No, quiet time is not optional.
The learning curve after having children can be a long, twisted one. As soon as you think you have it figured out, BAM those darn adorable kids go changing the game again. For the longest time, I found myself running completely ragged. I fell into the “life was optional” for mom category. Showers weren’t necessary. Clothes that weren’t faded seemed to be completely appropriate every single day. Sleeping in until the very last minute so the morning because a mad rush was the norm. Taking quiet time for my mom brain to decompress seemed as fictional as a unicorn. Focusing on eating right and working out was a thing of the past. And forget even trying to feel sexy and lovable for my husband any more. This little human was ruling the day and there was simply no stopping it.
But that was false.
Yes, having children rocks your world, in good ways and in challenging ways. But I was letting it strip away my identity. I turned into the hamster on the wheel who just kept going to make sure people stayed fed and the house stayed relatively picked up. It felt like go, go, go and no return or reward. Ever. The thought of showers, quiet time, decent clothes, feeling like a person again – seemed so impossible! The truth was I needed to make different choices. I not only needed to make different choices but I needed to OWN my choices. I needed to let go of any guilt that started to creep in and stand firm in the things that were necessary for me to feel human.
Time to own it.
The items I listed above were items that I had written down this past summer as items that were no longer negotiable in my life. Say what?! Yes, friends, it took me almost five full years into parenting to realize these I was worth these simple things.
- Ashower every day.
- 30 minutes of exercise a day.
- Quiet time in the morning AND afternoon (and sometimes again right after dinner).
- Quality clothing that made me feel better about myself.
- Date nights with my husband.
But I needed to own it. I needed to own the fact that I had allowed myself to slip down into this trap and that I was the only one able to get myself out of it. Part of my revival came down to better communication with my husband. Another part came down to me peeling back some layers about myself and realizing that if anything, quiet time had to be my biggest priority. Once that quiet time routine was established, let me tell you, there is no going back. It must happen every day. It has to happen no matter how many times the kids get up during the night, how late it was the night before, or how cold it is outside. Getting up early and making that time for myself must happen. I am the only one who is going to make it happen for myself.
If you want something, make it happen.
Soon, I realized quiet time in the morning was enough to sustain me until lunch time. Like a cranky toddler, I needed an afternoon rejuvenation too. As soon as my son started pre-school where he had 30 minute quiet time there, I implemented it at home. Praise Jesus, sometimes he even sleeps. If a day is extra crazy, I text my husband before he gets home to warn him he’s walking into a shit storm and that I’ll need a time out. After dinner, I lock myself away for about 15 minutes which gives me just enough recharge to get everyone to bed. This is all time I had to make for myself and that I had to communicate was a need. Or let’s face it, it would not happen.
Time well spent.
What do I do with this quiet time? Most of the time, I read my Bible, journal, or read a book. I fill my head with good thoughts and positive prayers. I smile at the stillness and soak it up because I know I am so very blessed to serve the people in my home.