I took my kids swimming the other day and actually swam with them.
I didn’t sit on the edge and count heads like I normally do. I didn’t sit in my chair reading a book even though that would’ve been really nice.
I got in the water and played alongside them, and guess what? I had fun.
Maybe it’s because the years are flying by, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my own thoughts and perceptions of motherhood. I don’t want to simply survive motherhood or see this as a season when I “pay my dues” until my kids are older and we can have some real fun.
I’m learning to embrace motherhood—every season of it.
In order to do that though, I’m learning the importance of making an effort to do things that I enjoy and to take breaks.
I’m learning to continue to do things that I enjoy.
I love reading a good book. I can stay up late into the night if a book grabs my attention. My favorite past-time is beach vacations spent lying on a blanket in the sand reading. That’s not something mothers get to do very often.
Since becoming a mom, I don't have the luxury to stay up late or lie on a beach. Reading became something I tossed aside when graduate school and motherhood collided eight years ago.
This year I've made it a priority to do more of what I enjoy... reading.
I didn’t make a lofty goal to read a specific number of books this year, because I didn’t want another checklist. I don't need more pressure. I need to do simple things that I enjoy that allow me to get refreshed and renewed. The priority is to get lost in a book every now and then because I enjoy it.
Plus, good writers are good readers.
I’m learning how essential breaks are to me.
A few months ago, I told Scott that I needed a motherhood break. I didn’t need a night out or a trip to the store by myself. I needed a ‘get on an airplane and fly far away’ break. I was feeling exhausted.
I can’t rest at home. Even if the kids are occupied, there are always a million tasks that I want or need to handle. Plus, I don’t really know what to do with downtime. Is there such a thing?
Scott heard my plea for a break and sent me on a weekend getaway to a friend’s house in Texas. He gave me the gift of sleeping in, eating hot food, lying by a pool, reading a book, chatting with a great friend, and being just me for three days.
I didn’t allow guilt or fear to overtake me. I made myself relax the entire trip. The break renewed me.
If I don’t take time to take care of myself, I won’t be ready to handle all that God has for me and my family. It doesn’t always have to be a three-day trip. Honestly, quality time with a good friend did more for me than the actual length of the trip itself. I encourage all moms to take a break.
Taking breaks allows me to fully embrace the motherhood journey!
I'm learning to purposefully embrace motherhood.
Seeing the greater purpose and fully embracing motherhood hasn’t always come easily for me. Often, I treat motherhood like a to-do list wishing that someone would create a fool proof way to raise successful, God-loving human beings.
It’s easy to get caught with my head down plowing through the days as I think about how to successfully conquer each life stage.
I want to get my children through the baby stage. Check.
I want to get my children out of diapers. Check.
I want to get my children into school. Check.
I want to get my children to bathe on their own. Almost check.
There will always be things to check off the list on their way to becoming healthy, functioning adults, but there's so much more that I want to truly embrace on this journey of motherhood.
I want to embrace that my children are souls that God created for His glory. They are my gift to love, teach, and enjoy.
"Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?" Psalm 127:3 (MSG)
I want to choose to actually see my children as the best gifts to enjoy.
I don’t want to be the person checking the boxes as my kids grow. I want to be an active participant in the story God is writing for them. When I make it a priority to do things that I enjoy and take breaks for myself, it allows me to embrace motherhood.
Then, I gladly jump into the pool right alongside them.
What a gift.