The Me Time Myth

(NOTE: After you read this post, PLEASE take the time to read The Me Time My Revisited.  Thank you! ~Amy)

I once heard a talk show host give a very compelling argument for why moms need time away. He said mothers give and give to the point of empty. They must refuel themselves so they can continue to give.

It sounded quite reasonable to me. So, then why did my search for this hallowed me time always leave me feeling as though I needed more? While taking time for myself, I definitely felt refreshed, but the moment I got home and realized the sink was still full of dirty dishes and I would still have to give baths to all the children before the night would be over, I wanted to head right back out the door.

This left me feeling sorry for myself. Why couldn’t I have one night where I wouldn’t have to do the same things I do every night? Why couldn’t I come home to a spotless and trouble-free place where dishes were washed and children were in bed? Why did I have to go back to my duties so soon? To punish those who were making my life difficult, I would loudly sling dishes, and be curt and hurried with everyone until I could get children into bed and escape to the sewing room or the computer for the remainder of the evening.

The next morning, feeling dissatisfied with the amount of me time from the evening prior, I would take my coffee, sit at the computer, and completely ignore my daily duties. I would get irritated with the children because their antics were cutting into my time. I was stressed and edgy and desperate for more. My children would call out for me and I would answer with, “She’s not here right now.”

Then, I began staying up much too late in order to squeeze in more alone time. I dreaded going to bed because it meant waking up to children’s needs and a disaster of a house.

I became increasingly upset by my husband’s time off from work along with the business lunches and the business trips. To compensate for the perceived unfairness of the situation, I chose to do nothing on weekends: no laundry, no dishes, no parenting. Soon, my weekends were spilling over both ends and into the weekdays. All of this only served to overwhelm me even more and feed into my desire to escape.

In a moment of clarity, as only the Lord can offer, I saw my behavior for what it truly was: selfishness. Along with this epiphany came the conviction to quit seeking Me Time.

Me Time is a myth. It is an unattainable, always interruptible, never satisfying piece of junk psychology. Me Time, by its very name, suggests that who we are during the daily grind is not who we truly are. It begs us to search for fulfillment outside of the titles of “wife” and “mother.” It accuses precious little ones and God-given spouses for suppressing us. It reduces motherhood to a disease in which little dirty faces and endless monotonous tasks slowly suck the life out of us. It says we can never be refreshed by spending time in the presence of those we care for day in and day out. It points out a perceived hole in our world that needs to be filled, a tank that must be refueled, a monster that will swallow us if we neglect to feed it Me Time.

The more we indulge the though that we are somehow owed this time away, the more we will seek after it. The more we seek after it, the more every little opportunity afforded us to take a break will seemingly end too quickly. The everyday life of being a mother will become drudgery. We will dread every aspect of this role. We will snap at our children any time they try to draw us out of our precious time alone. Not getting this time will ruin our day, and if we do manage some time away, we will despise the re-entry.

However, with any lie, there is a certain amount of truth hidden within. There is an emptiness within us that needs to be filled, but only God can fill what you are aching for.

“The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.”
Lamentations 3:24, 25

Our time away should be spent seeking Him. Anything else we try to fill that emptiness with will fail miserable short. Likewise, the company we seek during our time away should be spent with people who are about the business of edifying and strengthening us in our role as wife and mother, not tearing at the very foundation of our home. We will never gain anything but resentment from the counsel of those who encourage us to seek self.

We must cease to see the role of wife and mother as a job we put aside at the end of the day. We must do our daily tasks cheerfully, as unto the Lord. We must learn to enjoy being home with our families. We must find contentment in serving others. We should spend more time drinking in the beauty of our children, searching their eyes, holding their hands, being Mom. When we do feel neglected or overworked, we must immediately seek the Lord to refresh us and keep us from sin.

There will be days when we are afforded opportunities to do things alone or with other women, but if we are content in our God-given role, we will no longer cling so tightly to these moments as the only way to save our sanity. Our need for Me Time will fade as we begin to see motherhood as a blessing not to be escaped, but embraced.

By Amy Roberts
Copyright 2009
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC
www.thehomeschoolmagazine.com

You can purchase the ebook version of the original magazine article for $1 HERE.

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80 thoughts on “The Me Time Myth

  1. That was a beautiful and sharp-edged article. It really hit home- thank you for the reminder to discard most of what the world tells us. I don’t want to wait till the end of the day or the end of the week till I can “enjoy myself,” I’d like to be able to do it WITH my kids. I recognize the cycle of weekend inaction in myself. I’m going to post a link over to this. Thank you.

