Knock. Knock. Knock.
Sally sighed, “Oh for just 5 minutes to myself! Just 5 minutes. Is that too much to ask?”
She needed to use the restroom. Yet, there under the door, were three sets of hands reaching toward her. Even the cat stuck her paws under the door. Seriously?
Washing her hands, she opened the door none too gently. “What?” Sally asked.
Jenny filled her cup from the coffee maker, careful to be as quiet as possible.
Finally, she’d done it. She hadn’t hit snooze on her alarm this morning. Instead, she shot out of bed eager to have some time alone to read her Bible, pray, and enjoy a FULL cup of HOT coffee.
Quietly walking toward her favorite chair, she grabbed her Bible and journal before she sat down. Inhaling the warmth of the coffee, Jenny took her first sip. Ahh! What bliss!
She picked up her Bible and began to read. Her goal today was to read one Psalm and meditate on it.
“Mommy,” split the silence.
“Unbelievable!” Jenny silently screamed. “How early do I have to get up to have some time to myself?”
Have you ever felt this way? All you need is a couple of minutes to yourself with no one talking at you or tugging on you. Yet it seems impossible.
Moms and Dads, especially those who stay at home with littles, rarely get these precious moments. Never mind a jillion moments strung together.
Instead, most often, “just for you” time at this stage comes in sips. You’d love to have long, lingering moments to think, read, pray, or meditate, but you tend to get a minute or two here (sip) and another minute or two a few hours later (sip) and so on throughout the day.
Enough to dull the thirst but often not enough to quench it.
How do you manage to center yourself when life comes in sips?
- Designate quiet time. It’s okay to let your family know that you need some time just for you. When you have littles that time may only be five minutes, but it’s still your time. One way I captured this sip of time was to use my children’s nap time to grab a few minutes to myself. Another idea is to designate a certain chair in your house that is your quiet chair. When you are sitting in that chair, your children learn that you are not to be interrupted. Your children can be in the same room as you, playing quietly or reading a book, but they cannot talk or interrupt you until you get out of the chair. Depending on your children’s ages, this could be five minutes. The hard part is training your children to leave you alone for those five minutes. But you can do it.
- Decide to be realistic. If you have four children under the age of five who wake up at 6:00 a.m. or earlier every day, you probably aren’t going to be able to have thirty full minutes of time to yourself before they wake up. If you are an early riser, maybe you will. But, if you aren’t an early riser, you’ll need to create space somewhere in your day for some alone time. Perhaps this time will come after your children go to bed. Instead of turning to a movie or television to round out your evening, choose to read your Bible and meditate. Or perhaps you set 15 minutes in the morning, after breakfast, when your kids play in their rooms alone. It’s important for children to learn to have “just for me” time too. Get everyone settled, set the timer for 15 minutes, find your quiet space, and drink in.
- Determine to adapt and change as needed. Every season of life has a different rhythm. Learning to navigate these different rhythms includes adapting your “just for you” time as well. As your children grow older, you will have differing amounts of time available. You’ll also have different demands and challenges in that season. You can, however, create this “just for you” time in each season. Be creative and flexible.
- Delight in every day. When you and I give up the illusion of a “perfect” life, we learn to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. One of the best ways I know to enjoy life by the sip-full is to celebrate each day for what it is. There is always a reason to celebrate. Whether it’s the first robin of spring or the burst of the flowers on the prairie or the softly falling snowflakes or the rainbow filling the sky after a storm, seek out your sip-full of extraordinary. Look up and let your heart be refreshed.
Each day brings a new challenge. And sometimes our sips seem completely useless. However, when you and I choose to be present in the moment, to give up our expectations of how life “should” be, you and I find less frustration and more satisfaction in the sips.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.“
Being a mom or dad of littles is challenging and exciting.
Learn to drink deeply in the sips.
Someday you’ll have plenty of time to linger in all that rejuvenates you.
How do you capture the sip-fulls to rejuvenate each day? Leave a comment below.
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Capture the extra-ordinary in the ordinary today.
Kirsten D. Samuel
Aftershock Recovery Coach
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