolina, I’ve had a few nights out with friends, but I’m not sure that I have gone out by myself. Maybe it is just an added of blessing of being obedient to God’s call that I no longer feel the deep pull and desire to spend so much time away from my home. I can’t pinpoint one certain event or time that has led to this place in my life of being satisfied.
Motherhood still has its challenges. Parenting teenagers is much different than toddlers. Praying for my children is still getting me through the hard times. I’m grateful. I’m grateful to finally grasp that my children don’t need more me, a better version of me, or the best version of me. They need the me that spends time with Jesus. That is the best me, when I live open-handed, allowing God to do His transforming work in my life.
The world only offers a cheap substitute, at best, for what God wants to give you. If you are like I was once, and find that “me time” isn’t satisfying you, turn to Jesus. Pour your heart out to Him. He wants to hear from you: the good, the bad, the ugly. Let Him search your heart. Confess and repent if necessary. Let Him be the rest and refreshment your soul is longing for.