This week started out rough. My younger daughter and I did not have a good two days at the beginning of the week. It was all I could do to hold onto my patience as I balanced the need to be a mom and a teacher. The weather was bad. My head hurt. Her attitude was poor, and her interest level in learning low. Honestly, I was ready to throw in the towel on this whole homeschooling thing. I was close to throwing in the towel on this whole motherhood thing.
And then I got a gift. A friend of mine offered to take my daughter with her and her kids to a homeschool days event at the Lego Discovery Center and SeaLife Aquarium. From 9:15 until my older daughter got home at 3:30, I had a day to myself. I worked, I read, I basked in the silence. And I was refreshed.
Homeschooling has been a big adjustment for both me and my daughter. I've had to adjust to having a child at home, having hours of my day devoted to school, lesson planning and entertaining a child. She's had to adjust to higher expectations, having mom be her teacher, missing her friends and learning to entertain herself. It's no wonder we have days where we butt heads.
Yesterday, we had the best day of homeschool we've had all year. My daughter was motivated. I was refreshed. We had some creative lessons. We laughed together instead of shedding tears. It was a moment that reminded me of all the reasons we chose to keep her home this year. But it wouldn't have happened without that break.
The truth is that no matter how much we love our kids, no matter how devoted we are to seeing them grow and succeed, no matter how important we think our job as mom is, we all need a break. We all need a few moments to settle and regroup when things are going poorly. We all need some time to take a deep breath without someone tugging on our shirt tails, crying "Mommy!"
Somewhere between the sports practices, the homework, the playdates and the church commitments, we need to find time for a break. Whether its 20 minutes in the bathroom by yourself (believe me, I've been there) or a day when your child goes to play with a friend or visit a grandparent, those moments by yourself are vital to making us better moms, better wives and better friends.
No one can do it all 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Yet, too often, we sacrifice a break for ourselves in favor of folding that load of laundry or squeezing in another activity.
No matter how much of a social butterfly you are, no one can truly recharge without a few minutes to themselves. We can't be the moms our kids need, the wives our husbands need or the friends our friends need unless we start building time into our lives to be alone and recharge -- even if its just 20 minutes at the end of the day when the kids are in bed.
God didn't rest on the seventh day of creation because He was tired. He rested because He wanted us to know that rest is important to our bodies and our souls. If we can't squeeze out a few minutes in the day to sit down and take a deep breath, then we're too busy. We're never going to make it for the long haul.
So, if you feel like you're overstressed, tired and ready to throw in the towel, it's time for a break. Put the kids to bed early or find a friend to watch them for a few hours, then take a few minutes for yourself. Recharge. Enjoy a moment of solitude. Spend some time with God. Paint your toenails for the first time in months.
Taking a few minutes in your week to recharge your own batteries isn't selfish. It's vital for your body and soul. And it will make you a more patient, more loving, more forgiving mom.