On my way to work yesterday, I was listening to a podcast that I love. (If you like DIY, home decorating, and humor you need to check out Young House Love, including their podcast.) Anyway, back to my story. On this particular episode, Sherry had been dealing with a cold and laryngitis for about a week and you could hear it in her voice. As I raced down the highway to my office, the thought, “Man, if I were sick with a cold, I could spend a whole day in bed,” floated through my mind.
Rewind to six years ago. Our youngest was one year old, and we were done having kids. Both my husband and I were in agreement that two kids was a good number for our family. I can’t remember what sparked this thought, but I do remember telling my husband that part of me wanted to have another baby. When he recovered from the shock and terror he was feeling, he asked me why. (Probably it was more like, “What in the heck are you thinking?”) My reply was, “Well, I don’t actually want to have a baby, but when you have a baby, you get to spend a night in the hospital, and people take care of you, and you get to eat whatever you want like chocolate cake.” (I don’t know about where you gave birth, but my hospital had amazing food, and obviously I was feeling pretty burned out at the moment.) I remember my husband saying, “I’ll send you to a hotel for a night with a whole chocolate cake. It would be cheaper than having another baby.” The funny thing is, it had never dawned on me that I could get that kind of rest without a “good excuse.”
Why do we have such a hard time resting as women? Why do we think it’s only okay to spend a day in bed when we’re sick, and it probably doesn’t even feel okay then? I don’t have the answers to these questions, but maybe those answers don’t even really matter. Maybe what really matters is the truth that we don’t need a huge, life changing event as an excuse to rest. We are deserving of rest when we need it. There are days when my list of things to do is long, but I’m exhausted. Look, the truth is that on those days I’m probably going to spend some time resting. The question is whether or not I’ll add guilt to my list of things to do for the day or not.
I would argue that rest with guilt attached to it doesn’t end up feeling very restful to our souls. My challenge for you this week is to rest without guilt. Maybe it’s a short nap in the middle of the day even though your kitchen is a disaster (that’s me), maybe it’s doing the work to coordinate a night away with only some chocolate cake as your companion, maybe it’s meeting that friend for coffee even though the laundry is threatening to walk itself over to the washing machine. Do you know what happens when you don’t rest? Burn out. Burn out might land you in bed, but it won’t feel very good. You can read some of my thoughts how to know when you need to rest and my journey of learning how to rest by clicking these links.
You are allowed to rest. Don’t decide to have a baby just so you can get a night away from home. Somehow I think that plan would have backfired on me. Babies aren’t really the most restful things. 🙂