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You’re tired, stressed and at your wit’s end. Frustrated, short with your kids and husband and overall in a grumpy mood is how you can be described some days. But it would be wrong to take some time to yourself, right? We’re supposed to be there for our children 24/7 and taking joy in every Lego stepped on and every dish we need to wash because it’s all part of our calling as a mom, and by no means should we ever want to get away for awhile. Right?

Can you sense my sarcasm? 

A few months ago I read a number of short articles in a magazine about the dangers of “me time” and how as mothers we should not entertain thoughts of spending time away from our children. One writer suggested that God doesn’t want us to enjoy being alone or having some quiet time {but neglected to give any Scripture references for her statement}.

Now, I may be a little more crotchety than usual, being 5 weeks away from having my fourth baby, but lately I’ve been thinking some about those things that were said. Is it okay to enjoy alone time? Is “me time” wrong? Do we need to be around our children every moment of every day to be a good mother?

I think it all comes down to how you define “me time”.

We typically think of this phrase the way the world defines it. Take care of yourself first! 5 ways to make time for yourself so you can be a better person! Do you have enough me time? These are the titles of articles and posts that popped up when I googled “me time”.

As Christians, our response may be to rebel against this type of thinking. It’s selfish and encourages us to put ourselves ahead of anyone else and can be used as an excuse to get a break and disengage from our families. But I don’t necessarily think we need to reject it completely.

Stuart Miles/freedigitalphotos.net

Giving me some insight on this matter was a comment on a blog post I read about a month ago written by an older, wiser mom with 8 children (I’ve read her blog before but sadly can’t think of who it is right now!). The blogger wrote that while it is wrong to consider our children a burden, that as mothers we do need rest. Jesus calls us to “come away and rest awhile” she said.

I googled that phrase because I couldn’t remember where in Scripture it was. Here I found it in Mark 6: 30-32:

“The apostles gathered together with Jesus; and they reported to Him all they had done and taught. And He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest awhile.‘ (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves.”

Do those verses sound at all like a situation we mothers may find ourselves in? :) “All they had done and taught” and “they did not even have time to eat”?

When we become so caught up in the craziness of life that we can barely even stop and breathe, we often become short on patience, stressed and frustrated and likely more prone to yelling or becoming sarcastic in thought or word. Yes, it is good for us to rest awhile.

My aunt and uncle’s lake cabin–our family’s place of rest for a week each summer!

Like anything, a preoccupation with having time alone can turn into an idol. We shouldn’t use it as an excuse for sitting on our computer while our household falls apart. We can’t use “resting awhile” to justify sleeping in when things need to be done or ignoring our children’s needs and just plopping them in front of the TV. And if you find yourself struggling with this type of an attitude, it may be time to evaluate your mindset about rest and time alone.

So perhaps we should choose a better term. “Resting awhile” is going to be my new phrase when I see a need for this in my family and myself.

Embracing rest means asking the Holy Spirit to help us recognize when we need to take a step back. To recognize when we need time in the Word, in prayer or just a few moments to collect ourselves when we’re upset. And it is even true that we do need times of extended rest. That is not selfishness, it is simply heeding the gentle words of Christ.

  • Time alone with our spouse just talking and cuddling is a way to embrace rest. 
  • Allowing grandma and grandpa, our husband or a dear friend to take our children every once in a while so we can finish a large project or grocery shop in a focused manner is a way to spend productive time alone without neglecting our children.
  • Turning off the TV and computer and spending some time doing an in-depth Bible study is a form of resting awhile, doing as Jesus calls us to do to grow and be transformed by the Spirit.
  • Reading a book that will enrich our lives in the silence of nap time {and yes, I do cherish nap time/quiet time in our house} is a way to be refreshed.
  • Time in morning prayer {think Susanna Wesley who threw her apron over her head so her kids would know she needed time to pray alone} is restful and recharges us for the day ahead.

These are times in which we are alone and possibly away from our children and sometimes our spouse. My personal experience has been that I when these times of rest are in my own life that I do have a more refreshed purpose and motivation and I am much calmer because I have allowed God to work in me instead of just going and going without relief. It is not because I’ve taken “5 steps to having the best me time I can” but because I have been restored by the Lord through prayer, time in Scripture and other moments of rest.  

When we ask God to show us what we need He will give us the proper balance between turning “me time” into an idol that will become a selfish way to escape from our highest priority–our family–and “resting awhile” to gain the refreshment that comes from the Holy Spirit.
What do you think about “me time”?

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10 Comments on Is Me Time Wrong?

  1. Very balanced, Jenn.
    We need to keep from the selfish worldly view of putting ourselves first but we should still understand that in order to be at our best for our families we need rest and ways to maintain our own individuality apart from motherhood. I homeschooled through high school and allowed myself very little time away from my children. Looking back, I wish that I’d taken some Bible courses or a class at the community college or done some other things that developed my gifts and interests as an individual apart from motherhood. It wouldn’t have been selfish, but at the time I felt that way. I made my children and family my whole world, and when they married and left home, I felt more emptiness than God intends. I think He wants us to view ourselves first and foremost as His daughters who have valuable things to do after our children are grown as well as when they are in our homes.

    • Great advice, Gail. You always have a measure of wisdom that comes from having been in so many different stages of life!

  2. I don’t think we should feel guilty for needing a bit of me-time.

    I’m an introvert so for me “me-time” means recharging my batteries away from other people (including my little ones) for a while. I find that this is so necessary or I become grouchy from giving to others too much and not having any space for my own thoughts.

    One of the ways I do this regularly is to get up early and have some quiet at the start of the day. Little ones can often be early risers so I don’t always get it to myself but it does help me prepare for the noise of the day.

    Great post. Linked here from Time-Warp Wife.
    Blessings
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

    • Getting up early is a great way to find quiet time for yourself before the busyness of the day. Something I need to do more often!

  3. Thanks for this post! My husband was just telling me that he thinks I need to ask him to help out and give me “rest” more often. I must say the thought makes me feel guilty even though he’s basically telling me to do it! Thanks for the extra “push”!

    • I hear you, Sandra! I have such a hard time asking for help! Thankfully I have a husband who gives me a much needed jab every once in a while to let him take over so I can take a breather :) I’m glad your husband is offering that–what a blessing!

  4. I love this! I’ve read many of those same articles that make me feel guilty for even spending one second away from my children but resting awhile is something we all need!

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