Not a day goes by hardly where I don’t see a mom on facebook who is crying out for time away, a little time to herself, or is enjoying a much needed break.
This is how I understand the Word “Sabbath”: resting from work. God instituted the first Sabbath by resting from the creative process of the world. He rested, examining all He had made. Resting in its goodness. Resting from work. People in the work force usually get a day off during the week (at least one) and that helps invigorate them, giving them rest from their working.
Mommas don’t get a Sabbath. 24-7 we are thinking about our kids, washing clothes, changing diapers, driving, being a doctor-on-call, disciplining, loving, reading books, cooking, making juice cups. No matter how old your child is, mommas never rest from being a mom. So, the question needs to be asked, when does a Mom get a Sabbath?
Our older son is now coming in to Sunday night church with us. My husband and I have worked out a schedule for who gets to hang out with him during the service: reading books, playing, drawing, sticking dinosaur stickers everywhere, etc. When my mister is off on a Sunday, I hang out with Elijah in the pew. If he works that afternoon, then he gets to focus on our son during the service. I know one day will come when he can sit and completely focus on the service for 75 minutes, but he’s not there yet. So, we want each other to get some time to focus on the service. Its a good system.
One way my mister blesses me is giving me a regular Sabbath (a few hours) each week. On his day off, he will usually say something like “Go, have some quiet time.” He plays with the boys or takes them to a park. I can go just sit in the Word, do errands, be creative, meet with a friend, etc. That is my Sabbath. I try not to use that whole time to run errands, but if I’m not doing it with two preschoolers, those errands don’t feel like work. And usually once or twice a year, he will give me the whole day to go away, either with friends or by myself, to recharge, rest from being with the boys, feed my soul on the Word, read books, be in nature, etc. I can tell you that every time this happens, I come back more readily able to care for my boys well.
Some people would say that mommas don’t need time away. I would heavily disagree. If men worked 24/7 without any break people would think he is crazy because he would have burnout, or wouldn’t be obedient in taking care of his body, etc. But, if mommas ask for a break, most people say they are being selfish or aren’t being a good momma. Need is maybe too strong of a Word, but God showed us how to take a Sabbath, it is one of the things He commands, and that is a weekly rest. So, yes, I think it is a need. You just have to figure out how to do it.
Letitia Suk encourages women to take a break too – to be with God, to be silent, to walk, etc. She talks about how to retreat in Getaway with God. This book was different then I thought. She showed a lot of grace and variety. It wasn’t a “this is how you do it” book. It was here are some ideas, you are going to come against obstacles, here are ways to see if these retreats can work for you, etc. If you are planning a spiritual retreat, especially, I would encourage you to pick this book up to read during your planning stages.
I know some of you might be wondering: I can never get my husband to play with the kids and give me time alone. Or I am a single parent and can’t get time away. Or, my husband’s schedule won’t allow it and we don’t have money for childcare. Here are some thoughts:
Talk to your husband. Talk to him about your need for a Sabbath. Start small. Maybe request 2 hours, or 3. Work your way up to a whole day.
If your kids are small, see if you can swap with a friend so both of you can have a few hours of Sabbath to yourself.
If your kids are in school, use that school time to retreat and rest.
If you don’t have money for childcare – I think this is where your community (or church) comes in. We should be able to ask for help – and people should ask us how they can help, be willing to serve and be served. I know its hard.
Whatever you do, don’t go without rest from being a Momma. Its seriously rewarding and seriously hard! God gives us the much grace that we deserve!
Thanks to Litfuse for the book. All opinions are my own.