In anticipation of Mother’s Day on Sunday I have been asked some sweet questions by my inquisitive kiddos about what I would like for the holiday created in my honor. Mostly the requests circle back to what the boys would like to do (have a cake, sing Happy Birthday, get a bounce house…you can see that we are in full birthday party attendee season right now and any cause for celebration must mean that someone is having a birthday) but then they sweetly say something about drawing me a picture or obeying “first time, every time, all day long” and I am reminded of the gifts that are my children and that their desire alone to make the day significant is really all I need.
But there is just one little thing that could make the day special: Time alone in the quiet of the house before everyone else wakes up. Unfortunately this is not a gift that can be given to me by anyone other than myself. You see this isn’t a post about sleep schedules or obedience or what to do with the early risers that come with the summer desert sun. No, this is, more than anything, a public proclamation that the best Mother’s Day gift is one I give to myself every single day: I force myself to wake up at least an hour before my earliest riser so I can have some personal time to gear up before the day.
My time alone in the morning is for me. I have a special seat in our living room with a table beside it that houses a journal, a devotional and a Bible. I have a basket of warm cozy blankets and the coffee pot is ready to be turned on having been prepped the night before. I take out my favorite mug and sit. And for an hour (if I’m lucky) or even 20 minutes that is my time.
I remind myself that there will be whining but that I shouldn’t take it personal. I remind myself that little people will talk back and not always obey but they aren’t willfully trying to disarm me…they are just, well, little people. I remind myself that what I am about to do is this day is the most important job in the world and that whether we are intentionally playing a game to boost letter recognition or simply going to the grocery store these companions are my greatest gift and I must treasure these gifts with all that I have in me.
I remind myself that I will not do it all perfectly so I shouldn’t have perfection as my goal.
I remind myself that there might be times when I am tempted to yell or grow irritated but I should instead pause and put myself in a mommy time out before I talk to them. I remind myself that while I learn to be a parent each and every day my little friends learn about the entire world and I am their guide. I may not know all the correct routes or have the fastest most efficient gear but I am with them every step of the way.
I remind myself that the days are long but the years are all too short.
I remind myself that what I am about to do is hard and messy yet also wonderful and glorious all at the same time but it is such a privilege, I will do so with earnest.
As my (first) cup of coffee nears the bottom of the mug and I hear the rousing from the bedroom I know that I am more ready for this day then if I had spent that hour in bed. (Even though there are many mornings when it is most certainly a battle to emerge from the the fluffy goodness that is my down comforter.) I know I am better because I had my time.
This hour each morning is truly a gift that keeps on giving- to myself and my children- all throughout the year.
How about you? Do you take time alone for yourself during the day or week even? What does it look like for you? I will say that this wasn’t even practical for me until I knew I had two boys that slept through the night so for those of you with infants or babies I would encourage you to find other ways to get your time. It doesn’t have to be early in the morning…just something. For you.