Community, Culture, Feminism, Living Free, Marriage & Family, Masculinity & Femininity, Motherhood

The Mommy Sabbath: Your New BFF?

The message is ubiquitous throughout today’s culture: Mothers are TIRED. Really, really, really tired & barely keeping it together. {Cue all the cute Mombie & Coffee is Life t-shirts}. Doesn’t this just sound like the abundant life Jesus came to give us? 🙂

Think about it: Who would benefit most — Jesus or Satan — from your exhaustion, your overwhelm, & your “fed-up-ness” with your kids?? Hmm? Who stands to gain from your cranky attitude due to not sleeping a full night the past 5 years? Who wants your body worn out & in ill health so you fail to do anything well in life?

Who wants you empty & void of life to breathe into your little ones? (After all, the very meaning of the name ‘Eve’ means life! This gives more than a clue as to God’s purposes for her arrival on earth.) 

Who wants you to forget about “training up a child in the way he/she should go” so you merely focus on the next step in front of you, Day-to-Day survival? Who wants you to be a Mombie?

It’s not Jesus.

So why are we so relentlessly worn out? I have a few ideas.

  1. The Supermom myth. Living independently from the aid of others — also known as the “Supermom” life — wreaks havoc on moms who find they’re snapping at their children, complaining to their husband / best friends / anyone who will listen, & haven’t exercised in weeks (months?) all for the wonderfully noble sake of loving our children well. We pray, “God give me coffee for the things I can change & wine for the things I can’t” (lol) 🙂 & expect it to change our lives. As many of us have already discovered, there’s only so many lattes & vino you can consume & stay healthy. Eventually your body revolts from the overload & lack of connection to your body’s natural state. Throwing off its delicate balance with uppers & downers works short-term but is not God’s best solution for us mamas. Thinking we can “do it all” alone is a myth, dear ones! 🙂
  2. Living far from family & declining community connection. This is a given in today’s globally-focused culture. We’re all over the world — everywhere except our own hometowns, leaving our kids’ without their cousins, aunts & uncles, & grandparents. There’s nothing wrong with this necessarily, but many of us cope by relying heavily on social media / FaceTime etc. to fill in the gaps where connectedness should be. We simply don’t feel part of our own families & communities a majority of the time, & the effect is palpable — not just in our lives but our kids’, too! We must invest where we live, our communities, in our church & our neighborhoods & our families (even if it means travel time). We must make an effort to be present where God has us & form strong bonds so our children grow up surrounded by a loving community of people & we have a solid group of people who can help us with this parenting thing! We need neighbors, mentors, nannies/babysitters, & loving family who can step up & give us a date night, a day off, or watch our kids when we’re in a pinch 🙂
  3. Technology. Categorize this under “duh” 🙂 We’re choosing Facebook over “face-to-face”. We rely on texts & emails to “catch up”, even with people down the block, instead of initiating real-life encounters. As a result, we’re lonely & seeking emotional connection & relying all-the-more on our own ability to handle mom life.
  4. WE NEVER TAKE A DAY OFF. Sure, you may “Sabbathize” on Sundays by rushing with your family to church & running errands all afternoon {guilty} :), but your day is still filled with your family’s needs. You’re never ‘off duty’, are you mama? You go week by week, month by month, & in many women’s cases year by year without taking even a single full day off to rest — even from your precious babies!! Make no mistake: Children are WORK. This absolutely falls under the “labor” God talked about resting from when He issued 1 of His 10 Commandments: The Sabbath. So take it seriously. I’ve noticed I have the BEST attitude towards my mom duties when I follow this very simple principle! 🙂 If Sundays don’t work best for you as your Sabbath, then find another day that does. Pray for wisdom & God to make a way where there seems to be none. And resist the temptation to put your needs on the backburner because we all know when we do this, they come screaming for attention in other ways 🙂

What if, like many of God’s solutions, the answer isn’t SELF (DO MORE. BE MORE. HUSTLE & REPEAT) — & instead He says, Let Me help you. Ask for help. You can’t do it all, child. 

Women, be honest with yourself about your limitations. Those ladies on Instagram you pattern your life after? They struggle, too (everyone does). They likely have an {unseen} support network that helps them ‘Do it all”. {And you thought you were failing at this mom thing}!

Enter the Mommy Sabbath.

