I recently had a mini breakdown after a particularly rough week with the kiddos. The baby was crying (A LOT) and the boys wouldn’t stop fighting and I felt like I was running around all day but wasn’t accomplishing anything. Well, anything other than changing diapers, wiping butts, nursing the baby, getting lunch and various snacks ready, looking for juice cups, more diaper changing, nursing the baby, attempting to pick up toys, nursing the baby, did I mention looking for juice cups??? *sigh*. I had never been so tired accomplishing nothing. Specifically this week, my husband ended up having a lot of evening meetings so I was just overextended. Long story short, I ended up crying in a puddle of self-pity feeling sorry for myself that I was no one other than a wife and a mother.
Now don’t get me wrong. Being “Mom” is the absolute best accomplishment I have in my life and I will always believe this. But I realized that somehow along the way, I forgot to make time for being more; being a woman, being a pastor, being a creative and musical person. I forgot to make sure I was spending time being Molly! Now ladies, I get it. Realistically, sometimes we just don’t have that much extra time, however, I am telling you, this is important. You have to make time for this. Even if it’s just 15 minutes a day or even an hour or two a week to work on something that has nothing to do with taking care of your kids, husband or your house. Something for just you!
I know I’m probably the only one with this issue (wink*wink*) but humor me and let me share a story of recent events portraying my progress being Molly as well as “Mom”.
One part of my identity outside of “Mom” is having ministerial credentials, which I worked hard during my early motherhood to earn. This summer, there was a national convention being held in California for our entire fellowship and because I am licensed, I was able to vote on new changes we made as well as new leaders for our fellowship. This was exciting to me because this was the first time I had attended since I’d been able to vote. So we decided to go to convention and vacation there during that week as well (see more on that later).
Now, I knew this would be hard. But because of that breakdown I had, I also knew that this was crucial for my mental health. I needed to do this for myself. I needed to make time for some Molly passions. And I wasn’t about to let the fact that I had a 4 month old nursing baby stop me. So friends, I set out to accomplish this with baby in tow.
I won’t lie to you. There were more than a few strange looks as I walked into our business meetings alongside thousands of other ministers with a baby strapped to my chest. Only a handful of women had small children there, but I had the youngest baby by far and I was the only one baby wearing. As she started fussing, I pulled out my nursing cover and nursed her alongside of the other ministers while still reading the documents, listening to the dialogue and voting on my fellowship’s future. And you know what? There was no embarrassment and I didn’t even feel that overwhelmed. I felt empowered! It felt like I was leading our denomination into the direction we should be headed. It felt like I was trailblazing a path for other young mothers with young children who feel called into ministry. And I felt proud; strong; victorious!
Mamas. Let me tell you something. For your mental health’s sake, take time for yourself. Take time to read a chapter of some guilty pleasure teen drama novel series before bed. Take time to draw or paint. Take time to write late into the night (it may be past 1 AM here right now….). Take time to remember your identity outside of “Mom” and pursue those passions, even if it’s just a little bit. You are an amazing mother, but you are also an amazing woman bursting with God given talents and passions that shouldn’t have to be pushed aside in order for you to parent. Bring balance back into your life and ask God to remind you of the woman He’s made you. I promise you, it’ll be worth its weight in mental sanity, which is a mama’s version of gold.