Part One - it's okay to want more
Part Two - 5 key principles to getting started
Us moms are not often known for our busy social lives. In fact, once we have children, many of us abandon all attempts at a social life. It feels too impossible to get out for the necessities (like grocery shopping), let alone for our own pleasure.
Those of us who get all cooped up, though, discover a few truths. First, being a socially isolated mom is lonely. Second, being a socially isolated mom is hard on our husbands. Third, we were made for community; there is something within us that craves fellowship.
If you are weary of feeling like "just a mom" and desperate to get out and get connected, here are a few things you can try that will help you get out and about:
1. Make friends with other moms.
Nothing is more enjoyable and chaotic than a visit over coffee and the cacophony of children playing together. So next time you spend even a few minutes chatting with another mom and you think to yourself, "I think I like her," just invite her over.
And please, do yourself (and her) a favor by not cleaning your house before she comes over. She will be more comfortable if you're real from the get-go. Why waste time pretending? Just be the real you in your real house with your real children.
2. Help out your mom friends.
Hear a friend mention she's got a doctor's appointment later in the week? Offer to babysit for her! (I know, you're wondering, "How in the world can I add two more children to my day?! I can barely survive with this one!") Here's the deal, though. In order to have good girlfriends, you need to be a good girlfriend. A few busy hours could result in both a lifelong friendship and a girlfriend who offers to watch your kids.
3. Hire a sitter.
I know how tight finances can be after a new baby arrives. And I know it's not easy to leave your precious little one in the hands of a teenager. But you need to do this! Here's why:
- If you take your time with a new sitter, teaching her how you want things done and letting her get to know your child(ren), you will have someone you know and trust to babysit.
- If you never take time away from your little ones, they will object (painfully, dramatically, and loudly) at the age of two and a half when you try to leave.
- If you and your hubby don't leave the house for dates every now and then, he will begin to feel like he's playing second fiddle to the kids.
If there are no creative ways for you to set aside funds for a sitter, go back to #2 and try doing a childcare swap with a friend.
4. Boss your feelings around.
Sometimes, us moms feel guilty for enjoying time away from our kids. We see other mommies who can't bear to be apart from their progeny, and we think perhaps something is wrong with us for not missing them. Can I tell you something about those mommies? They are either: 1. lying, or 2. unhealthily attached.
It is not healthy for mother or child to never experience periods of separation. It can be damaging to your marriage and it totally ties your identity to your child(ren). But that is not who you are! Who you are is:
- a child of God
- a daughter of the King
- a princess and heir in the most royal of families
- a woman with a calling (only part of which is being a mother)
- a woman with needs, dreams, and desires
- a women created by God to have needs, dreams, and desires
So if you feel guilty for leaving the kids, tell your guilt to take a hike. If you feel guilty for wanting and enjoying time away from the kids, give your guilt the boot. The enemy is called the accuser for a reason - he twists everything into an accusation, hoping to cause feelings of guilt, and expecting us to let those feelings dictate our actions.
But you've got victory on your side! Resist the devil (and his accusations) and he will flee!
It is okay for you to want more. In fact, God designed you to want more. He created you in His own image; He created you for fellowship and companionship and relationship. Yes, He created you to mother children, too. But not at the exclusion of all else.
There's one more facet to address in this series - ministry (or service) as a mom. We'll tackle that one tomorrow.
So hey, do you struggle with feelings of guilt when it comes to taking time away from the kids? How do you deal with it?