You may laugh at this notion, muttering to yourself that you could never pull off such a feat. One day off each week? Bah!, you say under your breath. Well, friend, here are some real-life solutions to make it happen in your life:

  1. ASK GOD FOR HELP! First & foremost, pray. Ask God to give you margin & aid for a blissful carefree weekly day off! Ask Him boldly, knowing He’s all about that Sabbath life 🙂 Call me crazy, but I am 100% convinced God does NOT want you to be a hot mess, overwhelmed mama 24/7. I know it because Scripture talks about all kinds of restful wonderment that He has in store for us…
    • “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” ~Matthew 11
    • “There is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.” ~Hebrews 4
    • “Be still, and know that I am God!” ~Psalm 46
    • “As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what He taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, ‘Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.’ But the Lord said to her, ‘My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.’” ~Luke 10
  2. Your Husband. Are you married? Well, ladies, here is your built-in wonderpartner extraordinaire who can very easily make this happen for you (& guess what? You can make it happen for HIM, too, on that other Weekend Day God gives us each week).
  3. Your Community. Your spouse works 6 days a week & needs his day of rest, too? No problem. Enter family… or neighbors… or daycare… or MOPS bestie… or nanny you found on care.com… or a wonderful combo of any/all of the above 🙂 Find your “support” people, your mommy’s helpers, & USE THEM. Offer to trade days-off with a friend so you each have time to do whatever. Invest in your community, and they will invest in you.
  4. Early to bed, early to rise. There’s a reason this old saying sticks around; it’s always relevant. As a mommy with kids who go to bed early, resist the temptation to stay up late every night {Nothing good happens after 10pm anyway! It’s all Netflix & Pinterest-ing after then}. After giving yourself a little nightly downtime, aim to head for the sheets within an hour or two of your kids’ bedtime ~ I’ve been doing this, & it’s a game-changer!! THEN (& this is so key!) wake up early — earlier than your tiny human(s) — & do the things that fill you up!! Not “Mommy chores” but things like going for a run, QT with God, meeting up for a walk/coffee/exercise with a friend, worship, painting… Whatever fills your cup & makes you a better woman, do that thing. Do it 1st & do it early, and the rest of the day you’ll be operating from that place of fullness. This is only realistic on a regular basis when you do the first part of this equation: Commit to an early bedtime 🙂 You may even find yourself springing outta bed in the mornings (If this can happen to me, it can happen to you!).

We must DO OUR BEST to enter His rest. The top of our To-Do Lists should include downtime. Why? Because this is where we can be still; and we all know it’s very hard to be still when tiny humans are clamoring for our attention or having meltdowns or flinging food across the kitchen!

Strive to rest. Yep, that’s really what we should be doing. We find so many “Martha” things to fill our time with, when God just wants us to be Marys at His feet. We get filled here — with Him — so we can pour out to others.

Beth Moore said one powerful truth years ago in one of her famous Bible studies, & it was (something like) this:

An empty heart is a stronghold waiting to happen. 

God didn’t make you for endless activity. God didn’t intend for you & I to never take a real bath again or forget to brush our teeth all day or let our bodies fail because we’re caring for everyone else’s.

When we live this way — disconnected from Him & way overly glued to our babies’ sides — we become empty vessels craving fullness. Make no mistake, our hearts WILL be filled with something: What is your crutch? Where do you ‘turn’ after a long day? Social media… food/wine/cake :)… not-the-best Netflix/media choices… even fantasies about life with (or as) someone else?

These are all warning signs that something’s missing. You’re running on empty & desperately trying to refuel with low-quality things.

So, Mommy, it’s time to take a day off!!!

Don’t roll your eyes at me, young lady! 😀 Do it. No more excuses. We ALL have them — I’ve had TONS of reasons why I shouldn’t invest in myself & you know what? They all fall flat in the face of loving myself, too. God wants us to love our NEIGHBORS (& husbands & children & family & friends…) as OURSELVES. We love others only as well as we love ‘me’. It’s how God wired us.

Taking care of me is vital. Losing your life for God’s service (in Christian-ese) doesn’t mean neglecting yourself. Losing your life for God’s purposes simply means you aren’t pursuing your own methods & goals. Rest assured God wants you rested each week, okay y’all? Jesus said His yoke is EASY & His burden light, not heavy beyond our ability to bear.

Jesus never said a mother’s job description was to be All Things to Her Little People. You simply can’t, & guess what? They need people besides you, too! Maybe that’s both a relief & a slap in the face, but it’s true. Your kids will thrive when you are, Mama, & when they have a community of people in their lives loving on them regularly, not just M&D.

No one ever worked themselves to LIFE, right? So go & make a change. Invest in yourself. Fill up your cup with the Lord & all that He has for you, all the goodness your heart desires, and see how much more in LOVE with your husband & kiddies you find yourself to be after you love on Mama, too! ♥♥

Now go & enjoy your weekends & make that Sabbath happen! 🙂

xo,
Summer