By Sugandha Chapman
As an introvert, I often find myself battling the need to run away and hide with the constant giving of myself that comes with parenting small children. At the end of the day, I’m exhausted, touched out with only a few hours to spare before round two during the night begins.
I yearn to slow down, take it easy, connect and – honestly – simplify my life. I’m searching for those quiet places, the space in between the chaotic dance that is motherhood.
Quiet places are sacred moments of space in an ever increasingly noisy world. When most of our lives are ruled by the demands of things, people, issues wanting attention, notifications popping up right and left – we NEED quiet places.
We need to take a moment to find the uninterrupted space in our day where we can finally exhale the weight of life and inhale a recharged sense of purpose.
Without them, overwhelm and anxiety sets in. We worry – about the future, the past and everything that did or did not happen as we imagined. Without the clarity of quiet, we second guess our intuition as mothers until the guilt eats away at us.
But we do have a choice. To stop, surrender in the middle of chaos and BREATHE.
Quiet time looks different for everyone.
Meditation, prayer, a long walk outside – these are all it. It could be a yoga class during your lunch break or a cup of tea by yourself on the couch.
Sometimes people are our quiet place. The people in your life that know you, no judgements, that you can rest your head on their shoulder after a long day.
But even beyond that, it’s the quiet moments in the day where we can press pause and just be.
For me, a twenty minute nap in the afternoon is enough to super-charge me for the rest of the day. Meditation does this for me too (but naps are more fun!).
With my regular quiet space, I’m happier, I don’t feel the need to yell, I’m healthier, I enjoy my family and I don’t feel so overwhelmed (even when witching hour rolls on by). It’s a win-win situation. But take away my nap-time and I’m the exact opposite.
And so, I’ve found a way to make that happen each day in our home.
The key for me is treating it like any other important appointment every day. It’s non-negotiable and just as important as a business meeting or doctor’s appointment.
It’s flexible, depending on my children’s’ needs and other things going on in the day – but it happens. It can be tempting to cancel it and accept other commitments, but I know that every time that I do – I am not a happy person by dinnertime.
Let’s release the guilt.
And here’s the clincher – We MUST NOT feel guilty for taking time for ourselves. We need time just for us.
My life and my life’s work revolves around the quote by Thomas S. Monson – “If we want to give light to others, we have to glow ourselves“.
How can we bring the best parts of ourselves to our children, work, relationships and the world – and expect the same of others – if we don’t look after ourselves first?
In any other line of work, workers get mandatory breaks. Mothers deserve no less.
There is no prize at the end of the day (even when after our kids don’t need us so much) that rewards the mother for getting by on the least amount of sleep or for taking the fewest breaks.