A Timeout for Mom
By Candee Fick
The whistle blows and the game begins.
Mornings at our house are as full of action as the football games my husband coaches. The moment I set foot out of my bedroom, I’m running nonstop. Get the kids up and dressed. Start a load of laundry. Make beds and lunches. Load backpacks. Brush hair. Get breakfast. Find lost glasses and gloves. Move the laundry to the dryer. Then, out the door for the bus and carpool.
And, that’s only the first quarter.
The game of life continues with my part-time job, errands, folding laundry, cleaning, supervising homework, fixing supper, doing dishes, driving to activities, choir practice, family time squeezed in somewhere, and finally off to bed.
Are you as tired as I am?
As the wife of a high school football coach, I watch a lot of games. I found an obvious similarity in the amount of action and conflict on the field and in my typical day. But, I noticed something on the football field that was absent in my life.
Football players have scheduled breaks in the action. At the end of the first and third quarters, there is a break as the officials move the chains and the teams switch ends of the field. At the end of the second quarter, the team leaves the field for a longer break. While the band plays and cheerleaders perform, the team rests.
At halftime, coaches meet and consult their playbook as they make adjustments to their strategy. Instructions are passed on to players and injuries are iced or taped. Players encourage each other and get a pep talk from their coach before the game resumes.
During halftime, we don’t see the football team continue to play. We don’t hear a player say, “I have too much to do, and there is too much at stake to stop now.” The break is scheduled and they take full advantage of it until stepping back into the heat of the battle during the second half.
Do I have regularly scheduled breaks – times to connect with my coach (the Holy Spirit) and my playbook (the Bible)? Do I take time to make adjustments when I see a play isn’t working as I had hoped? Do I talk to my teammates and get encouraged? Do I let my wounds from the week be cared for? Do I find rest and get refreshed?
The Creator not only took a day of rest for Himself (Gen. 2:2-3), he also scheduled times of rest for all of creation. He set aside the seventh day of the week for mankind and the work animals to rest (Ex. 20:8-11) and set aside the seventh year for the land to rest (Lev. 25:4-5). Knowing what His creation needed, God scheduled a day of rest. So take full advantage of the break instead of playing through.
Scheduled breaks are necessary and wonderful but they aren’t the only times the action stops during a football game. Referees stop the clock when there are injuries on the field or to measure forward progress against the chains. Coaches call timeouts to manage the clock, consult others before making a critical decision, or “ice” the opposing team’s kicker.
Coaches also call timeouts to break momentum. There are times in the game when a team on defense is getting pushed back, hit hard, and losing ground. A timeout gives the players a chance to catch their breath and get a drink of water. The coach can make adjustments, give instructions, and encourage his team. Players can encourage each other too. When the whistle blows and the game resumes, the team is better able to stand firm and hold ground.
There are times in my busy, crazy day where I feel I am getting beat up by life. For every step forward, I end up two steps back. An alarm clock didn’t go off. Fighting kids. Bad weather. A flat tire or a speeding ticket. A computer locked up. A call from a relative or friend with bad news. Then my special needs child flushes her glasses down the toilet.
It’s too early in the day to go to bed and start over tomorrow, but I can call a timeout. Taking a few moments away from the battle to read a verse, say a prayer, sing a song or call a friend, I get encouraged, discover wisdom, and gain a new perspective. A simple break and I am renewed to step back into the action.
I used to think the saying “a woman’s work is never done” meant that I never got to stop working. God used the game of football to open my eyes. By taking breaks, my burden is lifted and I discover I can be a better wife, mother, friend, and employee.
So, when the action is overwhelming, blow the whistle and take a timeout – for Mom.
More marriage and parenting articles
Candee Fick is the mother of three children, including one with special needs. She is the author of Pigskin Parables: Reflections of a Football Widow (Tate Publishing, 2007), which explores more life lessons from the game of football. She and her husband Clint are CBN partners and make their home in Loveland, Colorado.
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