  2. I had the ability to post this on the blog now, so I wanted to place an untouched copy directly from the magazine here so those of you who would like to link to it can do so.

    I don’t know if I had mentioned that my oldest son read this article and said, “Mama, I don’t remember you being like that.” I just smiled at him and said, “Good!” Proof positive the Lord does fill the gaps! What a merciful God!

    Blessings,
    Amy

  3. I agree with that and did a post myself, after reading yours. It did open up a whole can of worms though, as many do not see it that way. I know exactly where you are coming from though!

  4. I really love your post!
    I would love to read the article to the mom’s at MOPS next year!
    I read your posting of it last year but not the redo of it for the HomeSchoolhouse magazine.
    Good job! Well done!

    Blessings,
    Georgiann

  5. Thank you for this post. I have never heard this before, and now recognize it as Truth. Even at our Christian mom’s groups, it is all about how to be yourself outside your current role as wife and mother. This fuels unhappiness and disregard for our calling. You have been such a blessing to me today!

  6. Loved it. Absolutely loved it, Amy. Passionate Housewives Desperate for God talks a bit about this “Me Time” mentality that’s been circulating as well. You worded it so beautifully though!
    And I have found it to be true: that when we seek God when we truly have a need for refreshing [from Him], He will provide and make it fruitful.

  7. I read this when it was published in TOS and was so excited someone was willing to write it! Very well said. Thank you.

  8. There have been times I’ve felt exactly that — why don’t I ever get any time alone? Why can’t everyone just leave me alone? And my husband feeds into this by both asking for his own time alone and telling me I need mine. But often times when I don’t really think, I automatically include my kids. Sure, I’d LOVE to go shopping, out to lunch with a friend, etc. but I don’t mind taking them with me. They are a part of my daily fun. Even when I go to “mom’s nights,” I take my son because he’ll need to eat (he’s 7 months). People say “just pump and leave him at home!” No. Sometimes I feel like I’m a little kid again, playing house, and my kids are playing my babies. But it’s real.

    There are days. Oh, there are days. But I try hard to see it the way you’ve said it. And I have also been criticized for the way I view family and home life. I’ve been criticized for my view on large families. But the thing is, when we love the Lord and follow Him we will be criticized by the world which doesn’t understand. Sometimes I think it’s a sign that we’re doing things right. :) (I try to remember that when I’m feeling stressed.)

  9. I’m not sure your definition of “me time” is exactly what most people mean by that phrase. Me time does not equal sitting at the computer letting your mind go stagnant – it’s doing something that fulfills your needs and helps you feel better about yourself. I’m not a wife nor a mother, but I am an over-worked law student. I take me time by reading chapters of a novel or some short stories, or playing with my horses. The fact that I spend a few hours every week doing something that is not helping my career (or replace that with being a wife or a mother) does not mean that my primary “job” is any less important or that I don’t take it as seriously. Me time should be encouraging and help make you a more stable, well-rounded person – if you come back to “real life” hating everyone, I’d say your doing it wrong.
    Also, if you hate coming back from me time to a sink full of dishes, maybe you could drop a hint or two to your husband to help you out.

    • I dont want to sound rude. I think your schooling and the job of being a wife and mother are a little differant. Our job was given to us by God. We are to be sevants to our husbands. And we are to be training our children in all things. We can not do these things to God standards if we are always taking “me time” then we would only be doing the job slopily. I dont want to prevok an Argument, but I do think the situations are a little differant. When you are married and have children God will expect the same thing from you.
      I wish you luck in your career!

      • Anonymous, I agree you. That was a well thought out and respectful response to the post. Which can sometimes be hard to do when we have differing opinions. Anita, that was extremely condescending, patronizing and rude. See? Even I can’t do it.

    • I have to agree with you a little bit! I am a full time wife and mother. I do think we need some time to be alone and be able to think things through. I do agree that if you come back from your “me time” hating the world, then you are doing it wrong and for the wrong reasons. I take my me time and go out and do something by myself or with a friend. It gives me a small break. Sometimes I get to the point where I feel overwhelmed. I don’t think that God meant us to have our children by our side every second of every day. That is just my opinion!!

      • I agree. I think it’s foolish to consider “me time” while you are in the middle of caring for your children. It’s like taking a vacation but never leaving work. I’m not saying that everyone needs or shoukd takr “me time” but if they desire some time away to get refreshed then they shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for it. It’s kinda the same as saying you should never go on a date with your husband because you are being selfish. Even Jesus needed time away from his disciples.

