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April 21, 2014

Why Every Mom Needs to Take a Morning to Herself

My first little one was born in 2011, and while we have taken advantage of free babysitting anytime our parents have been in town, we have never actually hired a babysitter to come watch our kids while we go out. I have mentioned before that I do things like babysitting swaps, cleaning swaps, etc. (Read more about that here.) but I recently gave myself full permission to do something a little extra...for me. I decided to have one of my friends come watch the kids for an entire morning, and here's what happened:

Why Every Mom Needs to Take a Morning for Herself

She arrived at my door bearing coffees from Starbucks & donuts from one of our favorite local spots. (Um...this is one of the many, many reasons why I think she is one of the sweetest people I know.)

We did a quick rundown of the morning, and then I hit the road. I knew my kids were in good hands. I was completely relaxed and ready for a morning out...but this wasn't just going to be a morning out devoted solely to errand-running...or shopping...etc...I had specific goals in mind for this morning...

I began by turning off the internet access on my phone. I checked my settings to make sure that I would only be interrupted if there was an emergency at home. No Phone Calls. No Social Media. I love the freedom that comes with being unplugged.

I headed to Barnes & Noble. I sat down in their Starbucks - but thanks to my friend, I already had a cup of caramel heaven in my hand and a yummy donut tucked down in my purse.

As a sipped my coffee and ate my donut, I read a book...a real book...not a blog post on my phone...not a funny story in my e-mail...not an e-book...a book that required a bookmark...a book that required me to physically turn the pages. It was fiction. It was just for fun. However, it seems like I have been trying to finish it forever, and I was able to sit there and read while I relaxed with my treats. I loved every second.

Next up, things turned a little more serious. I have recently finished a couple of different Bible studies, and I wanted to spend some time processing the things I had learned. I recently mentioned to you that David and I completed a parenting class that was being offered at our church. I wanted to think through some areas where I needed to be more intentional...more mission-minded in my approach...more Spirit-led in my actions & reactions - at home - with the ones who matter most.
I had not taken the time to complete a spiritual gift assessment and a personality assessment that accompanied the parenting class, so I dove right in to those. Over the course of my life, I have completed 3,798 of these types of things, but it had been awhile, and I thought it would be good for me to think through these things again - especially in light of what we had learned in this particular class. Marriage has changed me. Leaving the classroom has changed me. Having babies has changed me. My love language has changed. My spiritual gifts have realigned themselves. In some ways, my personality expresses itself differently than it did in the past. If you have never used assessment tools like this to evaluate yourself - or if it's been awhile - I would definitely suggest taking the time to do it. It can be a little scary to look at yourself so closely, but it can be incredibly beneficial.

The personality test showed that I am a lion - does that mean anything to you? I was feeling pretty good when the Spiritual Gift assessment showed that I was merciful, mission-minded, hospitable, and generous...then, it turned right around and told me that I was not a helpful servant and I lacked strong faith. *Insert humility check!* What did I do with this information?

Well, I started making lists - I love lists... I started thinking through [and listing] realistic ways that I could put my strengths to work and grow in my weaknesses...practical, everyday things. How can I be more of a helpful servant in my home? Well, as Kristen Welch from We are THAT Family puts it, I simply need to start saying "'Yes!' to my mess". Yes to the laundry. Yes to the dishwasher. Yes to the toddler discipline. Yes to all of the not-so-pretty, mundane tasks that I face in my home everyday.

After thinking through some of my specific goals (long-term & short-tern), I got out my calendar - not my app - but my hard-copy calendar. There are some things I have been wanting to plan...specific friendships I want to invest in more...date nights with my husband that I want to take the effort to schedule...out-of-town visits that are totally worth the hassle...Many times over, I have heard Sally Clarkson say that typically she is one to take the initiative and make things happen...especially when it comes to planning outings, activities, etc. Most of the time, other people are not going to take the initiative, and I have found her to be so, so right about this. Anyway...I really enjoy this type of planning...It is something I typically do quite often, but lately, I have not been able to sit down and really focus on it like I want to, so adding this to my morning alone was perfect!

Needless to say, all of this processing and planning took some time, but before I wrapped up my morning, I took a little bit of time to drop in a couple of my favorite nearby shops and browse...alone...without a stroller...without a diaper bag...and that was nice, but oddly enough, I found myself starting to miss my little guys.

So when my time was up, I headed home. My little guys had enjoyed their morning with my friend, and I felt encouraged, renewed, and ready to start fresh - yet again - as a wife and a mama. I am so thankful that I took the time to process and regroup, and I am so regretful that I didn't make the time for this sooner.

Guess what? My friend came back the next night, so that I could go on a date with my husband...
What was one of the #1 things that I listed on my "Short-Term Goals" List?
More dates with my hubby!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to read
How Getting Up Before My Kids Has Changed Everything:

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