If you’re anything like me, the thought of doing something fun, just for yourself, brings feelings of guilt with it. At any given time, we can all think of things we should or could be doing for our families, our jobs, or our other responsibilities. Being a mom and being with children can be fun, at least some of the time. But I’ve had a few experiences lately that have shown me the value of pure fun, just for myself.
Before I tell you how I justify this, I have to tell you something about myself. I am bona fide horse crazy. I have loved horses since I knew what they were. As a child, I drew them, read every book in the library about them, and galloped around on my hands and knees until I had calluses. Growing up in a city, having my own horse wasn’t really an option. But bless my parents’ hearts, they gave me every opportunity to be around them. I took riding lessons off and on and for my graduation present, my parents leased me a horse at a nearby stable for the summer. It was heaven. For most of my life I have dreamed and pined away and planned for the day I could have my own horse.
Fast forward to today. Still no horse, but at least I live somewhere where it’s a possibility someday. I recently became acquainted with a fantastic woman who rides constantly, and guess what? She has two horses and actually thinks I’m doing her a favor by riding one of them. So I’ve started going riding about once a week, up in the mountains.
Naturally, the guilt weighed pretty heavily on me at first. For some reason I can justify leaving my children to go to the doctor or to run errands. But the thought of running off to go have pure fun for a couple of hours? Well, it seemed almost shameful.
Then I started noticing something. No one in my family seemed to mind that I was doing this. No crying or tantrums as I walked out the door. I think my kids actually like it. They get one-on-one time with their dad, or even more exciting, a babysitter! My kids pepper me with questions when I get home: Which horse did I ride? Did I see any snakes? What interesting things happened? Sometimes when I’m grumpy, my husband will ask tentatively, “Are you going riding this week?” Everyone, including me, has figured out that this makes me really happy and, therefore, makes me a more cheerful mother and wife.
One day as I was riding, I looked around at the beauty surrounding me. The trees were swaying in the breeze, water babbled nearby, and my body rocked rhythmically in the saddle. Suddenly I was overcome to the point of almost crying. I thought, “This is more than fun; this is good for my soul.”
I’ve tried to pay attention to other times when I feel the same way. Sometimes it’s when I’m playing the piano, reading a good book, or even exercising. It’s more than the fun of going to a movie or getting a pedicure. It’s not that those things aren’t fun or good to do to, but riding brings a kind of fun that uplifts me and fills some need deep inside of me. And I feel okay doing that now. I’ve realized that it’s something that every person, every mother, needs to feel. It’s something that our children need to see us doing so they can recognize the power of fun and learn how to spend their “fun time” on things that really matter to them. So, do it! Find whatever it is that feels fun and good to your soul, and make time for it!
Question: Do you have any hobbies or interests that have fallen by the wayside during motherhood?
Challenge: Pick one of them that feels good for your soul and schedule some time for it this week.
This article is an excerpt from Power of Mom's Motherhood Realized.
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