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.