        • Frame your mind for me time and you will achieve refueling. My me time is playing my guitar. I do this at home with my family around. My other me time is exercise. Also done at home but before the house awakens. I don’t consider either activity selfish. My health is important to me and my family. My guitar keeps me grounded to who I am. I will always be a mother but I want a “me” when they are grown enough to leave my home. There has to be a “me” that I feed and water regularly or I will have to reinvent myself at the cost of my children once they’ve grown.

  10. You descibed so well the experience I had with “me time”. Thank you for this article which I am about to post on my blog. This needs to be read. xo

  11. Pingback: Homeschooling – What If I Get Tired of the Kids? | Raising Arrows

  12. My momther sent me a link to this. I have been ” needing alonen time ” for months now. Feeling like im going to loose my mind if I dont get out and away from it all. Thank you so much for writing this. It was exactly what I needed to hear. I just thought you should know that it really ment something to someone.

    Im looking forward to reading more.

  13. Thank you so much for revealing that refreshment comes from the Lord and not from seeking our own selfish desires.

  14. I love this article!!! Thank you for it…from the bottom of my heart. I thought I was alone in this…you have helped me to understand that I am not weird or strange for not wanting to go away for a weekend with my friends or travel without my hubby and children. I feel so blessed to be married to my hubby and love being mommy…thought I wasn’t having balance because of all you here out there…trying to do it made things nuts in my life. Now I am back to doing it “my” way…living life with them in it…and taking time with God to refill my spirit instead of tons of outside activities…

    I love to write and blog but what refuels me is our Lord Jesus and time with him…time w/ my hubby…things like that.

    Your blog is an answered prayer my friend!!!

    Blessings!!

    Mary Joy

  15. Amen! This is something that I have felt the Lord’s gentle nudging on, but you’ve put it into words that really struck me. Seeking the kiddos, and seeking the Lord when our cup feels empty. I love it!

    Thanks so much for this. =)

  16. I really really needed to read this this morning. God has been nudging me about this for a while now, suttle nudges stating just what you have written here. Last night my oldest daughter asked me if I was going to bed too, and I told her I needed alone time. She stated she never got alone time with me and I said that alone time meant being by myself without any kids or interuptions. I thought I said it in a way that was “nice” but really how nice is it to say to your children that you dont want them around for a bit? I felt awful after she went upstairs head bowed low. I went up and appologized to her, feeling such conviction on this topic from God. Today your post just really verifies for me that this is something God wants me to change. Its a hard mindset to get out of. Everyone around me tells me “you need a break.”
    Im going to share this with my friends <3 Thankyou for posting it

  17. This was such a blessing to me!! When I come to the end of my life here on earth I really don’t think I will look back and say “Oh if I’d only had more “me time”! Our time with our children is so very short, we must be so diligent as mothers. “Redeeming the time” because our children have got a horribly wicked society in which to live. They need us!!

  18. This is spot on! This is exactly how I feel and have tried to explain to other moms. Jesus is our source of rest and comfort!!

    I often say if I need “time away” it is to reconnect with my husband as our marriage is such a high priority, never to be completely away from my family! It saddens me to watch young moms around me become resentful towards their kids and husbands by buying into this philosophy. I believe it is what leads to the destructions of some marriages. I have a close family member whose wife left him because she let this idea fester for so long. :(

    Love, love, love this article. Going to repost it now!

    • Thanks, Rebecca! It truly is a sad thing when you feel as though your time away is never enough…so much so that you feel the need to completely walk away.

  19. I could not agree more!!! My husband and I have discussed this ‘me time’ myth a few times, and I have long been annoyed with society’s general acceptance that who we are as wives and mothers is not the truth – that we are actually just dying to get out of it and back to our ‘real’ selves!
    Loved it! Plan on sharing it on fb!

  20. The principles in your excellent insight can be applied to men also. The quest to fulfill ourselves and feel better about ourselves is the fast-track to dissatisfaction apart from God’s design for us.

