I read a poll claiming that, “one gift that seemed most important to women on Mother’s Day was quality time alone.” As a mother of young children, this statement did not shock me; this is exactly what I ‘ask’ for each year.  I felt partially vindicated to learn that  I’m not the only ogre whose greatest reward on Mother’s Day is to pretend NOT to be a mother for a brief spell.
But seriously, if I put Mother Guilt aside, I can tell you that I don’t really believe my need for respite is because I’m a bad mother. Rather, I need a break because I allot so much energy on a regualr basis to being a good mother. This is not to say that I accomplish this goal daily. But the effort and intention are there just the same. 

My children deserve the best from me.  But my best self sometimes gets lost between the soccer field and gymnastics class.   I have worried that once lost, my best self would never return.  

After many desperate attempts to find peace of mind and lightness of spirit, I’ve found the secret hiding place – solitude.     Being completely alone somewhere – anywhere - far away from my responsibilities, I return to that feeling of deep, patient, rewarding love for myself and my family. It’s in this place that I quickly realize how lonely the quiet can be. When I arrive there, all alone, I have to fight the urge to rush home to the comfort of chaos.  But I make myself stay long enough to hear everything the silence has to tell me. Only then can I return home with renewed inner strength to the role I love more than any other I’ve ever had – being Mom.

I’ve committed to this practice of alone time for the past several years with at least one weekend of solitude.  My family has enjoyed the benfits of a renewed mother so immensely, that when I had considered staying at home this year, they wholeheartedly encouraged me to go.   I don’t doubt that they’ll miss me or wish I would stay to ease the workload of a Spring weekend.  Still, they have embraced the notion that Mom’s self-care is a long term investment worth sacrificing for. 

In making a committment to oneself, you teach your children a valuable life lesson:  each of us is responsible for our own well-being.  It is only when we take care of ourselves that we are able to give our best selves to the world.

Q&A: Questions and Actions

  1. Have you honored the natural need to replenish your energy lately?
  2. Do you dare to be as generous to yourself as you are to your children?
  3. What makes you most joyful that you could do alone?  Alone is the key word.
  4. Make a promise to yourself to indulge your body and soul for one day.  Enlist help from family and friends to make it happen.  (Offer to reciprocate for other mothers if needed.) 
  5. Finally, reap the benefits.  Watch the world change in response to your newfound committment to yourself.  I’ll bet that the world has not fallen apart without you managing it for a day.  In fact, you’ll probably find that many problems will magically resolve themselves.
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