31 Days to Embracing Motherhood · motherhood · reflections

When You Need a Time-Out to Balance It All

A re-publish of one of my Embracing Motherhood posts.  Linking up with Kayse today for Balancing Marriage&Mommyhood.

I’ve written about time outs before.  The difference between mommy time outs and kid time outs here.  How sometimes life hands us a time out that’s not necessarily what was planned.

I’ve learned to embrace a lot about motherhood, time out for myself included.

So why don’t I use it more often?  Instead I stretch myself to the breaking point, I build up frustration, and I collapse under pressure.

I know that at the end of the day, no one is going to congratulate me because I finished everything on my to-do list, and no one is standing by with a stopwatch to track how many moments I actually played with my kids.

But at the end of the day if I’ve been cruel with words or short with patience or drained with fatigue, there are four little pairs of eyes and ears who have noticed and who have been hurt and who deserve better.

So if better means that sometimes I take a break from being a mommy to spend some time alone, or with the Lord, or with my friends, or even with their daddy that is being a great mother.

Do you hear me?  Take a break.  Don’t be a martyr.  The laundry will always be around, the puzzles will eventually get put together, and most kids delight in being left with someone else for a bit, especially if that someone else has different toys or books or snacks.

When I chose to embrace the wonder that is motherhood, I also chose to accept that somedays I would need to walk away from crying and diapering and whining.


And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.” For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.        

~Mark 6:31

Isn’t that a picture of motherhood?  Jesus knew.  He knew what it was to be pressed in on all sides and to need a moment to breathe.  He knew what it was to have no time to even eat.
So put yourself in time-out every now and then.  Breathe.  Eat.  Sleep.  Rest
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31 Days to Embracing Motherhood

31 Days: What I’ve Learned About Embracing Motherhood

Sometimes it’s hard.  It’s oh, so very hard to be grateful for every moment, to find the blessing in sleepless nights and pee-soaked carseats and sucker sticks stuck to the carpet.

But embracing this time doesn’t have to mean liking it all the time, or even being grateful for all those nuisances that sometimes threaten to overwhelm my rational thoughts and send me spiraling back into a dark place.

Embracing motherhood is just that–it’s holding in my arms this season of my life and cherishing it for what it is–a season.  Because while I will forever be their mother, I will not forever be their world. I will not forever be their first thought, first love, first comfort.

But when I embrace this season, when I hold it in my arms with words and images and memories, I keep it forever.

Gus will turn six months old tomorrow.  Amelia sings her ABCs and counts to ten.  Annabelle grew an inch in a month.  Madelynne is talking about Salena Gomez and Taylor Swift instead of Dora and Pocahontas.

Already I wish for some of their smaller days back, for fleeting moments of innocence and silliness, for them all to be small enough to tuck safely against my chest when we go out into the world.  I close my eyes, or scroll back through this blog, or open a journal pressed flat and live those moments again.

I remember what was hard and I give thanks I made it through.  I’ve learned that I can’t force every moment into a cherished memory, but I can cherish the moments I want to remember.

I’ve also learned that I should think blogging commitments through before I make them, which is why you won’t find 31 posts here.  But you will find many, some I probably wouldn’t have written if I hadn’t linked up 31 days ago and then felt compelled to squeeze out words between naptime and suppertime and bathtime and homework-time.  Here are some of my favorites I hope you will take the time to skim if you haven’t already…

Day 2: When It’s Not What You Expected

Day 6: When Letting Go

Day 9: When You’re Not Alone

Day 12: In the Hardest Times

Day 16: When It’s All About Perspective

Day 19: Look

Day 28: When All You Have is a Clean(ish) Floor

31 Days to Embracing Motherhood · amelia

31 Days Embracing Motherhood: When All You Have is a Clean(ish) Floor

I mentioned last post that we’ve been potty training around here lately.  I thought she’d gotten it, really thought so.  A week of no diapers and lots of “I gotta go potty now!” and rushing, rushing, rushing so she could say, “I tinkle!  It change colors.”  (you know, because we don’t drink nearly enough water…)

Then we went to the beach.

And while that was fun, she apparently forgot how to potty.  I don’t know. Maybe it was the swimsuit.  Or the sand.  Or the really big fish.

