Sometimes I want to hide from my children. But it’s no use. They always find me.
“Mommy, are you in there?” I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, staring at the gray circles under my eyes. My four-year-old rattled the doorknob from the hallway. “Mommy? Where are you?”
“I’m in here, sweetheart. Just give me a few minutes, okay?”
“But Mommy, I want you.”
I cracked the door and spied a button nose shining in the hall light. “What do you need, beanie?”
“I thought you were gone.”
“Nope, I’m not. I’m right here. Just washing off my makeup.”
“Can I have a cookie?”
“Ask your dad.”
“But I want you.”
Yup. I know. Problem is—I want me, too. So who’s going to win?
Motherhood is a series of constant demands. I can hardly sit for one minute without someone asking for help or juice or a game of checkers. Kids want attention. They want affection. They want potato chips from the top of the fridge and a cat for their birthday. When both my children chirp at me at the same time, they fight over who spoke first, and I’m expected to keep track. This requires focus. And some days I’d rather focus inward than outward. Because outside of my own head, I hear this kind of stuff:
“Mom, guess what.”
“Mom, look at this.”
“Mom, can I show you something?”
“Mom, listen to this.”
“Mom, I have a question.”
“Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom!!!”
Bwaaaaaaaahhhh!!!!!!!!!! Please! EVERYONE!!! Give your mother some silence PLEEEEASE!!!
At least I’m not the only person in my house who knows how this feels.
Jesus does, too.
“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5: 15–16).
Sometimes I go a little nuts with just two kids in my house. Jesus had crowds. They followed him everywhere he went, reaching for him, calling to him, shoving their sick and needy loved ones in his path. And what did Jesus do? He served them. He healed them. He taught them. He fed them. He provided much of the same nurturing we moms do for our children, except for one big difference.
When Jesus needed a break, he took one.
He withdrew to lonely
Not because he didn’t like the people who were demanding from him. He loved them, just like we love our kids—deeply, joyfully, and unconditionally.
And it’s not like he couldn’t provide what the crowds needed, either. We’re talking about the king of miracles here.
Jesus withdrew because he knew his first job was to fuel his soul by connecting with his Father—alone. He couldn’t pour out what he hadn’t first been given from God.
It’s the same with us. Taking a “time out” to pray and reflect and breathe is not selfish. I used to feel terribly guilty about needing a mental break from the constant input, especially considering there was a time when I would’ve given anything in the world to hear little siblings shrieking through my house. Surely something was wrong with me for not relishing every moment of chatter and questions and Candy Land.
Until I realized through Jesus’ example that occasional solitude is not only healthy, but necessary—for me, and for my family who deserves more than my leftover fumes.
What does that look like for you? First, I urge you to get honest with your husband so he can support your escapes, then do the same for him. Or if you’re a single mom, find a trusted friend who’s willing to care for your kids when you’re craving fresh air. Maybe you don’t need a weekend at the spa, but an hour at a coffee shop will do. Heck, give me chance to get through a hot shower without somebody pulling back the curtain asking for chocolate waffles. That alone can work wonders for my soul.
And consider this. As faith-filled moms, we want to be more like Jesus, right? Often that means hardship and sacrifice—but not always. In the case of lonely places, it means rest. And what mom can’t use more of that?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29).
Now—if you’ll pardon me, I have a date with the bathroom sink. And this time, I’m locking the door.
You must have written this just for me! 😉 This bathroom scene is all too familiar and while I love being needed, some days I would love to just get a few minutes to myself. Thank you for addressing how this relates to our relationship with our Father. Sharing on social media today.
I did write it for you, Cassandra! My fellow bathroom hider! 😉 Thanks so much for reading and sharing!
What a beautiful reminder that we do at times need to withdraw to a quiet place to refresh our souls. Thank you for writing this post! May God bless you and your family.
Thank you so much, Anna! Blessings to you and your family as well!
Oh I can so relate only my bathroom door won’t lock! Ha! I really gotta fix that.
Oh girl, go get yourself a new doorknob this instant. 😉 Thanks for reading!
I need that quiet sometimes. I try to take it when I can so that when my kids need me, I’m not at my wit’s end!
Wise and true!
Thanks for this column. What drives me crazy is when my husband is home and the kids just won’t stopping asking me for everything. I want to yell “go ask your father who is just sitting there reading the paper and doing nothing….” I like how you related your own experience and the need for a break to how Jesus went away to catch a break. If He needed it and took it, then so should we.
