Have any of you, my dear momma friends, ever wondered what would happen if you (the mom) went away for five days—like, would everyone survive, would they eat actual meals, and would they make it to school with clean underwear on?
Well, I can now officially tell you that this answer is YES! They do survive, and YES! They mostly ate real food, and well, I honestly can’t answer whether or not everyone made it to school with clean socks and underwear everyday last week, but I can tell you that it doesn’t really matter.
I know this isn’t new for some of you—some of you have taken week long business trips, or trips to visit family in other parts of the country, so you know how this goes. You know they all survive and that they appreciate you more when you return (they actually told me that!). You know that it’s ok to get away.
This was new for me, leaving the house for five solo days with dad in charge. Scott and I have been away together before , but his mom has always come to stay and she’s like Mary Poppins in our house (somehow she gets all of the laundry done and our sheets changed in the time she’s here—I honestly think she’s a miracle worker!).
|A picture of me with my kiddos when we all got pedicures
before our last Florida trip.
I felt bad about leaving all of the responsibility to Scott. I felt badly that the kids might miss me. I felt like I might be neglecting my responsibilities in some way…
But, I got over it, made the effort, was glad I did, and they all made it! They made it to school every day with semi-legitimate lunch food. They all bathed, practiced piano, made it to ballet, gymnastics and soccer, and as far as I know all homework was turned in a timely manner, and at least one load of socks and underwear was washed.
Can we say success?!
It really was a success…on all fronts, and I’m sharing this with you in case you were ever tempted to do something similar, but have been stricken with panic attacks about what might happen if you actually left the house for that long. I’m here to tell you that it will all be ok!
So here’s the next big question you might be wondering. It’s a question I was wondering before I left: Does a mom actually feel refreshed after being away for five days?
The answer to that is a resounding, “Yes!” as well.
In my case, I was doing something I loved all week. I was in the mountains (love!), where the sun was shining (can I get an Amen?!), with other writers (extra LOVE), attending classes on writing all day (love), gathering for fellowship and worship (LOVE!), and eating meals that I didn’t have to shop for, prepare or clean up after (OMG! Love. Love. LOVE! I actually do enjoy cooking, but a break from cooking daily is really nice too!).
The reality is that I did come home feeling refreshed.
The big girls told me they have a new appreciation for my lunch making skills (score!), and my littlest one missed me so much that she wanted to snuggle all day on Friday, which was great because she was off of school.
But here’s the thing, because there’s always a “thing” when you’re a mom. This is what you should know if you go away, the thing that has to do with what it feels like to return: Within five days of being back home, back into the fray—the laundry, lunch packing, homework, chauffeuring, shopping, cooking, problem solving, play date arranging, yard pick up, fray—it can feel like you never left…in both good ways and in hard ways.
The good is that you step right back into your rhythm—your husband is grateful to have a second set of hands back on deck, your kids are extra grateful for all that you do and actually tell you so (which is sweet), and the piles of unsorted papers, mis-matched socks, and unsorted laundry are all patiently waiting for your return.
The hard is when the overwhelm seeps back in, and it happens fast—the moment where you realize how hard it is to actually make time to read and write on a regular basis, even though you realize keenly that they are practices that feed your soul. The hard is when you are staring at a domestic to-do list a mile long, and comparing it to a “dream” list that also feels a mile long, and you’re not sure how to reconcile the two.
You realize the only thing you can do is to keep on doing…you get up and make lunches, and give big kisses. You pray for your kiddos before school, and plant flowers and vegetables with them afterwards. You jot down everything you’re thinking about on oodles of paper, from the fact that you need more toilet paper to the brilliant website concept that just ran through your mind: All on one crazy sheet of paper, or dozens, with different colored markers.
You just keep plugging away with a smile on your face, and hope in your heart…even when you’re tired. Sometimes you’re so tired that you just get quiet for a while, but you keep hugging and doing no matter what.
This is what it looks like to be a mom and pursue a passion—for some women that passion may come in regular weekly hours at more formal jobs, for me it has come in bits an pieces, sometimes in scraps of borrowed time, sometimes in chunks of intentionally created time. For every woman it looks a little bit different, unique to them, but the same in the sense that it’s not easy, and it can create tension in your life, and sometimes you wonder if “it’s all” worth it.
To that, I would also say YES! Yes, it is worth it.
I met a woman last week who has 9 children (Hi Kerrith!), four of her own and five siblings who she adopted through an international adoption process (which is a HUGE task in and of itself!). She is currently working on a historical romance novel in her “spare” time (because I’m sure she has lots of it, right?!). What I love most about Kerrith is that her passion to write didn’t stop her from adopting 5 children from a foreign country (she had only planned on one, but these siblings needed a home), and the fact that she adopted five children, adding to the four she already had, hasn’t stopped her from pursuing her passion to write, and homeschool!
She actually brought her ninth grade daughter to the conference with her last week—how cool is that?
It was dozens of women like Kerrith that I met last week that reminded me that its ok, even good, to pursue our passions no matter how entrenched we our in our parenting. It’s simply part of what makes us us.
So, if you like to paint, make time to paint. If you like to sing, find places to sing. If you love rescue animals, find a local group to support and do some volunteer work with. If you like to cook, take a cooking class, maybe one of your kids even wants to go along! If you like to write, there are a lot of ways to write—poetry, fiction (romance, mystery, suspense, etc.), non-fiction, devotionals, essays—find ways to write (feel free to ask me, I’m happy to offer advice).
Ultimately, I want to encourage you be the WHOLE you that God created you to be. The creativity, and living out of your passions, will fuel and re-new your spirit in ways you can’t even comprehend until you’re walking out of that place of passion.
I’m going to leave you with a few words from Jo Saxton
, and make sure you read the whole quote (even though it’s long) because it’s SOOOO good. This is from her book The Dream of You,
“Remember, your voice, your vocation, is the expression of your redeemed identity. It needs to be heard. It’s a story that needs to be told. You aren’t just a recipient of the blessing of God’s family. You’re a contributor. You get to reconnect people to the bigger picture when you tell them your story. You will help others recover their names, their full names. You will use your voice to sing the songs they have hidden in their hearts out of fear, and you will help them find their voices and unleash their purpose. This is part of the life that you were made for.”
Your voice, your vocation is the EXPRESSION of your redeemed identity. Isn’t that beautiful?
What does that look like for you today? This week? This month? This year? Who is the whole you that God created you to be, and how can you integrate that into your life as a mom?
I will say, it’s not easy, and you have to keep your expectations pretty low, especially while you’re babies are little. But, the effort is worth it and you’ll be a better mother for it…So friends, go sing out of the voice.
I want to hear you!
(This post is #4 in a series of 30 posts where I simply write about daily life. Some of the posts may be long, others may just be snippets, but either way I had gotten out of the habit of blogging and so in an attempt to create a new rhythm I’m giving myself the freedom to write about whatever comes to mind for a period of time. I was originally going to post every day for 30 days, but that proved…well, impossible at this season of life. So, the 30 days will come as they will…simply as I can post them…)