But ever since we returned to our regular routine, she’s been “forgetting” and I’ve been cleaning.

The upside to all this is that the kitchen floor has got to be cleaner than it was at the beginning of the month, right?

for all my 31 Days posts click here.  and no, you aren’t miscounting.  I’m missing a few days. Imperfection.  It’s another trait to embrace about motherhood.  and blogging.  and life. and my kids’ rooms. 

31 Days to Embracing Motherhood · http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post

31 Days Embracing Motherhood: Making the Trade

I went blog silent in the middle of my 31 Days series because 
my life right now needed a lot less of this…

…and a lot more of this.

I’ll be back tomorrow and the rest of the month to finish out my 31 Days on Embracing all the trials and tribulations of motherhood (did I mention we’ve been potty training and cloth diapering? I think I’ve gone insane.)
This may have been breaking the rules for the link up, but lately, I think I spend too much time following rules anyway.  
31 Days to Embracing Motherhood · Friday Five · gus

31 Days Embracing Motherhood: Look {5 min Friday}

When I look at him he smiles back.  Always, invariably, big two little tooths winking at me, smiling.  I see his grin that spreads to his eyes fringed in lashes longer than mine and I snuggle him close and kiss and kiss and kiss all over those fat baby cheeks and I look again.

I can’t stop marveling at him.  He is beautiful.  He is perfectly and wonderfully made.  He is mine for this little while.

And for a time I didn’t know how much I wanted him.

I didn’t know how much I would need to have another baby to hold and cuddle and love and I never once imagined that this baby would be my only son, my calming force in the dramatic tirade of strong-willed girls.  I didn’t know how much I would fall in love with this baby whose gestation kept me in hiding crying in the shower crying out to God that I could never do this again.

I’m so blessed to have been trusted with this little life.

So I look at him. I drink him in.  He folds his hands in prayer when he’s sleeping.  He buries his face in the crook of my arm.  He looks at me and smiles and there’s a dimple in his cheek.

Just like mine.

I can’t stop looking. I can’t stop seeing the miracle.

Five Minute Friday

31 Days to Embracing Motherhood

31 Days Embracing Motherhood: This Too Shall Pass

I would love to tell you that I’m putting lots of thought and prayer and consideration into each of these posts. I would love to tell you that I hope my words touch you in some way, help you through a bad day, or make you hug your kids a little tighter before you spank them for getting out of bed for the umpteenth time.

Truth is, I do hope those things, but I’m not in a place where everything I write here is going to be poetic and inspiring.  And my guess?  You’re glad it’s not.

My reality today is exhaustion.  I’m tired.  The baby still isn’t sleeping.  He’s either coughing or crying or gurgling all night long.  When he is sleeping, Amelia isn’t.

So I’m tired and I have no words of inspiration, except the simple promise a woman who’s on the other side of motherhood tells me frequently,

This too shall pass.


31 Days to Embracing Motherhood

31 Days Embracing Motherhood: When It’s All About Perspective

You know how you’ll have a really good day as a mom or homemaker or employee or all of the above and you’ll get so much done (like canning 8 jars of apple butter and folding three loads of laundry) and feel really good about your accomplishments and you’ll put your kids to bed with a kiss and lie down and thank God for His grace that got you through the day and then–
then the next day happens.

Today was my next day.

Tonight I really needed grace.  Tonight I violated the “no-yelling” day we were having. I got impatient.  I got grouchy.  I got overwhelmed.

But you know what?

Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it.

At least not yet.

That’s the thing about motherhood–I’m going to make mistakes.  I’m going to mess up.  I’m not always going to get it right and I’m not always going to have the patience of Job.

okay, I’m never going to have the patience of Job.

But I’m going to get up tomorrow and do it again and try again and love again and be grateful (and frustrated) again…
because that’s what motherhood is.  It’s a fumble through the dark to rock a crying baby, stub your toe on a toy, acceptance of messy bathrooms and sticky counters, begging prayer for sleep, endurance love.

Please, Lord, give me rest for tonight and more grace for tomorrow.

For all the 31 Days posts on embracing these choppy waters of motherhood, click here.