Not that I would want a three month break from being a mom. That is not what I am saying. I love Zella and enjoy spending quality time with her. Three months would be too long to go without morning hugs, tickles and silly giggles, beautifully illustrated picture books, shared fruit eating sessions, conversations about shovels and school busses, and making sand mountains at Teddy Bear Park.
This weekend was the first full weekend of my sabbatical, which means that I had three full days with Zella without the interruption of work. I did notice that by Saturday night, I was more exhausted than usual. I think it was the cumulative effect of just a few more twisty-turny diaper change wrestling matches, car seat in-and-out battles, drawn-out bedtimes and “Mom, I need you!” exclamations that did it.
I’ve come to realize that being a mom, in my limited two years of experience, requires a deeper well of patience and compassion than anything I’ve ever before needed. I think I have a fairly deep well to draw on, but when the well dries up during a particularly trying situation or at the end of a long day, it is hard to be the kind of mom that I want to be. I don’t want to be crabby, frustrated, and short with Zella. I don’t want to yell and scream and stomp off, even if that is what I feel like doing in certain moments.
I know I am not a perfect mom. No one is. Being perfect isn’t even the goal. But I do know that cultivating my spiritual life with intention helps me refill the well of patience and compassion so that I can be a loving mom on most days, even during my sabbatical.