I was recently at the Rickmansworth Aquadrome, a lovely local park with little lakes to walk or cycle around. After circling one of the lakes with Luke on his balance bike, we met up at the Aquadrome’s cafe with my friend, Michelle and her two children. As we got the kids settled with their snacks and drinks, my eyes were drawn to a sign that read, The Quiet Room. Internally, I had to laugh and smile as I haven’t actually been in that part of the cafe for nearly six years! Long gone are the days of an enticing piece of cake with a latte and book all to myself. Instead, I am now always in the noisy family room, making sure that my little Luke is sorted with Organix biscuits or a muffin before considering my own needs. By the time Michelle and I had our drinks in hand, the children had finished theirs and then began the wiggling and toddler desire to always be running around. I think we got in about ten minutes of conversation before needing to move outside so Luke, Rose, and Arjun could be free to move about. In this season of live with little ones, a rich and deep sort of catch up is unrealistic yet as we said goodbye, we hugged and smiled with that knowing mum-to-mum smile that says, “It’s great to see you and though we didn’t get to have a deep catch up, I enjoyed seeing you and we are cheering each other on, in a rewarding but brutal season and schedule of little kid needs.”
A few weeks ago, I finally snapped at home. The routine of constantly giving as a mum started to break me down and I realised I must have some rest time. Anna and Luke seem to always swarm around Charlie and I like two hungry bumblebees and we are the colourful flowers. They desire our attention all of the time and we are happy to give it to them, but every now and then, a break is needed. So one Saturday at home, we fed the kids their lunch and then I quickly ran up to our log cabin in the garden and escaped into what I am now calling, The Quiet Room. Months ago, Charlie had cleared this side portion of the cabin for a writing and reading room for me. It’s not that I hadn’t thought of it, but sometimes running up the garden path from my kitchen chores has just been too difficult. But that particular Saturday, I felt I MUST get up there to clear my head!
Not long after I had gone up to the cabin, did I see two cute little faces pressed up against the window and wondering what Mummy was doing. Anna especially had that longing look that wanted to be included. Still, I fought the urge to give in to my kids and instead said Mummy needed some time off. I didn’t get long because a tantrum was quick to arise between the kids and then bickering about wanting the same toy, but that is beside the point. In that moment I stood up for myself and acknowledged that I am a person with needs that must be met and replenished just like anyone else. It felt good to make it know that as a mummy, I am not some sort of robot that can always keep going and putting myself at the back of the queue for my needs.
So in the end I listened to a few worship songs, read a psalm in my Bible, and read a quick chapter in a Christian inspirational book. It didn’t take too long but I did feel so much better for getting out of the house (not too far!) and gaining a new perspective. Taking a moment to sing, think, be quiet, pray, read, and write was so worth it and I was left thinking I really must do this more. So maybe it won’t always happen that I get to go to my quiet room, but I can take that perspective and use it wherever I am. The odd moment where Luke is watching Thomas The Tank Engine, or he’s fallen asleep for ten minutes in the car before picking up Anna from school, those little pockets of time can be moments I choose to put my emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical health ahead of grocery shopping or looking at my To-Do list. So here’s a shout out to all of the hard working mummies/mommies out there, “Where’s your quiet room?” Find it and make sure you grab a few moments to recharge. You won’t regret it. Remember that you are a person too and that by taking care of yourself for a few moments, you are going to be able to better take care of others.