  21. I think this is much more a personal stance rather than a motto for all mothers. A woman who is balanced and constantly feeding herself with the Word and in God wouldn’t experience being pulled far either way in one direction–the pit of selfishness or the suffocation of being everything to everyone. “Me time,” is essential but also not to be abused. I’m not satisfied with the overall flavor of the article when it seems to suggest that a woman who waits for her alone time is selfish. There is a time and place for everything, and that is the beauty of being balanced. When I have a night out planned with my friends, or even alone, I do what needs to be done ahead of time, or more often, my husband steps up and comes beside me, making my burden lighter. I have absolutely never resented coming back to my children. In fact, I feel ten times better of a woman when I get back because I have been filled with the time I took. I don’t know . . . I guess I see Me Time as a delicious piece of chocolate cake. If you’re not balancing it with other things, like excercise, then you’re going to resent the wanting of it, you’re going to resent doing it, and you’re definitely going to resent the stuff that you eat in lieu of it because it’s so-called better. But if you go to the gym a few times a week, then you can eat that cake and do so in peace because of the balance in your life between food and excercise.

    I see your point from your perpective. The danger is that not all women are like you. To suggest that all mothers give up this notion will inevitably draw harsh rebuke when a mother thinks they have to conform to your norm and run themselves ragged giving all to their children and never doing anything for themselves.

    We are all parts of the same body. We can’t push our own limitations on others. While you may suffer from Me Time, others flourish. There’s nothing wrong with either. Period. I hope women reading this article in the future can see that difference. This is an opinion, a personal victory to a specific woman with a specific temperment that could not flourish in a certain circumstance. This is not a command from the Lord, that those of us who do flourish within Me Time, and are better mothers from it, must stop less we be called selfish.

  22. This is kind of off topic, but just from reading some of the above comments, I’d just like to say I don’t think God “expects” things from us. If he did that would be we could disappoint him and I don’t believe we can.

    Thanks for the article! :o)

  23. Could not leave without dropping a kind thank you here. You have nearly perfectly expressed exactly what went on in my heart when my husband freed me up for useless (i.e., pointless) “me” time. Wandering around Target, idling sipping on coffee? I came home…not refreshed. But when he (brave man!!) takes the kiddos out so I can enjoy uninterrupted time in God’s Word, even if that uninterrupted time is only 30 minutes? New mama! :) LOVE this post, thank you.

  24. Thank you for this! You are spot on, and your insight is straight from the Lord, and exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for allowing God to speak through you to me. I connect with everything you’ve said, and I just couldn’t stop the cycle or see what I was doing wrong. Today I’m hitting the stop button and I’m actually feeling excited and releived. Yes, we were made to worship. Thank you, THANK YOU! I’m about to go enjoy my family now. I have a youngster asking me to read him the Bible, today this is an opportunity I won’t miss!

  25. This was me! Thank you for letting me know that I am not alone and that I can become what the Lord has for me to be. You “hit the nail on the head” This is nothing but truth! Thank you again!!!!
    Kristin

  26. WOW this is exactly what I needed to hear. I grew up with a mother who always needed her me time and neglected us. Now that I have my two boys my youngest has special needs everyone keeps telling me that I need me time, but I have noticed like what was said above that I need more and more. I have started snapping at my oldest son and get frustrated when my little one cries. I have turned into my mother and this article has opened my eyes that things need to change. thank you so much!

  27. Wow. This resonated for me. Before I was married, I had college and friends, and a job, and especially ME time. It relaxed me then. Now I am a homeschool mother, a wife, a Sunday school teacher, a maid, a cook, the list goes on. If I leave the house, I worry about the kids, if I don’t worry, I feel guilty because I didn’t worry. But I KNOW that leaving a house with clean dishes and clean laundry will inevitably result in coming home to clothes in the bathroom floor and dirty dishes. Life doesn’t pause when I take ME time, and I have to work twice as hard to catch back up. So I resent it. I know that computer feeling. That feeling where I want to beg my kids to just “let me be, for five minutes of quiet” (even if I was only checking my email for the 10th time today) because me time didn’t refresh me like it used to do. We’ve started having a family Bible story every night. And I bought a devotional for couples, for my dh and myself. We do the study every night right after the kids are asleep, so we aren’t too tired. I’ve started praying more, and being on the computer less. I don’t feel drained now. The closer I am to God, the less I have the urge to disassociate myself with life for a while. Thank you for pointing out bluntly what I was slowly starting to figure out. I needed this post.

  28. I linked over to here from today’s post in the Home Management for Homeschool Mom’s series. You had mentioned you had gotten some backlash from this article, so I was little scared to read it! But, oh my word! This article has cut to my soul! While, I can see how this is against what SO many people believe, I can see the truth in it! This is water to my soul! I just wanted to encourage you to keep writing the truths that God gives you! He is definitely using you to speak to me! Really, I’m almost in tears right now!

