Recently, I paid attention to the “bedtime” function on my phone. For some time now, I have seen the cute little bed icon nestled into the bottom row when I set my alarm, but I never bothered to checked it out. I associated it with the sleep-tracking function of my FitBit, which I turned off when Avery was a newborn. Having my FitBit confirm I had gotten roughly 45 minutes of sleep was doing more harm than good.
But the bedtime feature seems more proactive. Every evening, I get a gentle reminder when the time is approaching my predefined bedtime. In the most paternal ways, my phone shuts off all alerts at my bedtime. It effectively enforces my curfew, takes the phone off the hook, and is one step away from turning out the light. Like many moms, I am much better at enforcing bedtime for my kids than for myself.
My inability to define and protect my bedtime seems to be common. Rest should be the an easy thing to do. By definition alone, it should require no effort. So why does something that requires no effort require so much planning? Why do I meet to chance to shut down with such resistance?
I cannot pour out of a cup that is empty. I cannot be the mom my daughters deserve if I am not whole. Rest isn’t something that this season of life offers freely, yet I often forget how much the quality of me matters to my kids. I could probably meet their physical needs on autopilot: food, diapers, baths, bed. But that cheats them because it isn’t the best mommy they know. When I am my best self, I love to play. I make up the worst, best songs. I love to chase, and I love to wrestle. I create stories, I laugh. It’s not always Pinterest-worthy and planned, but I let my heart be full and it shows.
This holiday season, as my busy days get busier, I can be assert confidently that I will need to fight to maintain space for rest. Beyond sleep, I need to ensure I carve out space for my mind and soul to breathe. If not just for me, for my kids. Because let’s face it, every need becomes more critical when it’s for our kids. Even if it involves something that benefits mom in the process.
In this season of external chaos, my two littles need me as my fullest, best self. Just as I need to fight to guard my heart, I will strive to guard my rest. I will recognize and respect when I need to recharge. I will read, I will color like a grown up, I may even take a bath.
And for goodness sake, I will just go to bed.