Here I am again, talking about balance. Here’s my other recent balance post.
Several weeks ago, I started seeing this article linked to in several places. The author talks about how baking bread is a really soul-nourishing practice for her but that her children always want to help her with it (basically eliminating the soul-nourishing part). At first she was resentful of this, but then she learned that it was really important for her to allow her children to, “be part of our lives. They want to know what it is that we love, and learn to love it too. They simply want to be with us.”
She challenges us to allow our children into our lives and hearts and that ultimately we will find that this is soul-nourishing for mama and child.
So true. It’s a good reminder to me to allow Ellie and Mark to work alongside me and to be with me as we go through our day. Unfortunately, though, that message is also all too easy to be extended to mean, “Feel guilty for wanting to do something soul-nourishing without your children. Feel selfish if you need alone time to be sane. Feel like a terrible mom if you don’t love having your children next to you at all times.” It’s a pretty easy trap to fall into.
About a week later, I read this post. I don’t know the author or her back story. I don’t know why she’s in desperate need of self-care as she is. But her story is a good reminder that sometimes it takes a conscious, deliberate effort to feed our own souls to even get to the point where we are able to nourish our children’s souls. She challenges moms to believe that it’s OK to do what we need to do for ourselves, that it is, “never a waste of time to try to make things better.”
So there you go. A little balance again, please. Yes, our children want to be with us, need to be with us and yes, for the most part (maybe even almost all the time), we should invite them into our lives. But it’s OK if we also need to be away from them. Children don’t always need to be given what they want the most. What children NEED the most is a mama who is able to take care of herself and of them.
We haven’t failed if we decide that we need to bake bread by ourselves. I personally always make bread with Ellie and Mark because I don’t know when else I would have time to make it! And I often sew with them next to me or at my feet because I have so many projects to get done. But, it is also important for me to get some sewing time by myself to think, to slow down, to really enjoy what I’m doing. For me, this usually happens at night after they’re both asleep.
During the day though, it is nice to have at least a few minutes of alone time – for example, to pee in peace. Ellie has learned to ask me if I “want privacy” and generally, she’ll close the door to the bathroom and leave me alone now. That’s pretty nice, isn’t it?! 🙂