Resting can bring turmoil for women that don't know how to do it. It can feel forced or like a waste of time. But that's not my story.
I was born with a tendency to be playful and rest. I was pretty great at managing my own time and rhythms of rest when I was single. The tricky part came when I added another human into the equation (my husband) and then when we had two kids.
Then I became divided.
I kept catching myself wishing I'd never had kids or never started a family. I had lost vision of who I was and what I was doing. I felt like a workhorse for a job I didn’t know I signed up for.
So I left.
I packed my bags, left my kids with dad, set off to a friend’s cabin in the mountains and asked some really tough questions. Don't worry, we'd planned this hiatus.
That week was an interesting mixture of disconnecting and focusing. I gained perspective on how to choose playfulness when there is a lot to do, to be less "productive," and making room for the dreams Philip and I had for our family.
How we rest After what I call my Motherhood Retreat, a lot changed for our family. We made our living spaces more comfy to cultivate the urge to linger instead of move on. The biggest change is we started a version of the Jewish tradition of a sabbath day. We aren’t Jewish, but I loved the idea of taking a 24 hour rest period each week.
Our only rule is: No productive work.
The vagueness helps us not become legalistic. Some days I might enjoy a restful, slow dish washing and other days I'll skip it. It challenges us to stay connected and aware of our inner motivations.
Kicking it off with a special dinner on Sunday night, we play and rest all day Monday. The kids are involved in the resting, but also in the preparations for the day: deep cleaning the house on Sundays, setting tables, engaging in conversation, helping pick how we’re going to play/rest on Mondays.
Kids are good at playing and resting. In many ways we’re all teaching one other. They teach me how to let go and say yes to less than perfect, and I’m helping teach them that if you don’t clean your room for 3 weeks then you can find weird things in there!
Our 24 period or rest looks like this:
Sunday: We pick up and do a general deep clean of the house
Sunday evening: We kick off our Shabbat, by lighting candles, giving each other a blessing, taking communion and then digging in to a good meal and good conversation. The rule is the kids can stay up as long as they want as long as their engaged with us.
Monday: We wear pjs all day, reading tons of books with the kids, adults take turns napping and my husband and I try to sneak in some afternoon delight. If we aren’t at home, we try to pick an out-of-the-house adventure like a day at the science museum, driving an hour to spend time at our favorite coffee shop, or bike rides around town.
Monday night: Our 24 hours block of rest ends at dinner time on Monday and we jump back in to life: family budgets, kids’ schedules, chores, and meal plans. But we know we always have a mini vacation waiting for us in a week.
One of our family sayings is “We aren’t afraid of messes cause we can clean them up.” We use that for hurt feelings, spilled milk, and the general mess hat comes with raising active and playful kids.
Yes, the house is not pristine when we’re finished, but because we do a once-a-week deep clean before it starts, the house doesn’t feel like a disaster zone after our rest day. My kids are getting older (6 & 3), they help pick up, too. It’s part of being in our family. And it’s not worse than any other day, really.
Why we rest
When I’m rested, I’m more creative. When I’m more creative I feel more like myself. I remember going on family vacations as a kid and on the way home I would usually write a song or write some poetry and it would just... be there. It would come easily when I was rested.
I don’t want to be controlled by what is normal or what is culturally expected. When we prioritize rest, we have to get creative and sometimes weird with our schedules and I love the freedom that’s given us. Our sabbath day is a lifeline. Observing Sabbath has affected the way we live the rest of our week.
We honor God by resting. Period.
Resting was God's idea. If you look in the Old Testament, there are a lot of commands like 'have a party for this!' And 'have a festival for this' and 'oh yes, have a seven day party for this, too' He loves stories and remembering.
There’s plenty of work to do. There will be work till we die, let’s not forget to play.
Becky Rice is an Oklahoma based entrepreneur and professional wanderer. She aches for the uncommon and the exciting, she surrounds herself with people she loves, and she never hesitates to jump headlong into grand life experience. She is the founder and operator of KET, a photography and videography company, committed to empowering women toward honesty, beauty, and bravery. Whether at home, abroad, behind the camera, or over a cup of coffee, her joy is to draw people into deeper journey with self and with God.