The moment my husband walks in the door is the same second that I take cover in my room. Running from the noise, the demands, the *what seems like * constant bickering and the overwhelm of having kept these tiny humans alive for another day.
I am exhausted, at wits end … and, while I know that my husband would appreciate about 7 minutes to go to the bathroom, 3 minutes to get changed and maybe a comforting and warm welcome from his ever-loving wife … I just can’t muster it.
I can remember, clearly, the times I would wait in anticipation for my husband to arrive home from work. We only had one son at the time and I would sit in the living room, having got off the phone with my husband *maybe* 30 minutes earlier, and I would watch the front door, eager as a pup who needs to pee.
Wanting for a HUMAN to walk through that spoke English, that didn’t need to be at my breast ever 2.5 hours, that wasn’t stinky or covered in my own regurgitated milk.
Desperate for validation and interaction beyond the constant bewilderment of what this tiny terror could POSSIBLY require now.
And he would walk into the door, put down him bag and, as he lifted his head, would be “greeted” by a tiny flailing human being held in outstretched arms by a frazzled shadow of his wife. Eyes wild and desperate. I would shove our little baby into my husbands startled arms and would B-line it for the shower.
I needed to escape, I needed not to hear the cries, giggles, ANY OF IT.
I needed “me” time.
… and that was just when we had one baby to care for …
Fast forward four years, three more children, a fourth (for a total of FIVE) on the way, and you would HOPE that I had this me time thing figured out.
Truth of the matter is, I still REALLY struggle with it.
There are seasons where I greet my husband with that same mess of a mom look as he walks through the door after working 14 hours away from the home. There are times when I still run for the hills as soon as he has settled into his at home wardrobe, and then there is the constant back and forth struggle of squandering my “me” moments through the day.
What do I mean?
I would be lying if I told you that having four children and being massively pregnant with our fifth meant that my every waking moment was focused on them. On feeding them, changing them, bathing them, playing with or teaching them, cleaning up after them …
Fact of the matter is, the more we have, the more independent they all seem. The more self sufficient they become and the more the interact with one another in their own sort of beautiful *I’ll be it, loud* rhythm.
They don’t NEED me every second of the day and yet, I still steal away time, desperate to fill my own cup and I sit, idly, on my phone, ever scrolling the news feeds, updating the instagrams or checking my e-mail. Wondering … hoping … that there is something worth while going on beyond our own walls.
I mindlessly allow images of what everyone else is doing, to fill my mind and taint my expectation. I lie to myself that these moments are just that … moments … flashes in the pan, no time at all … and that this is time for me to zone out, to gather my energy and to recharge so that I can feel refreshed or renewed for the next demand my tiny tots throw at me.
What I’ve found though is … as fast as my well outdated iPhone looses battery life, I am equally exhausted after these moments of “me” time. The battery drains on both my device and my soul as I am filled with comparison, as I try desperately to find something encouraging within the confines of that tiny screen, as I yearn for meaningful connection … none of which is satisfied on a screen the size of my credit card.
And though I have only spent a “few” minutes in the scroll, I do it so often these days … these *overwhelming* days, it’s adding up.
I’m recharging my phone by 10 am … reheating my coffee … and getting ready for the next battle that I am not prepared to win.
I am tired, downcast, feeling unfulfilled and ill-equipped to handle the next hour or so before my phone has charge again.
And then, as I place my phone on the counter to juice up, I take in the scene of my kitchen. The plates that are piled as high as the faucet, the smell that is coming from that can of beans I left open and unattended, the recycling that is now taking up residence on the end of the counter … that spot I SWORE would stay visible and uncluttered.
And I cringe.
I walk out of my kitchen deflated, wishing I had more energy to get stuff done.
Take it from me.
Your phone, whatever is going on out there on the Interwebs, it sin’t going to fulfill you. It isn’t going to be where you find your rest or where you fill your tank.
I don’t know of a single instance when I have walked away from a quick “check in” with my social media account and felt better afterward, like I could just tackle the world.
And yet, my iPhone tells me that my average time spent holding it, coddling it, pouring into it my most precious resource (my time) is INCREASING.
I am desperate for the moments during the day that refill my tank, that spark life in me, that renew my passion for being a stay at home, homeschooling, keeping it real MOMMA.
Here it is >> I read books instead of status updates.
I clean the kitchen and think about how nice it is to be “in charge” of my time.
I fold laundry and allow the warmth of freshly dried sheets encompass me and sooth me.
I remember that childhood is so short and that – while building a fort with the comforter I JUST washed means that I have to put away cushions, stray pillows and blankets from every part of the house, that these are the moments that my children will remember. And that my laughter and engagement during these escapades will shape their futures, their expectations, and their own willingness to walk away from media and into meaningful interaction with the world around them.
I am finding my me time in my Bible, in prayer, in sipping the first part of my hot coffee in the kitchen while I glance out the window at the neighbouring barn, as I thank God for the view and the reminder of what our bigger “end game” goals are.
I am finding refreshment in letting the boys splash in the shower, laugh louder, and pull me away from the death grip my phone has on my life.
Can I encourage you to do the same.
To take a step back, put down the phone and remind yourself that there is absolutely NOTHING in there that is more important than whatever it is you are hiding from.
Be it the unfolded laundry on your clean clothes couch, the little boy misses (or messes) that need to be tended to in the bathroom, or that PHONE CALL you have been putting off with a friend who you *actually* want to pour into.
What if we were willing to treat our phones as … well PHONES … and live our lives free of the chains that drag us down?
This year is all about refining my motherhood journey, in cutting out the tumours that suck the life from my days, and finding the grace to give more of myself to those who matter most.
My me time is not found in my phone – not anymore.