I looked at Labor Day on our calendar with some dread. While holiday weekends used to be full of late nights around campfires and sleeping in until nearly noon, we rarely rest on our days off. Frankly, I rarely rest on any day, so it wasn’t a surprise when our initially empty day became incredibly, increasingly full.
Sure, we spent a few hours lounging around in our pajamas in the morning while Madi turned our kitchen and living room into an American Girl playroom. And maybe the only thing we did before lunch was eat breakfast and play at the park. But rest? There wasn’t much of that.
There were sunflower fields to explore and Kool-Aid to buy for a hair-dye experiment. There was quiet time to be had and swimming to enjoy, not to mention a cookout and campfire to wrap up the evening. I blame it on being a mama to a 4 year old who likes to be “on the go,” but if I’m honest? It’s me.
I need to fill up my hours and my days to feel accomplished. Motherhood with no agenda on three day weekends leaves entirely too much room for messes and meltdowns, so I came up with a lot of tiny ideas that turned into one big, busy day.
We did skip the swimming, though.
There are so many lessons I want to teach Madi, but until this weekend I didn’t realize that I wasn’t showing her how to rest. How to be bored and then come up with a creative idea to be entertained. How to enjoy the slow, easy pace of a plan free day. How to discover new places to play and dig out toys that hadn’t been touched in months. She doesn’t know how to rest and enjoy a day off because I haven’t taught her the value of a day spent making memories along with the mess.
This motherhood thing isn’t for wimps, you guys.
It’s not just the holidays we have filled to the brim, either. The idea of a Sabbath is foreign in our home because I don’t know how to differentiate laziness from rest. I have a lot left to learn – like why I’m afraid to take a break or really just stop and BE. Is it FOMO? Sometimes. But more often than not I wonder if I rest, if I truly take a break or a vacation or a holiday and life actually goes on without me, what will I do when I return? Will I still be needed?
And I realize in those moments that I’m still so very much a work in progress, a gal who takes responsibility so seriously (it’s a bit built into my DNA and proven by several trustworthy personality tests) that who I am is still solidly placed in what I do. Which means that on days when I choose to rest, or my seasons of restless catch up to me and force me to stop, I feel useless and lost.
So I realize that showing my daughter how to rest is about more than enjoying a good sleep-in-until-noon holiday. When I stop believing that my identity is in what I do and start to live like my identity is firmly designed by God, rest becomes a way to worship. It says “I am not the one in charge of making our world go around, and today I trust that God is fully in control.”
Maybe our next three day weekend will be just as packed full of tiny memory making moments. We do like to create experiences as a family (it’s also part of how God designed us). But in the meantime, during those delightfully ordinary Sunday afternoons or Saturday mornings, maybe we’ll start to rest. And maybe when my 4 year old is 34 she won’t be as much of a work in progress as her mama.