I’m a better mom for leaving.
Let me back up a little: Being a mom is one of the most rewarding things in life. I spent the majority of my life dreaming of the day that I would become a mom, so naturally, I am overwhelmed with thankfulness and in awe of how beautiful this role is. The kisses and hugs, snuggles and smiles. The milestones met and personalities developed. There’s nothing as rewarding as being a mom.
But there’s also nothing as difficult.
As a mom of five kids under the age of eight, I have my fair share of difficult days. Days when I yell at my kids because they’re being kids while I’m trying to get through a to-do list of laundry and chores. Days when I can’t smile to save my life because I’m too concerned with their behavior being above perfection while we make a trip to the grocery store. Days when all I want to do is set all five kids in front of the TV for two hours so that I don’t have to answer one more question or break up one more argument.
As moms, it’s easy to allow these difficult days to become the norm and steal our joy. I found myself in this spot not too long ago. Right in the middle of feeling overwhelmed by motherhood, I randomly had a chance to get away for a few hours one morning and I realized a very important truth:
I’m a better mom for leaving.
Now don’t get me wrong. I didn’t leave my kids in the walk-away-never-come-back sense. I left my kids in the hands of responsible adults for a few hours while I sat at Panera and ate a bagel by myself. While I enjoyed that Cinnamon Crunch bagel with Honey Walnut Cream Cheese (the best bagel choice possible), I thought a lot about why leaving was actually good for me AND my kids.
When I experience silence, my heart and mind are able to reflect and think more clearly.
Silence is non-existent in motherhood. There’s always a question being asked, a song being sung, an opinion being voiced, or a tantrum ringing loud for all to hear. Not even the calmest mother on the planet can think clearly with all of that noise. Silence is a must for our sanity, but it doesn’t come when we stay in the bubble of the daily grind. We must step out and seek silent moments so that our hearts and minds can be still. It’s in the stillness and silence that we are able to reflect on why we do what we do. It’s there that we find reminders of our purpose and motivation to keep going.
When I do something for myself, I’m able to do more for my family.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” I think a mom probably penned that phrase because who else understands this predicament better than a mom? We try so hard to give everyone exactly what they need. Clean clothes for the week? Check. Four different variations of dinner so that everyone will eat? Done. An extra glass (or ten) of water before bed? Got it. But there comes a point when we have nothing left to give. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. We’ve given one too many pep talks and are as empty as can be. This isn’t helpful to our families and it especially isn’t helpful to ourselves. We have to find intentional ways to step away and fill our cups. When we do, we not only take care of ourselves, but we also make room for giving to our families in the ways that we desire.
Time away increases my affections for my kids and vice versa.
They say distance makes the heart grow fonder and when it comes to kids, I agree 100%. When I have spent time away from my kids, whether it be an hour or a day, I have always gone back to them with a greater sense of joy and affection. I am rested and refreshed and able to see each one of them in their own beautiful way. I’m able to push aside the tedious tasks of motherhood for a moment and focus on the smiles, quirks, and mannerisms that make them exactly who they are. I’m convinced that time away from us does the same thing to them. You know they probably get sick of seeing our stink eye and hearing us say, “Don’t touch that!” A little time away reminds them exactly who their mommy really is: the woman who loves and adores them, who would give anything for them.
Leaving our kiddos for a short time isn’t easy and may not always be possible. It takes a lot of planning, a lot of extra hands, and a lot of stars aligning to make it happen. But I truly believe it makes us better moms. Do you allow yourself time to leave?