Early this weekend my husband and I spent an entire 24 hours away from our kids – and I did not miss them at all! Did I think about them occassionaly? Yes. Did I pause to say a quick prayer that they were safe, happy and healthy? Yes. Did I wish that I could leave where I was to be with them? Absolutely not!!
Does this make me a bad mom?!? I think not – and in this particular circumstance, there are two important reasons I’d like to highlight to explain why….
Reason #1 why it was OK to “abandon” my kids this weekend:
First, we left the kiddos with my in-laws, who love and support them as much as we do. My husband and I are so very blessed to have family and friends in our lives whom I do not hesitate to leave my children with. I find truth in the old cliche that it takes a village to raise a child. It is OK to leave your kids with someone else once in a while, someone you trust! Let them learn that there are others who love them; let others be examples for them in faith and life. Surround yourself with people that can serve as role models and support for your kids!
Reason #2 why it was OK to “abandon my kids this weekend:
On this particular weekend, my husband and I left our kids to attend an overnight retreat with peers from our church; time away to connect to each other and with God. When we dropped the kids off with their grandparents, it was a quick good-by before we gleefully ran out the door. Looking back, it seems my soul was in desperate need of focused time with God!
Our retreat was about spiritual maintenance – and I’ll steal an analogy from a friend to help explain. Our faith could be compared to a bridge – it needs to be strengthened, supported and maintained over time. If it isn’t, even the smallest strain can tear the whole thing down. To see God at work when life is spiraling out of control is really hard. But sometimes, just seeing God at work in our mundane daily lives is a challenge. So we focused on faith practices and how they can be used in our busy days to connect to God; to recognize God’s presence in our lives.
The fellowship was amazing, and the sharing and hearing of one another was powerful. As parents we sometimes think that our primary job is to teach our kids – help encourage their growth. To do that well, it is critical that we ”maintain” our own relationship with God.
So, the time away from my kids during my “free-time” this weekend was just what I needed. And by the time we got back home and relieved them from the grandparents, I felt refreshed and renewed – ready to parent. I closed my eyes and savored their deep hugs. I let their smiles, laughter and chaos melt back into my reality. The opportunity to get away can be a blessing. It can make us better parents, better disciples. Take these opportunities when you can get them!