Is it possible, is it necessary? Is it selfish or an opportunity to use the gifts God’s given us? Should we feel guilty taking time away from our families? What’s the best way to rejuvenate? These are the questions that I have asked myself as I have wrestled with my personal needs over the years. I may not have found a perfect balance, but I am content for now.

There is a school of thought, a fairly puritanical one, which would suggest me time is a selfish pursuit and one avoided until our families need us less. The opposing viewpoint is that mum’s need space away from their children, in order to recharge, and deserve some time out. I try to take a balanced view. Despite popular opinion, my views aren’t so conservative that I would banish womankind to a life of slavery to the kitchen sink and their husband’s will. I wholeheartedly believe that we are all created for a purpose and until we fulfil that we will forever feel unsatisfied and in need of ‘me time’.

I am immensely grateful that God has given me the opportunity to be be me, in every sense of the word. I was created to care, to love, to write, to communicate and to glorify God through my life. Fulfilling my created purpose takes away the need for me to escape my life in order to ‘find myself’. I believe one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children is the chance to discover who they are created to be. It is a gift to ourselves and our families when we are content in the knowledge that we are doing what God created us to do.

How does this all work out in reality? How do I find time to write and to devote time to seeking an ever deepening relationship with my Saviour? My priorities are God first, husband second, children third and then other people and activities. By putting these priorities in place I find things largely fall into place with less stress.

On waking I pray before I open my eyes. I give thanks and then bring our day before the Lord. I follow this with Bible reading which the children join in if they come into my room. I nourish my deeper relationship with God on a moment by moment basis. Much as Brother Lawrence, the seventeenth century monk found, as he worked in the kitchens, prayer is more than words, it is an inward turning of our thoughts to God. In every moment we have the choice, to go it alone or to go into that situation with the knowledge that God is with us. When we choose to take this attitude, everything changes, as we walk in His strength, not in our own.

The children’s needs are often obvious, as they are in front of my eyes, but Phil’s needs are easier to ignore, so I go out of my way to meet them, knowing he will rarely ask me for much. We try to catch moments together, a cup of tea in the sunshine, walking the dog up the drive, or cuddling on the sofa in the late evening. We also have ‘date night’ at least once a week. We chat and eat together and normally end up watching TV for an hour. It’s not easy, but if we don’t intentionally make the time, we can find that level of intimacy we once shared becomes less natural and our relationship could easily become one of simply meeting the family’s practical needs.

I meet the children’s needs firstly through quiet observation. Something I learned at Norland, where I trained to care for children, was to first observe, and I guess that has stuck with me. Through observation I work out where their needs lie and then in prayer, I work out how to meet them. By doing this I am able to focus my energy where it is most needed.

How though do I meet my own needs? Those needs which aren’t purely spiritual? It’s easy to forget to eat lunch or drink enough, rest enough, shower or even run to the loo when you are caring for everyone. Is this the example we want our children to learn though? By meeting our own needs we are ‘putting on our oxygen mask first’. It’s a lesson I’m still learning, but I couldn’t have mothered for 20 years without meeting my own physical needs. Practically speaking, I used to shower the night before, when the children were in bed and I would bulk cook meals at the weekend. I now find that I don’t need to do this, as I have older children as well, but this approach did get me through the first 10 years of motherhood. I now find my evenings are often busier, being a taxi service or chatting to the the older children, but during the day there are moments that I grab that were never there when I just had littles.

As the children have grown I have found it easier to find time to write or sew, not often, but enough to ‘scratch the itch’. There are of course seasons, after the new baby comes I suspect writing will be harder to do, but we’ll see. I find the older children play with the little ones and this buys me a few precious moments.

At this moment in time, it’s 3pm on a Sunday afternoon. Madeleine is making samosas and the sampling of these delights is engaging many little hands. Some of the other children are in the garden and so I’ve grabbed the moment to write this blog.

Mums with just littles, can I encourage you. Hold on, it does get easier. You won’t always have little ones crowding round you, expecting you to be their everything. The older children grow and enjoy helping out and thus giving you that much dreamed of 5 minutes peace.

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8 thoughts on “How to Find 5 minutes Peace with lots of Young Children

  1. Anna Collins says:

    Dear Vicki. You are such a beautiful, eloquent and straight from the heart writer. I love reading your blogs. Thank you xx

    • Vicki Goldby says:

      Anna, Thank you for your encouragement, it means a lot. It’s so lovely to think that my words can cross to the other side of the world and connect us a sisters in Christ. Many blessings, Vicki

  2. Jenny Cresswell says:

    I found this really helpful, thank you. It’s something that’s come up a number of times in the last week so I think God is trying to tell me something!!

    • Vicki Goldby says:

      Jenny, so lovely to hear from you. It’s good to know we can keep in touch through the blog. As you enter this incredibly busy season of moving I pray you will find your 5 minutes peace to rest and be with the Lord. Keeping you in my prayers, Vicki

  3. Shalom Vicki
    You write “I nourish my deeper relationship with God on a moment by moment basis. Much as Brother Lawrence, the seventeenth century monk, found as he worked in the kitchens, prayer is more than words, it is an inward turning of our thoughts to God. In every moment we have the choice, to go it alone or to go into that situation with the knowledge that God is with us. When we choose to take this attitude, everything changes, as we walk in His strength, not in our own.”

    The above is also a Quaker viewpoint prayer is more than words, it is an inward turning of our thoughts to God which we can do silently at any time, anywhere, everything we do is/should be for the glorification of God.

    Its helpful to think what would Jesus the Messiah (the first Christian) have done, & how would he have behaved when he was alive walking this earth, the more we can emulate Christ behaviour & thinking in all things in our own lives the closer we are to fulfilling God’s wishes for each us personally.

    Thank you for your gift of words Vicki, may they be a blessing to all that read them

    1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV
    16 Rejoice always,
    17 pray without ceasing,
    18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

  4. Vicki Goldby says:

    Jonathan, thank you for sharing those thoughts. The Quakers have certainly much to teach us about the benefits of silence. It is often in the silence that we ‘hear’ God’s voice, although thankfully be also meets us in the crazy moments. Praying you have a blessed week, Vicki

    • Vicki how lovely to hear from you. thank you for your prayers in this incredibly difficult period prayerfully dealing with dementia in faith

      James 5:15 NSV
      15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.

      Blessings to you & your family as we pray for you & the whole world, for all the peoples of this earth are one in Jesus Christ

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