Just Breathe: The One Practice You Need in a Time of Uncertainty

I was sitting by our back porch door, trying to have a grown-up conversation with my husband: 

“I just . . .”

“Mom! Can I have some orange juice?!” 

“Just a minute,” I said to my son. I tried starting the sentence again. “I’m just wondering . . .” 

“Mom! May I have some water, please?” my oldest daughter chimed in. 

“Yes. Wait just a moment.” I said, flatly.

A third try. “I just wonder if there’s a different way . . .”


I didn’t care who it was this time. My throat tightened and I could feel frustration rising in me. This was my new reality as a parent, trying to squeeze everything in. This was me attempting to have an impromptu conversation with my husband, while also being attentive to my three children, while also finding time to do dishes and laundry and feed the humans under my roof. Somewhere in there, work needed to happen. I was grateful to still have a job, and yet was finding diminishing capacity – both physically and emotionally – to do it. Our kids were needing more of me as the weeks passed, not less. Without their daily rhythms of school and social activities, and without their friends as a source of joy and connection, my husband and I were the only humans that could comfort them and hug them and give them opportunities for play and rest.

You know what I didn’t just mention? Self-care. All the permission I’d received and given myself to put my own “oxygen mask”? Non-existent. Yes, a nap would be nice. Of course I’d like to work out every day at the same time like I used to. Obviously I’d like an uninterrupted shower and time to be with my friends and start a new hobby.

Ashlee Eiland
Ashlee Eilandhttps://www.ashleeeiland.com/
Ashlee Eiland, the author of Human(Kind): How Reclaiming Human Worth and Embracing Radical Kindness Will Bring Us Back Together (WaterBrook, 4/8/20), serves as the formation and preaching pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She shares God’s message of redemption and reconciliation at conferences, colleges, and events around the country. She began her professional career working for Nestlé USA and left corporate America to pursue full-time vocational ministry. Ashlee earned a BA in international relations from the University of Southern California and completed her master’s in organizational leadership at Judson University. Ashlee and her husband, Delwin, have three children and live in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For more information, visit her AshleeEiland.com and @ashlee_eiland.

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