I should preface this by saying that I don't get out often. Pretty close to never in fact. I'm lucky enough to have a lady friend who knows the value of time as a woman, instead of just as Mommy, and this lovely lady has been so kind as to encourage me to get out. She adds kindness upon kindness by organizing outings and even coming to get me to make it as easy as possible for me to take a night for myself. I even blogged about the sweet freedom of getting out with her before. She is a true blessing, and a saint in disguise (though barely disguised, her holiness emanates like the rays of the sun!).
Before she and I became good friends I literally never got out without the kids. I'm definitely an emotionally attached mother. I find it incredibly hard to leave the house, even when they're all asleep. The world can get really insulated when you let your kids become your everything and don't allow yourself the freedom to take time for yourself. For the past four or so years I've been that woman, the one who's %100 Mom. I thank God for bringing a friend into my life who could lead me by her fine example to become more than a Mom. If not, I can only imagine where I'd be now. Probably a lonely, burnt-out Mama without any energy to give to my children, let alone my sweet husband, anymore. I was nearly there when my dear friend started dragging me out of the house. Now, I'm actually attracting compliments for how easy I make it look to have four kids, which is thanks in no small part to the fact that I've re-discovered the woman who is the foundation of the wife and mother with the help and encouragement of my friend.
As little as an hour at night doing something for myself reminds me that under the spit-up, cooking splatter, and possibly funky smell, there is a woman worth fighting for. If I can show my children that I value myself enough to take care of myself, then hopefully they'll follow that example and remember to pursue their passions and interests even in the middle of life's important duties. I don't want my kids to look at me in 10 years and think that I gave up my entire life for them. I want them to look and see that getting married and having my children enriched my life, gave me purpose, but didn't swallow up all my dreams and potential. If I lose myself in my desire to be everything for my children, I'm afraid when they leave to live their own lives, I won't know how to define myself outside of them. I'm afraid I'll be grasping after the little birds as they try to fly, rather than lifting them up and teaching them to soar. The knowledge that I have a future without them makes me want to make the most of this time with them, because it truly is fleeting, even with four children to enjoy. While I nuture my little blessings, I plan to continue to follow the good example of my friend and I will nuture myself too so I can continue to grow into the woman God intends me to become.