  29. Despite some of the comments, I do think I see your “heart” in this article. You did NOT say, you should never take any time to do anything by yourself. You DID say (indirectly), that we should not feel as if we are owed this time, deserve this time, or that we would not be able to function properly without it. Occasionally, my husband will stay with the children while I spend an hour with a close, godly friend getting a coffee. I don’t think you would think there is anything wrong with that. BUT, I do not demand or expect this time out, and I do not make expectations for what should occur while I’m out. I think the fact that the time away is unexpected, and “bonus” time, makes it sweeter than if I demanded that it was my right to have it. It completely depends on your attitude toward your own “rights”. Thank you very much for the article. It made me reevaluate my own thoughts.

  30. Your post is so precious! I could never get the whole *Me Time* thing I always missed my family to much; so I only tried it once or twice! LOL!!
    God is so good; He gives us a love and desire to be what He has made us to be; if we ask Him to do life with us! I am always amazed at how much He changes the inside so we can shine His love on the outside! It’s all about Him!
    Jilly oxoxo

  31. I completely agree with your observation of the problem: a lust for “me time” is sinful. However, your solution seems like a pendullum swinging from one extreme to another. Please don’t demonize a mother’s plea for help. We are weak and weakened by selfishness and sin. We are in desperate need for the grace only Christ can provide through his atoning work on the cross. This grace to a lot of moms IS healthy me time. Healthy me time rejuvinates a mom and gives her time to reflect and acknowledge the Lord sanctifying her. Also, it produces patience and gratitude. If me time isn’t producing these things then it is destructive. But i wouldn’t go as far as to call me time a myth. It’s very helpful when used wisely and productively.

  32. Well, I would heartily agree that time wasted will only lead to frustration. Me time spent on the computer — ahem! I should listen to myself right now! — will only result in being overwhelmed when one turns around and sees that the dishes STILL need to be done. On the other hand, time spent accomplishing something (exercise, knitting project, being a friend, etc) will usually result in renewed energy.

    I often need “me time.” Space, quiet and a lot of it. At work I constantly interact with people, very intensely (hospitalist physician, working in ER, floor and ICU). Obviously children require intense attention as well. So the minute people are in bed or when I have a day off and kids are in school, I am ALONE. Totally alone, recharging so I can do it again. Alone means coffee, knitting and reading. Exercise. Nature walks. Grocery shopping (when alone, it is a luxury!).

    Its all about balance and making good choices.

  33. Sorry, but I respectfully disagree. The problem sounds more like your family (both husband AND children) weren’t doing their fair share to help you in the home, leaving you with a ridiculous pile of mess to clean up. I recently remarried and my husband has taught my little ones to help out more and it’s suddenly made a huge difference. It’s easy for one person to wash his own plate and fork when finished with dinner, instead of leaving a sinkload of dishes for mom to clean up, like she’s the house servant. I do manage to have both more “me” time AND less need for “me” time because the situation at home is less stressful now. I’m glad for you that you found something that works better for your family, but I think it’s a dangerous thing to tell women that they shouldn’t perceive it as unfair when they’re treated like house servants…

  34. Thank you for writing this insightful piece. God used this to cut right to the quick! I appreciate your honesty. This is definitely not a world view, but a biblical one. Thank you again and amen!!!!!

  35. This topic needs to be broached ever so carefully. Yes, there is a selfish, worldly, ME ME ME message that hits us in the face even as we try to be godly wives and mothers.
    However there is also the guilt that gets laid on weary moms who need to take a minute every so often to just breath.

    My first thought is of the story where Jesus goes out on the water a bit to get away from the pressing of the crowds and their never ending needs. I believe that in this he sets an example of taking time away. However, the very important difference between this and self-centered “me-time” is that when they needed him, he returned.

    Different families function differently, different women have different needs. You were a person before you were a mother and you will be a person after your children leave home. There is nothing wrong with keeping in touch with your former talents or interests, even while your children are young. Speaking broadly to women who are in two-parent families, you have a job besides that of “mommy” and that is of “wife.” You owe it to your husband and yourself to be able to carry on a conversation about something besides potty-training. If that means a book-club once a month, so be it. Or perhaps just an occasional night out with girlfriends is what you need to keep it fresh. Maybe setting aside a few hours a week to read the newspaper or books and stay current… it is going to look different for every person. The point is, none of this is a reason for guilt unless you are going about it in a selfish manner; the mere act of taking time away is not in itself a selfish act.

