As mothers, we spend each moment of our existence worrying and preparing for our family, household, career, etc. There is necessity in this work and our nurturing spirits thrive in this space. However, the weight of these tasks takes its toll and you can quickly lose yourself within the controlled chaos of life.
Taking a mental and physical break from your family may seem impossible at times, but is important and, as we discuss later, biblical. Stepping away from the redundancy of motherhood, wifehood, etc., is where you reconnect with yourself and your faith journey. Here we discuss the ever so essential “mom break” and why it’s important for all moms, especially Christian moms.
The Risk of Not Taking Mom Breaks
Let’s first start with the risks of not taking mom breaks. First, you exhaust yourself to an unhealthy point mentally, emotionally and physically. When we are not the best versions of ourselves, everyone suffers. Our families require massive amounts of patience and grace. When we are at the end of our ropes, there is little of either to give. This gives way to anger, rage, emotional outbursts, sadness, and all of those words and actions that we regret later.
In addition to potentially hurting those around us, we also hurt ourselves. When we have nothing left to give, we have nothing left for God. When there’s no remaining time or mental capacity, we are unable to pursue our faith and the path that God has laid out for us. God calls each of us to run our own race. He needs us to complete the tasks he’s put in us. Mom breaks can help you reclaim that.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”– Hebrews 12:1
Now that you understand why a mom break is necessary, it’s time to explain how a mom break can be a biblical principle. In Genesis, we read the well-known scripture,
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”Genesis 2:24
This scripture points out two very important considerations for mothers. Although this scripture may sound simple when you first read it, God’s word is profound and is always much deeper than the first impression.
Mom Breaks Allow You to Prioritize Yourself
The first thing this scripture points out is that our children will one day leave us. Parenting is the process of preparing our children to live life without us. We teach the needed skills for them to care for themselves, make wise choices and create a beautiful life of their own. Although parenting never fully ends, there does come a time when it doesn’t consume the greater part of your days. This is why it’s important to keep a base line of “who you are”, even throughout the busiest years of raising a family.
God has created each of us with his purpose and plan. Raising a family can make it challenging to chase dreams and pursue what God has for us, but it’s not impossible. Is God calling you to lead a ministry, volunteer, create a business that will be a blessing to your family and others? What is it that God needs you to do? Mom breaks allow you to recenter and refocus on these priorities. In addition to our own faith journey, mom breaks give us back the strength and perseverance needed to lead our family in a Christ-centered way. You need to be a priority!
Mom Breaks Allow You to Prioritize Your Marriage
The next part of the scripture calls out the obvious – that we left our own family to be married. This reiterates the importance of your relationship with your spouse. It’s way too easy to be consumed by parenting to forget that our spouse needs us just as much. The best thing you can give to your children is a strong marriage. Kids are protected within a strong marriage, more established in their emotional health and are better able to find positive relationships in the future. Marriage should be a priority, even during the busy days of raising a family. Mom breaks allows you the time to refuel your physical and emotional energy so that you are able to give to your partner.
What Does a Mom Break Look Like?
Now that we have established the importance of taking a mom break, we move into what a mom break looks like and doesn’t look like. Mom breaks are certainly not cookie cutter and will not be the same from person to person. That’s why it’s important to figure out what is practical and effective for you. Even if you have to go back to the drawing board to figure out the best time and place for a mom break – it’s worth it!
A mom break should contain two things:
1) a moment (however long that is) where you are focused on you and
2) a time when you have no other demands.
It’s so tempting to assume you can take a mom break while in the shower or driving car pool. No. Reason being, although mothers are the masters of multi-tasking, multi-tasking isn’t always the most effective. A mom break needs to be when you can be still with your thoughts. Focused on what is actually going through your head.
Getting Started with Mom Breaks
As mentioned, a mom break will look different for each person. If you’re really motivated and feel it would be practical, check out this article Quiet Time for the Wife and Mom. This is before the household stirs – just you. I was able to do this, even after my first child’s birth and maintained it through my second pregnancy. My second doesn’t sleep…ever…so morning routines went out the window. But that’s okay. I had to learn to adapt. You might be in the same boat.
If you’re in a similar situation, try incorporating these tips:
1) use your kid’s schedules to your advantage. If your kids still have nap times – mom break. If your kids are still sleepy and want to watch shows after nap or waking in the morning – mom break.
2) use food, screen time or their favorite activity to keep them in one place.
Like everything, moderation is key. When it’s snack time, I know I can turn on the TV and have at least 5 minutes of uninterrupted time to myself – mom break. It’s not glamorous, but I make it effective. Or, both kids are obsessed with water. I can put one at the sink and the other with a water tray on the floor – boom, 10 minutes of mom break. Yes, there’s water to wipe up, but, again, worth it. Your sanity is worth it!
What to do During a Mom Break
Not sure of what to do during a mom break? Check out this article on Mind Mapping. Some simple ways to get start is by journaling, reading, mind mapping, reflecting on your day, saying a prayer. The goal is to take time away from the moment-to-moment demands of family, household, work, etc. It’s specifically time for you to refocus.
I hope this brought you encouragement and most of all, gives you the awareness that you are important and worth taking care of! Take some time to think through how you can prioritize a mom break within your day. When your mom break moment comes, take a deep breath, give your concerns to God and allow him to refill your cup. Then, you will be able to fully and abundantly live the life he has bless you with!