Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Value of Time Off

I wrote about the experience of having no maid while trying to take care of our baby and run the household awhile back. And though I’ve been generally upbeat about our situation, given the grace that God has faithfully provided fresh everyday, there are days that I just feel the weight of things. Fellow moms, you know what I’m talking about. An exhausted, cranky feeling accompanied, and partly caused, by ceaseless backaches is a telltale sign of being overwrought.

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a week-long prayer and fasting session. Since I’m still breastfeeding, I couldn’t fast on food so I chose to fast on something that’s been taking a huge chunk of my attention lately—the internet. No Facebook, Pinterest, or any of the sites I frequent. I only got to check my email for work. I used my “internet time” to talk to God instead, and read up on His word. I had some particular petitions that I wanted to talk to Him about and I wanted to hear Him clearly, void of distractions. I must say, the one week of being disconnected online, and re-connected with God was absolutely refreshing! The constant deluge of information that I used to feed on from the internet really took its toll on me. My mind was cluttered, busy, wandering and dull because of the nonstop influx of new things to “think about”, to “like”, to “comment on”, to “share”. During that precious one week, I stopped and unloaded. I got down to the essentials, the basics, the fundamentals of what’s inside my heart. I wept and cried out to God, I talked to Him, and finally, I sat in silence. I could finally hear myself again, and more importantly, I could hear Him again.

Yesterday, we had a new maid who arrived suddenly. She was referred to us the day before by a neighbor’s yaya. And now, we have someone helping us around the house. Pretty good timing too as Gabbie has learned how to climb and crawl already and this week has been really tiring for me. So even though our new help has been with us just for a day, I took her with Gabbie and I and we took the afternoon off to the nearby mall to while the time away. I needed to see beyond the four walls of our condo. And now, I’m back home, tired but feeling a bit better.

And I realized how time off for us moms really is a necessary luxury (luxury only because it’s so rare and truly valuable). We're more than caretakers; we need to be a channel of love, wisdom and blessings for our family. How can we be, if we're too tired to see beyond today? Our purpose is beyond cooking and cleaning; it is truly being the "helper" of each member of the family to reach his/her purpose. And that is no easy feat. But by the grace of God, and a revitalized spirit, I realize I can do these things and more. But I have to take my time off to recharge. Even the Energizer bunny has batteries.  But more than that, I come to the conclusion that time off need not always be a physical hiatus; that the best, most recharging kind of time off is actually quiet time. After all, the best kind of wife and mom is one who is spiritually connected, purposed and energized in mind and spirit. Oh and as for my backache…our nearby home service spa was all too happy to give me some relief. Aahhh…!

What do you do on your “time off”, moms?


  1. I, too, am overloaded. In Europe, having a helper is a luxury. You're lucky to have one. Somehow, my baby and I found our balance. I can do household chores or do studio work while she's roaming around and playing. When she seeks my attention, I pause and play with her.

    I have to make a 'time off'. Once, I left my baby with Tata, and I just walked around alleys, went to a bar, drank a glass of wine, and listened to jazz music all alone. I did this at night, so her father was left to learn how to put her to sleep. I truly enjoyed that night. Road trips, even with the baby, relaxes me too. Times when I can't be out of the house, I work on my art, or watch a film while eating my favorite snacks.

  2. In Europe, having a helper is a luxury. Somehow, my baby and I found our balance. I can do household chores or do studio work while she's roaming around and playing. When she seeks my attention, I pause and play with her. If she's curious about what I'm doing, I put her on the sling and we do things together.

    I have to make my time off. Once, I left her with her father at night; it was also so her dad will know how to put her to sleep. I roamed around the alleys and curious shops, ate at a bistro, went to a bar, drank a glass of wine, and listened to a live jazz band. It truly recharged me. Road trips also relax me, even if the baby is with me. When I'm just at home, I make a point to stop working and just watch a film or an intelligent TV series, while eating my favorite snack; this is usually my quality time with my husband.

  3. Hi AV. Yes, the good thing about having no help is that the baby learns to play by himself even for just a little while so mommy can do some chores ;) your "time off" sounds really, really fun and therapeutic. Great ideas to try for moms like us. Thanks very much for sharing :)