At a recent Bible study, a young mom told us that she knew she was supposed to put her husband and children first, but then she asked if it was wrong for her to feel like she needed some time alone, away from the demands of her family.
Last week I wrote that we need to get away from the selfishness encouraged by our culture—that it’s NOT all about me. Today I’d like to talk about the balance of that: just where do I fit on my priority list?
There will be times when we have to take care of ourselves in order to be able to take care of those whom God has put under our care.
I like the example of commercial airline flight attendants who explain that if there is a drop in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down, and those sitting with small children are to put their masks on first before helping the child.
Why is this? Are they saying the adult is more important?
No, the reason is that if the adult doesn’t get the oxygen first, he or she may not be able to help the child.
Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) are trained to watch out for themselves first in crisis situations. Think of it. If an EMT gets hurt, not only is there one less person to take care of the victims, but they also lose a second caregiver because someone must help the EMT.
Jesus even withdrew from serving people at times to have some time alone with the Father. He knew how important that was.
When my children were small (four children ages five and under, including a set of baby twins), I was stressed out a lot—for some reason 😉 There was more to do than it was humanly possible to get done, and there were four little people clamoring for my attention in one way or another seemingly all the time!
My husband could see what the stress was doing to me. The more children we had, the more he helped. For example, when we had our second child, we took turns putting the children to bed; when there were four, he took over that job completely. By bedtime I had usually had as much of the “mamamamamamamamama” that I could take. As they got older, Tim often kept the kids for me on Saturday so I could have some time alone.
I needed that time away from my children. I loved them very much, but I realized that when I got to the place that I was getting angry, snapping at them, and feeling burned out, I was not going to be able to do or be good for them.
Don’t feel guilty if you need some time off from the very important jobs of being a wife and/or a mother.
It may be time to put on your oxygen mask!
- Trade babysitting with a friend.
- Go to the grocery store alone when Dad is home.
- Take a bubble bath and explain to the children that you are not to be disturbed except for an emergency (such as blood!).
- Watch the movie, “Moms Night Out,” with your husband if possible. I found it funny and very encouraging.