  36. Thank you for writing your thoughts and feelings. When someone like you does it always reminds us that we are all different and all have our own thoughts and feelings. I respectfully disagree with your position. I sense you were angry about the inactive partner participant, husband. All of “your” duties awaited you. Instead of having a husband who wanted you to feel a break, take ownership of his half of the parenting etc. That part makes me angered at as well. I speak from experience.

    I think it is so common especially in Christianity to push things down, to have “shoulds”, to just PRAY or give to God. I do think God wants us to Let go and Let God at times. But HE created us for so much more as I have learned. Can’t we have both? Can’t we have communication in our marriage to say I need and You need so how do we make this work as well as lean on HIM when we need HIM. As I have traveled this of course it is hard…my other half wasn’t wanting me to “need” for a time in our life. This is still a learning course for us. It’s just so sad to me to live it a culture of SUCK IT UP. Do your duty….Do your duty. Who defines our duty? Don’t we have that right? Can’t we define the kind of life we want? Why if we are human and want down time or breaks does that equal we shouldn’t want that and we should just pray that feeling away. I think God created us and therefore he created feelings. This was his intention. A beautiful way for our body and mind to say YOU NEED A BREAK SO TAKE ONE. :)

    Many, many people I see our living the life they think they “Should” live or have to live. I still struggle with it. But this is not the life I want to live. Pushing down REAL feelings became not an option for me. The dam broke. Though so hard. So glad it did. Now I take “me” time with peace and am giving attention to the feelings that are dying to be heard.

    • Actually, your assessment of my husband couldn’t be further from the truth. If you read more of my posts, you would quickly see that my husband is one of the most giving, amazing men I have ever met. The issue did not lie with him in the least. I was discontent because I am a sinful human being and had some growing up to do. I’ve also written other posts that speak more to this topic because it seems people add to my words and assume I mean that any time taken away from your family is wrong, even though I never say that in the post. It’s all about attitude, and I am so thankful the Lord took me to this place before I lost my daughter a few months later.

  37. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU sharing these words of wisdom that you allowed the Lord to teach you and is now teaching me! This was a slap in the face I didn’t even know I needed! My attitude has been bad lately, dreading the monotonous daily tasks of being a stay at home mom to four little ones. This was a breeze of fresh air that just blew through my house that was definitely needed! This will change my parenting attitude! Thank you!

  38. Interesting article. I appreciate the way you addressed the selfishness aspect that affects everyone in relation to the job that God has called them to do. BUT to imply taking “time away” for one’s self as being selfish and ungodly just doesn’t measure up. God “rested” on the 7th day of creation, yes as a sign of completion, but also to remind us that one day out of the week we are to “rest” from our labor and this includes mothers. Jesus regularly took time to “get away” from people and his disciples to be refreshed in his time alone with God, even though he had come “to do the will of His Father.” The disciples were probably thinking He was being “selfish” for sleeping in the boat when He should have been aware of their needs.

    Scripture also reminds us that fulfillment doesn’t just come from “doing” the will of God. It also comes through encouragement and fellowship within the body of Christ as we do the will of God. We are exhorted throughout Scripture to “bear one another’s burdens, encourage one another daily, confess your faults to one another.” Taking time “away” from parenting to fellowship with others is part of God’s design to make you better at doing what God has called you to do. After all, you had to “step away” from parenting to write your blog, to check email, talk on the phone, etc.
    Paul exhorted us, to not just look out for our own interests, but also the interests of others. By that, we are reminded that there is a place for you to look out for your own interests, not just those of your husband or children. The real issue has to do with our attitude, and our “rights” to things that reveal the selfishness of our hearts.

    Taking a “time out” to get away, should bring about a greater appreciation and desire for what God had called you to do – not the opposite.

    Just as much as we have been designed by God for our bodies to rest each night so we can be more productive with our jobs each day – God has designed for us to “get away” from the hustle and bustle of parenting (not that we stop being parents) from time to time, so that we can be refreshed either by others (and so we too can refresh others) in the body of Christ or just be alone, so that we can exhale a bit, reassess our priorities to make sure we haven’t strayed from the purpose God has designed, etc.

    Parenting is a high calling from God that should never be shirked or done begrudgingly, but it is hard work that can and will take a toll on both the body, mind and emotions. Taking time away will allow a parent to be refreshed in these areas and it has nothing to do with being selfish. For instance, if you suddenly fall and break your leg, I wouldn’t consider you selfish for taking some “me time” to go to the hospital any more that taking the “night off” to go be refreshed spiritually, mentally, and emotionally, with some godly women, or to talk a walk alone in the park, veg on the computer, or read a good book.