My kids do that, too, Mary Beth! Crazy thing is, their dad is more than willing to pitch in… but they just default to asking me first, because that’s Mom’s job, right? Unless we’re talking about fixing anything broken. Then they know Mom is useless. Or at least I like them to think that. 🙂
So true! Motherhood takes balance–balancing our times to refuel with those times we are in full-power “drive mode.” My oldest son said recently that he felt “alone” a lot of his childhood. It’s funny (or sad, depending on your view) I remember him being constantly under my feet–especially when I was trying to cook or clean. I was relieved when our second son took up some of that emotional energy. And yet, my oldest views those days as “lonely.” Perhaps I took a little too much “me time” or “me and God” time. If that’s true, I don’t regret it, because it gave me the strength for those energy-busting mom moments. Thanks so much for your vulnerability here, Becky! I always so enjoy your humor and your eloquence–not to mention, wisdom!
Oh my heart… we just cannot be constant playmate AND housekeeper AND keep our spiritual priorities in order. I struggle to get my little one to understand that sometimes Mom’s job is to scrub the sink before I play that game of UNO Moo. Yet I really hope I’m also modeling the value of taking time to meet with God, and to take care of the things he’s given us. I’m still not perfect, darn! 😉 Thank you for sharing your perspective as always, my friend!
Sarah J says
I’m not a mom (yet), but I once had a fellow nurse tell me that she liked working part time because it was the chance she needed to be able to go to the bathroom by herself. I’m glad you’ve realized that you need time to yourself and I hope you are able to continue finding that time!
Thank you, Sarah! If and when you become a mom someday as well, I hope you’ll remember to take some time for yourself, too. 🙂 Thanks for reading!
Evanthia of merelymothers says
Oh, I really needed this today! Actually just posted on our Facebook page about the difficulties of being an introverted mother. I do feel guilty for not wanting my children’s full attention at all times, but that guilt is subsiding as I get older and realize that I’m no good to them if I’m all used up. I had no idea Jesus felt the same way, though!
Gina Duke says
Your post is right on. Every mother experiences this. Thank you for sharing guilt-free insights on the need to just get away. I’m your neighbor at Messy Marriage linkup!
Rach D says
I could completely relate! Lol…our bathroom gets some extra visits almost daily 😉
Thanks so much for sharing on this week’s Mom 2 Mom Link Up Party! Hope you come join us again soon 🙂
Rachael @ Diamonds in the Rough
I totally need that moment to myself, it makes me a better parent.
Becky @ bybmg says
You know, I never made that connection from Jesus needing time alone to myself. What an amazing realization! I’ve been reading Jessica Turner’s The Fringe Hours (will be released Feb 17th) and it talks a lot about refueling our souls and how much we need it. This is a wonderful post I’ll be sharing with my readers!
Thanks for linking up with Tuesday Talk!
Thanks so much for sharing, Becky! I’ll look for that book when it comes out!
I just found you through a friend and you are such a breathe of fresh air. I’m so excited for more!
Hi, Ginny! Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here. Thanks for reading… I look forward to “seeing” you more in the days ahead!
Becky I love this – thank you for this reminder and encouragement to busy Mama’s <3.
Thanks so much, Marci! 🙂
I took a bathroom breather yesterday and it was wonderful because we JUST installed a doorknob that actually locks and keeps the door closed (we’ve only lived here 2 years . . . ). Thank you for the reminder, it is so easy to feel guilty about taking a moment! Our kids need us all the time after all 😉 If the world didn’t fall apart while Jesus found solitude, it won’t fall apart while mom does (although you might find crayon all over the walls after the fact lol!).
Or marker, that is true, Carrie! Thanks so much for reading!
Oh thank you for this! I found you on Pinterest. I’m in tears right now as I read this. I just broke down this morning as I poured my feelings out to my husband about needing a break. With 2 home schooled kids and a breastfed 1yr old in a new state with no family or friends around (and husband working graveyard)… I am realizing I really NEED some time for myself. He was so supportive, and also had no idea I felt this way, and to be honest, neither did I! SO thank you for allowing me to feel comfortable in taking some time even if it’s just an hour to rejuvenate myself. Your post also reminded me to thank HIM and to take time to pray. I think I lost that somewhere in our move. Now, off to do that very thing! Thank you again! <3
Oh, Desiree, I am sending you a big hug! You are in a tough season. I hope you will continue to find those little bits of time to refresh your own soul, and praise God for a supportive husband! I’m praying for you this morning!