Updated: Feb 16
Don't you wish to have that “man cave” like your partner or spouse. Don't you crave relaxation? To be able to put up your feet and enjoy the company of a friend or two over a glass of wine, tea or however your inclinations may lie but it doesn’t seem to happen as you want it to. Instead while your partner or spouse is relaxing, you are busy trying to get the kids to settle down, dinner made, homework done, baths completed and you still have to do that homework assignment for your own schooling or work. Oh! and please let us not forget you might even have to pump milk for the little one. Moms, I get it, I empathize with you. Let me tell you about my journey and how I decided to create a space for healing, prayer and self-care.
My Personal Experience
I just completed my first year of grad school and my daughters were still young: two and half and four to be precise. It was super tough because I was required to take five classes, perform fieldwork once a week, and I had a long commute. Then I was working part time as a library clerk and then teaching dance on the weekend. Oh yeah, I was also involved in dance ministry at my church. To top it off we only had one car to drive around in. It was such a busy year and I was completely exhausted on the weekends. I had to bring my daughters with me to my dance classes while my husband caught extra hours at work. When I came home at the end of each day, that was it for me. I just wanted a quiet place to rest my head. When my husband came home he was able to put his feet up, play a video game and just relax while I worked to complete homework assignments that were due very soon.
I became so jealous that he could just kick back and relax. There were times he was able to bring friends over and hang out in his “man cave” while I was stuck still doing school work or stuck at work. Don't get me wrong, my husband contributed a lot and he worked as many hours as I did. The only difference was he made space to take care of himself. I told myself that it was a waste of time, there was so much to do but then I crashed. I got burned out and I ended up in the hospital from exhaustion and dehydration. During this time in my life God told me to slow down and rest, but of course I didn't listen. I was so used to the busy lifestyle, that I needed to keep going.
Since I was out of work and out of school, I still had mommy duties and my husband still found time to go into his man crave and enjoy his alone time. While I was still finding things for myself to do. I know you are wondering why I didn't learn my lesson. Why didn't I ask my husband for help? To answer that question, I thought that was what women did. Women don't get to have self-care and alone time. Growing up, all the women in my home worked and worked. There was no such thing self-care or alone time. But when I saw my husband emerge from his room he looked so peaceful, so calm and rejuvenated. Then I thought about that term “man cave” , the place where boys or men go to hang out, watch sports, play video games, and drink with no wives, no kids or work. Wow, why can I not have the same thing? When I realized this God gave me a simple scripture:
“But when you pray, go into your [most] private room, and, closing the door, pray to your Father, Who is in secret; and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open” Matthew 6:6 AMPC
At that time I was really not spending a lot of time in prayer. My prayer life was very short, because I was so busy and I didn't have any real alone time. I needed a space to call my own. So I spoke up and told my husband I was creating a space for myself. We went to work and moved some things around.
Why is it important for us mom to take care of ourselves ?
As mothers, God has created us to be nurturers. We naturally have love for others and feel this need to make them feel good as well. Whether it is for family and friends or passion and dreams. The bible says:
“So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.' Genesis 2:20-25
The calling on our lives is to be helpers. As helpers we constantly put our loved ones and others before ourselves. The bible tells us that we must have selfless and sacrificial hearts. To love your neighbor because God first loved us. This is very true and I believe that this is key to be more Christ-like. Yet it does get tiring and weary sometimes and we experience burnouts from the multiple roles we play. The bible also says in Exodus 33:14 “The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”. One of God’s commands is to rest. We need to restore and have a secret place to take care of ourselves as well. What is so amazing about God is that he provides all our needs. Having some alone time gets us back in our role of helper. It actually makes us stronger when the difficult things or circumstances come our way. It makes us more aware and keeps us trusting in God for everything.
Here are 7 tips on creating a space
When I created my place I wanted it to be a space where I could do all the things I love such as dance, yoga, prayer time and a place where I can invite my girlfriends. Here are my top tips that got me started
1. Claim a room/ or area.
Find a spot or a room that you can call yours. It doesn't have to actually be a room, it can be anything like a corner (but make sure that particular area is off limits to everyone else and that you are not invading anyone else time)
2. Pray over your room or area.
Pray over your room or area that you choose. Ask God to cover, bless and protect this and allow this particular space to be used for time for you and Him only. This is a place where you can rejuvenate and find rest. When I created my area, my den was calling me. I realized that we just use it as storage and I envisioned a place for me to dance and to express myself, to have daily meditation and space to really get into prayer.
3. Decor : be frugal, use what you have.
When designing your space, gather things that are meaningful for you. These can be pictures, pillows, chairs, mirrors, certain books or a journal. Also you can use things that have been left in your home that you've never used. It might be useful for your space. I went through my old things and found my vision boards. I hung all the vision boards up on the wall. I realize having my vision board on the wall helped me to be more intentional about things in my life. Another thing is dim lighting, dim lighting helps to have a calm, relaxed mindset. This is good for prayer and meditations or even naps.
4. Create rules and stick to them
This is so important. You need to be confident, assertive and communicate your rules. These rules are important so that you will not be interrupted or distracted whatsoever. Some rules are that once mommy is in her room or area you have to wait. No one is allowed to enter at any time unless for an extreme emergency. You set the rules and you enforced the rules. You can add penalties. For example, if I am ever interrupted, I add more time the next time you come into my space.
5. Create the time
Whatever time works best for you. We moms have tight and varying schedules. For me, I typically wake up at 5:30am everyday. 5:30am -7:30am is my time! I do this so I can prepare my day and have a clear mind frame. My kids wake up at 7 and I can hear their little feet running around looking for me. However they know not to come down stairs at any time until after 7:30 ( and not a minute before).
6. Be diligent and consistent.
You need to be consistent, because your well-being is your first priority. Your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health is important. When I made the conscious effort to do this in the morning I felt such a difference. I also felt like my relationship with God has grown so much more. I felt spiritually mature from the way I saw things then. I have a more godly perspective now. So be diligent and consistent and it will pay off.
7. Things to do in your space.
Do the things that you love that you never get the time or energy to do. Such as reading your bible, pray, meditation, dancing, singing, drawing or journal writing. Hey, why not sleep as well. Whatever it is, do what makes you happy. With that said. I think it's also important that you make sure you take the time to give God your full attention and then do things that you love.
When I finally settled down in my space and I was taking the time out to be in my own space, God put it on my heart that every woman needs this. The more time I spend in my space, the more my space has become a healing process for me. My relationship with God has grown, especially in prayer. God was really working on my life and it was then that God gave me the creative idea to use all my talents and skills to form a Godly business for moms called HealinSpace.com. It helps moms to create a space to heal, restore and rejuvenate while utilizing all the art forms and encounter intimacy with God. I am truly blessed by this calling and responsibility. I hope these steps will guide you into creating the desired space that you deserve and bring you more intimacy with God.
God Bless- Khadijah