Baby free time can come in many forms - it might be half an hour where your husband watches the baby so you can get a nap, it might be an afternoon where you can have a bath and chill out on your own, it might just be popping to the supermarket to do the shopping on your own for once, or in my case it was a weekend when baby got to spend quality time with grandparents and I got to relax.
We all know that being a parent is a huge responsibility, one that never goes away and that we feel even when our little ones are with someone else, but sometimes that pressure and weight of having to look after them can overcome us. This is especially true in the very early months of a newborn, when all they want is mummy and they need you there to provide food, comfort, sleep - everything! I often found myself overwhelmed, tired and feeling trapped inside my own home. In these moments, my husband (and numerous others) was amazing in providing me with little chunks of time without the baby in which I could compose myself and get the rest or recovery that I needed ready to face another hour/day/week looking after my son.
You see God created us to be more than just parents (and believe me, I am not saying that there is anything wrong with being a parent and I am not starting the whole stay at home/working mum debate). We are so many things to so many people - here is an example of just a few of the things that I am:
- daughter in law
- child of God
- guide leader
The list can go on and will be different for all of us. But just because we are all of these things to other people doesn't change the fact that God made us as a unique individual who is special and precious on our own. Sometimes we need the time away from the demands and expectations of others to remind ourselves of who we are and why we are special.
“What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries." Matthew 10:29-31 The Message Version
God would have sent His Son into the world to die even if it was just for you, He takes the time to know exactly how many hairs you have on your head, He has a unique plan for each of us. That doesn't change when you become a parent, and sometimes we need to take time away from our children to remember that we are loved by God regardless of what else we do.
One final thought that I like to ponder is that we as parents often sacrifice our own interests, hobbies and life goals for our children saying "we want the best for them, we want them to have an amazing future". But I am pretty sure your parents said the same about you. So don't sacrifice so much of yourself that you forego what your own parents, and what God, wanted and still wants for you.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
In summary, I have experienced the importance of "baby-free" time in that it makes me remember who I am in God and how precious I am as an individual as well as giving me energy and strength to carry on. To be an amazing mother (or at least to try!), I need first to be happy and fulfilled in myself, and having just a bit of time away from my son helps me do that. I know it can be hard to trust others with your precious little bundle, especially in the first few months, but it can be so rewarding for your relationship with them that I urge all mums to prioritise having some "baby-free" time. Let me know if you agree!!!