Years ago, when my first three children were small, I found a book in a Christian bookstore. The title perfectly depicted how I felt at that time. So I bought it, carried it home, and hid it (still wrapped in the store bag) in my bedside table.
The title was: Sometimes I Feel Like Running Away From Home.
I was embarrassed for my husband to see it. My oldest was just learning to read and I didn’t want him to see it either. What would they think? How could I explain that I didn’t really want to leave, but every once in awhile I wanted to not be touched, pulled at or asked a question. I loved my family, but I felt like I was losing me. And then the guilt set in.
How could a woman who experienced three years of infertility and now had three healthy children ever want to be away from them? Wasn’t I supposed to be enjoying every peanut-butter kiss and jelly-smeared hug? What was wrong with me?
I don’t remember ever reading the book. I think I just kept it hidden. But I do remember the feelings.
And when those three emotions combine, you are nearing a danger point. While I never seriously considered running away, my soul needed refreshment. In the midst of being a full-time caregiver, I needed to be reminded that I was important. That my opinions were valuable. And that it was okay to incorporate my love of roses, afternoon tea and Wedgewood china into my life then, not set aside for some unknown date.
I remember the day things changed for me. It wasn’t a super-spiritual moment. It was a Target moment, standing in the shoe department looking at the most adorable girly tennis shoes. As the mother of three boys my life was consumed with masculine things. So for a brief moment, I dismissed the shoes, thinking they were too girly. I took two steps and froze. A thought crossed my mind: Wait. I’m a girl.
That day I bought the cute tennis shoes, and determined to start incorporating the things I loved into my life. I could only do it in little ways, but those little things sustained me on some of the hard days. A pretty coffee mug, fresh cut flowers on the table, a ruffled blouse. In the midst of the chaos, I created little vignettes of beauty, little moments of peace. Yes there was still Barney on the VCR and Hot Wheels in the hall. But those touches of me really helped.
Of course the answer to feeling overwhelmed and inadequate as a mom isn’t as simple as buying a cute coffee mug. Nothing can take the place of the peace the only Christ can bring. But identifying that my needs had value was a start. Once I admitted it to myself, I was able to let my needs be known to my husband, who was very supportive. I was able to be honest in prayer too, and God ministered to my spirit.
By the way, I still have the book. I found it before writing this post and smiled. It’s a reminder that time does pass, and perspective really helps. All moms need a break to get perspective. We need to rediscover us so that we can continue to give to others. After all, if there’s nothing left inside, what can we give?
I hope this post encourages you to treat yourself this Mother’s Day. You are valuable and important. You are worth a treat. You’ve got a big job and you need to be refreshed!
Speaking of being treated, we selected four commenters from the past two days at random to win copies of “Always There” featuring a devotion by Renee Swope, a Mining for God Character Calendar and a CD of a mom’s message by Renee. The winners are: Stephanie C posting May 8 at 3:09 am; Ron posting a May 8 at 5:05 am; Laura D. posting May 8 at 9:29 pm and Michelle May posting at 9 at 11:23 am. We will be sending you an email so please watch for it.
Thanks to everyone who commented. And if you’d like to leave a comment today, please remember to click here to be taken to my blog.
Happy Mother’s Day!