    If we are begrudging our role as parents and “feeling sorry” sorry for ourselves, then that is heart issue and no amount of “me time” will every fix that problem as you clearly laid out in this article. I may be wrong in my assumption, but your article suggests to me that your attitude was wrong before you ever took “me time.” Then when you took “me time” it already made your existing attitude worse, not better. The fault then lies, not with the time we take away for ourselves (me time), but with the attitude of our heart before we even take it.

    I know many mothers (my wife included) who have a right approach and attitude (although not always) in taking “time out” away from the children and they are better mothers because of it. MY CONCERN is this article can give the impression that mothers who take time away (“me time” or whatever you want to call it), are simply being selfish and not doing things by God’s design, which simply is not the case. I encourage my wife often to “get away” and out of the house for awhile so she can relax and refresh and go out with some of her girlfriends. When she comes home, she is a better mother because of it, because first, her heart/attitude was in the right place to start, and second, she has been able to relax and be refreshed by the fellowship of others in a way that God has called all his children to belong.

    As someone once said, “The heart of the matter, is the matter of the heart.”

    God bless you as you continue to serve Him, your husband, children, and the body of Christ!

  39. I so agree with this and have found that daily family recreation time is much more restorative for myself (and my husband and children) than “me time” ever was.

  40. Thank you. This is so very true. When I first became a mom of two adopted girls I sought to get away about once a month to refresh. My life was very stressful and I thought the only way to deal with it was to have some time away. I went to a friends apartment about an hour away and we did things like shop and talk and eat out. I started noticing though after a few months that I would come home less interested in being a mother than when I left. I had to stop going because it was only doing the opposite of what I sought after.

    Shortly after the friendship was gone too and I found myself a little more content with my life. My friend was single and very self involved. I realized when you’re a mom you don’t have time to be selfish or to have friends who do not understand your life and do not help you to do the job better. Anything that takes away from or makes the job of mother/wife harder is not good. Not that I don’t still struggle some with needing time alone but I find that I must have a purpose for the “me time” for it to be any good. Either its a time for bible study and spending time with God, or its a time of doing something I cannot do with the kids…wrapping presents, putting together a surprise…doing a project of some kind. If its just me time without a purpose I tend to waste it and then clamor for more.

  41. I can’t tell you how much this post has touched me! I have turned down ladies night after ladies night, and this is exactly why! I’m a writer/blogger myself, but could never get the words out quite as you did in this post. Thank you so much for sharing. I’ll just pass this post along with my RSVP next time I decline an invite. Thank you!

  42. this morning i prayed for God to help me be a better parent, grandparent, sister daughter, neice, aunt, cousin, Chritian…. and … I read this artical which convicted and also covinced me of wrong attitudes. thank you for doing what God called you to do. you put words to a “feeling” i’ve been trying to understand for awhile. God has put the “feeling” in my heart. you told me what the “feeling” was. very cool!

  43. I have to say that I love my husband and child to death but I do 95% of everything around my house and work 40+ hour per week and if I didn’t take an hour to myself now and then I would be very resentful and angry all of the time. My hubby only works 1 day per week due to the fact that he decided to go back to school, which I totally support. Are all of you ladies housewives? Do you even know how hard it is to work 8 to 5 everyday, come home cook dinner while doing laundry and helping the kids with school work, packing lunches for the next day and wash dishes, Then hearing your husband come walk in at 8pm saying he ate while on campus and is going to bed “because he is sooo tired!” Now keep in mind that his classes don’t start until noon everyday, yet he nothing gets done while I’m at work because he has “to study” which is also the excuse I get when he can’t take our daughter to dance or piano or anything else. Some of you self-righteous women need to get a clue. You are not super heros. You need to take the time to learn to balance mommy duty, wife duty AND take care of yourself at the same time. Who says you have to let the laundry go for an entire weekend? Who says you have to sling dishes and take it out on your loved ones? Who says you have to ignore your CHILDREN???? WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE ALL OR NOTHING?!?!?! I’d also like to remind all of you stay at home moms that when all of your kids are at school you have the entire, peaceful day to yourselves to write your little blogs and make the rest of the working moms that need a minute to breath feel crappy about themselves.

    • As a homeschooling mom I don’t have that time you speak of when kids go to school. Nor do I desire that time. What is so upsetting are the mothers who take their children to school, spend all day doing what they want, pick up their child leaves them with Dad or a babysitter while they go to the gym because they need that “Me-time”. Where is your child’s “me-time with you”. You are telling your child that you are more important than they are…..someday that will come back and bite you. Children are young for only a short time….can’t you wait for that time to have your “me time”?

