I remember when I first became a mom – I loved every minute of it and could not relate to moms who said they needed a break. Yes, I was breastfeeding and barely getting any sleep because my baby would nurse a lot at night but I didn’t feel that I needed a break.
When I was tired I would take a nap with her and we would both recharge. It was tiring to be a stay-at-home mom but I never felt like I needed in break.
Then I had my second child and things got harder but I still felt like I wanted to be with my kids 24/7 and didn’t really need a break from them.
My girls are now 5 and 2.5 years old. They’re pretty independent in some ways but still need me for a lot of things, especially my youngest. And after 5 years of rarely taking any breaks I have finally come to a point where I realize I do need a break.
My husband works long hours so it’s mostly me and the girls. While I don’t feel like I need a break from them daily I recently started taking off a few hours to myself and I feel like a new person.
I think all of us reach this point eventually, some sooner and others later. I have come to understand what it really means to take care of ourselves to be better parents. In fact, taking a little break it’s not only good for us, mothers, but it’s also great for our kids. They learn to trust other adults, they learn to lean on them and then when we come home we get greeted with the biggest hugs and smiles.
I only wish I would have figure out sooner how badly I needed a few hours to myself every week to recharge. Those few hours give me so much energy to keep on going, to keep on running, to keep on playing on the floor, they help me be more creative with my kids and they help me have a lot more patience.
What does it mean to take a break as a parent?
Taking a break doesn’t mean you don’t like your kids, or that you can’t stand them. Taking a break just means you need some time to recharge your own energy bucket so you have more energy and love to give to your kids and those close to you.
Taking a break means you get a few hours to yourself to do whatever you want. For me, that means to write a whole blog post without being interrupted 50 thousand times, to meet a friend I haven’t seen in a while or to have an entire coffee before it gets cold.
However, a few months ago I had no idea what it meant to me and if you told me to take a break I would have had no idea what to do. But you know what? That’s okay because as mom, sometimes we just need a break to do nothing.
The scary part is that sometimes we’re so caught up in everything we’re doing that we don’t even realize we need a break.
Signs you really need a break
If you find yourself doing many of these things, you really need to take a break and recharge:
- Losing your temper easily
- Not having patience with your kids
- Checking your phone too much when you’re with your kids
- Getting sick often
- Trying to tune out throughout the day
- Feeling stressed out over everything in your life
- You feel tired but you can’t sleep
- You can’t remember your phone number or zip code sometimes
- You start looking for things and often forget what it is you’re looking for
- You can’t remember when was the last time you went out with a friend or your spouse
- You’re constantly busy but feel like you’re not getting anything done
It’s normal for us moms to find ourselves doing these things, but when you find yourself doing them quite frequently, just realize you need some time to recharge, to puts your thoughts in order and to do something that makes your heart happy – besides hugs from your kiddos.
Mamas, please ask your spouse for a break
Maybe you’re feeling like you don’t need a break but I urge you to ask your spouse to watch the kids for a little bit so you can sit around and do nothing, even if it’s just for an hour.
If you’re a single mom maybe you can ask a close friend or family member to watch your kids so you can have some time to yourself.
Not having to constantly worry about your little human beings is recharging in itself. Add to that an activity you enjoy and you will feel like a whole new person ready to tackle the world. The thing is, us moms, don’t even need huge breaks. Little bits here and there do wonders!
The best part of taking a break is that I miss my kids so much that when I get back we have the most amazing time and I feel ready to tackle the week with fun activities. I also feel energized and I’m able to focus better on this blog, which is my third baby.
Another perk of taking a break, especially if you’re a stay-at-home mom, is that your spouse will realize how draining it can be to take care of the house and the kids all day and she/he will learn to appreciate you more.
Don’t feel bad for needing a break because there’s nothing wrong with it. If anything, you should feel bad for NOT getting a break. But please keep in mind that if you have a baby and you feel like you absolutely cannot get away, then respect that too. I could have never just taken a break when my kids were babies because it’s just not who I am. However, I have plenty of friends that did take breaks when their kids were babies and that’s fine too.
It’s important to learn to listen to yourself, to your intuition and to listen to your body. As moms we do so much, watch our kids, take care of the house, cook a gazillion meals, work, run errands, and the list goes on and on. It is important to learn to recognize when we need to recharge ourselves.
I urge you to please do something that will make you happy (besides taking care of your little ones) and that will fill your own bucket. And if you don’t know what that is yet, then do nothing and just enjoy being with yourself. It is so easy to get consumed by being a mom that sometimes we forget who we are.
In order for our kids to thrive they need to see us happy, energetic, they need a mom who can pay attention to them and they need a lot of patience from us. I waited too long to have a break because I just didn’t think I need it, but now that I’ve been able to have several breaks, I can see what a big difference they make when it comes to parenting my kids.
So, ask for a break, take a few hours off and see how you feel!