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Monday, February 6, 2023

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Break Stations

break stationsMotherhood is a marathon; not a sprint, 100-yard dash or baton relay. A mother is a mother for life—even after life, we are remembered as mothers, grandmothers, etc. It is a profession void of retirement. At times those are the most cherished words and at other times they ring of exhaustion and impossibilities. Take heart – the rewards outweigh the burdens. Be a smart marathon runner.

Every marathon runner finds a pace. They don’t run full speed all the time or they would never make it to the finish line. Mothers, too, need an acceptable pace – expending energies at reasonable rates. Just as every runner is different, so is every mother. Pick the pace that suits your physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual health. Your household will follow your lead. This conserves and stores energy for the hills ahead. Every runner knows the path is not flat.

“If you have children, the demands made upon you during the first hour of the morning can make the job of an air traffic controller seem like a walk in the park.” ~ J. Wurtman

Every marathon has break stations to nourish and hydrate runners. Experienced runners take every opportunity to replenish. They know if they deplete themselves, their race is over, collapse and illness ahead. Moms cannot function well without doing the same: refueling and periods of rest are vital. This not only happens at the dinner table and nighttime sleep. Moms need a few “catch your breath” breaks during the course of a day.

For some, it may be reading emails. For others, a cup of coffee/tea. Still others may need to circle the block with the stroller, even if the infant isn’t happy. Some may just need five minutes on the porch for fresh air and fresh perspective. It is okay to sit down and breathe a bit, as long as children are safe. Every mom needs moments of interlude sprinkled into life.

A teacher friend of mine, who left the public profession once she entered motherhood, learned to find moments of respite as a homeschooling mom of three. She is teacher to three different grade levels, all day, every day. She discovered a need for some refueling escapes. So, on occasion, she asks her husband, who works in town, to slip home and take on lunch duty. For a few moments of numbing silence, she drives her car to the WaWa next to her neighborhood. Her husband’s time being limited, she orders a sandwich and eats it in the car—all by herself. She says it is just what she needs some days. She feels refreshed and ready to tackle what’s ahead.

“There is no way to be a perfect Mom, and a million ways to be a good one.” – Jill Churchill

She has learned a vital lesson: I am a better mother if I take advantage of break stations. The pounding pavement of activity/endless demands of motherhood requires a pause. If we do not revitalize our energy and spirit, motherhood will seem overwhelming and utterly impossible. When in actuality, success was waiting in a “bottle of water” or “a drive to WaWa.”

Elaine Stone, mother of three, lives in Spotsylvania County.

Break Station Ideas

1. Read a blog
2. Call a friend
3. Sit on the deck/porch
4. Take some long deep breaths
5. Cup of coffee/tea
6. Listen to music
7. Read something inspirational
8. Sing out loud (read this: http://bit.ly/sing-out-loud)
9. Thumb through old photos
10. Have some chocolate
11. Light a candle
12. Watch the clouds
13. Color with crayons
14. Just dance
15. Give thanks

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