  44. I’ve never loved the phrase “me time” personally. But the heart of “me time” — at least for most mothers — is rest and recuperation. And one thing your article fails to recognize, Amy, is that rest is Biblical. Straight out of the gate, Sabbath is something God prioritizes. So should we. Without guilt.

    It’s damaging for mothers to believe it’s selfish, or even sinful, to need rest and sanctuary (seems like a recipe for exhaustion and PPD to me). Sometimes I do come back from a breather wanting a little more. But just as often I come back from a short break having missed my little ones. I’ve had time to breathe and time to reflect on the kind of mother I want to be. I come back MORE grateful, not less. I think it’s sad that your response to a break was to increasingly binge on the computer and want to ignore your family, but I don’t think that’s typical.

    We can BOTH appreciate the work we do AND appreciate moments of solitude and rest. Contrary to what you seem to be indicating here, it’s not either/or.

  45. I love this article. I’d like to say a few things.

    1) We are entitled to NOTHING. ALL of our time is God’s time.

    2) Moms can get in little breaks without having to sacrifice the needs of their children. A break can be a long, hot shower while dad and kids play happily together, never even knowing mom is gone. There is no need for a mom to go on a night on the town, for a whole date night, or for parents to take a whole vacation without their kids. That is over the top and not necessary. I’m talking about when the kids are young- the bigger they get the longer they will be able to deal with longer separations (and will even want a break from mom and dad too.

    3) In a perfect world, with perfect moms, we would never need or even want a break. BUT—when we are acting human and are getting to a breaking point and tempted to give in to sin, I have found it best to leave the environment for a bit. This is a “lesser of two evils” thing. It doesn’t mean that leaving was BEST, but better than what Mom would have done otherwise in the moment. For me this usually means locking myself in a room for a few minutes so I don’t strangle my children ;)

    Having a date night, or “me time” doesn’t really help. Because we usually need a break in the middle of the day when everything is going wrong and all the kids, and probably mom, are crying and ready to lose it. Unless you can call someone who can come watch the kids at the drop of a hat when this happens, that “me time” you take later isn’t going to help when you really need it.

    Suck it up—do you your job. Bear your cross. True love is sacrifice. Love is not self-seeking.

  46. Wonderfully said … thank you! .. this spoke right to me .. this is me … this has been something my eldest brother and mentor, mentioned to me was ‘me time’, it is selfishness .. it hit me a little funny but I knew exactly what he was speaking of & I knew he was spot on, it is selfishness. In my quiet time God had been working in my heart about this very matter so to hear it from my brother and then reading this (very rare view point I must add) from you leaves me feeling led to seek after a higher ground then what is common =) .. I brought my kids home a year ago to raise them at home, teach them at home and nothing has been more challenged then my selfishness .. I am so thankful to see God’s gentle, loving guiding hand direct me in the way I should go .. when I loooong to serve my family with joy & with availability relying on the Lord I am so humbled and blessed by the fruit of it .. I appreciate my children so much more then I ever have and my marriage has been ignited because I am on a new mission to choose to joyfully serve my husband and my children ~ a young woman after God’s own heart =) .. ~Psalm 23:5~ “He anoints my head with oil, my cup over flows“

  47. I started reading your more recent post on this, but decided to check out the original first. I found you in a roundabout way- through reference be another blogger- last night because I was freaking out and overwhelmed and feeling like my life just was a miserable drudgery that would never end. I was laying in bed thinking there has to be a better way. I get very few opportunities for “me time”, my husband works 12 hour night shifts. He barely sees our son at all, he couldn’t be much help if he wanted to be. I remember my own mother got none. If all moms felt the way I did last night nobody would have children anymore.

    So there has to be a way to recharge without actually getting away and I think that you are exactly right about how it should be accomplished.

  48. I just came across this article and it is exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve been so unsatisfied lately, and now I can totally see why. Thank you for sharing truth!

  49. Wow. Thank you for writing this extremely honest article. Your words describe exactly where I am at right now, and God is using them to convict me. I also just read your second article on the topic, and I can see that the truth of Romans 12:1 is God’s answer to my selfishness. Thank you for your honesty and your faithfulness to God in publishing this article.

  50. What an amazing article! You are so right about me-time. For years I tried to obtain peace amongst the turmoil of kids & husband & home & faith. What a thought! The world today is trying so hard to undermine family. With my boys being older now, me-time comes without having to ask. I am thankful Hashem has revealed His wisdom to you.