Ok, mamas, this one is for you. This topic was laid on my heart a few weeks ago when absolutely nothing seemed to be going according to my plans. As you know, I stay home with my two precious little girls, ages 2 and 4 months. I made a choice to stay home and a promise to tend their hearts diligently while I'm home with them. Little hearts need constant tending. Constant.
They need constant reassurance that you are there, that you see them, that they are beautiful and loved. They need help and encouragement, nourishment and washing, discipline and empathy. They need everything you have every minute you are with them. You are their life source. So what happens when the life source is dry? When you have poured every ounce of love, patience and discipline in to those tiny hearts? You need you time to refill and refresh yourself, to pour into yourself so that you can pour into them.
Ok, well...raise your hands, mamas, if you've ever heard that baby cry right when you sit down to enjoy your 3 times reheated cup of coffee. If you've ever gotten up early to journal, pray, or meditate, and heard that tiny toddler voice calling "Mama" an hour earlier than normal. If you've ever tried to go for a walk by yourself, but a little one clings to your legs begging to "please come too" or "please don't go". If you've ever tried to get out the door to meet friends for the first time in weeks, and your baby suddenly needs to nurse AGAIN or your little one cries in need of you.
Welcome to reality, right? Our time is not our own. We are needed all the time. We never get to clock out and be truly off duty. But, we need time to refill and refresh ourselves. We must tend our own hearts so that we can tend our children's hearts. So what's a mama to do? How do we still find sparks of joy when our rare and precious alone time becomes their time?
We pause and we praise. We pause to allow ourselves to come to terms with our plans being overruled. We respond the way we choose to respond; we offer ourselves grace and acceptance. And we praise the Lord for the precious little life He has entrusted to us. We cling to Him for as our life source in this moment when we are tired and drained and cannot go on alone. We pray constantly to find joy in our children. When we tune into them, even when we are drained, we will find great joy. We must prepare our hearts and minds to receive their joy and allow them to help sustain us for a while.
We encourage and empower each other. It truly does take a village, mamas. Find your village. Ask for the help you need. When you prioritize yourself, others will prioritize you too. Take the firm steps you need to ensure (as best you can) that you are allowed some uninterrupted time to tend your own heart and claim your joy. Get the babysitter, enlist a friend or relative, tell your spouse what you need. Your children need you to take care of yourself. Your well tended heart becomes their well tended hearts. Your joy becomes their joy. You are a priority.
Be the village. See the mamas in your life who need to be lifted up. Tell them you see them. Tell them they are beautiful and that you see the love and life they are pouring into their children. Encourage them and help them. Tell them to prioritize themselves. Affirm their value as a mother, but also as a person. Your love can help them release the guilt they feel for taking time for themselves. Your understanding can help them release the shame they feel for needing help. We are all running a race, heads down focusing on keeping our own little worlds from spinning out of control. But if we could just look up, see each other, and offer love and grace to one another we could make our worlds so much more peaceful and accepting. We could be better together for the children we love.
So mamas, when your time becomes their time, and it will. Just breathe. Rest in Jesus and offer yourself grace. Ask for the help you need. Take time to tend your own heart so that you can tend your children's hearts. Find your village and allow them to pour into you. Also, be the village. See one another and lift each other up. Let's help each other become our best selves. When we are our best, our children will be their best. When your time becomes their time, you will be ok. You have control over your response. You have rest in the Lord, joy in your children, and encouragement from your village. You will thrive.