Do you ever feel tired of being a mom, and wish you could just “check out” and have a break?
Do you feel guilty feeling that you want some alone time, away from your kids, without responsibilities?
Let’s face it, “Momming” is a demanding job. It’s 24/7/365. There are no weekends. No public holidays.
Even when your husband takes over for a bit, your mind is still engaged with your kids.
You may be in another room, but you’re still wondering, why is he allowing them to make so much noise? or why isn’t he getting them their juice now? They should go outside for a bit before nap time…
And so it goes!
Before we look at how you can take a break, let’s get one thing straight: that feeling you have of needing a break is okay. It’s normal. It doesn’t make you a bad mother. It makes you a real one.
You want and need a break because you are on duty non-stop. It’s normal to want a break!
With that out the way, let’s take a look at how you can take a break from your kids without actually getting away.
Never underestimate the power of prayer to revive you and renew your flagging energy.
Take 5 minutes and mentally remove yourself from your situation and pray. If you can go into the next room, great. If not, pray right where you are. It’ll help you catch your breath and refocus instead of going into overdrive.
There is no limit to how often or where you can pray. Pray when you’re using the bathroom, while cooking, or folding laundry.
Music always had a calming effect on my kids, and while they were distracted I had a chance to regroup.
Use different types of music for different purposes:
If your children are squabbling, put on some happy music and get them to jump around and sing. (Helps to get rid of excess energy which is often the cause of squabbles.)
When your kids are boisterous and noisy and you just need some peace, play calming music.
Music is great for education or distraction. One of my kids’ favourites was The Poet and the Peasant (overture by Franz von Suppe). I made them pay attention and see if they could tell when the music was portraying the poet and when it was portraying the peasant. Get them to picture the peasant dancing around his fire, and the poet contemplating life. Better yet, get them to draw a picture.
I digress. This is not a homeschooling post. 🙂
Lie down on the couch and close your eyes while your kids play on the floor. Give them something quiet to do like colouring or a new toy to play with.
You could lie on the floor and let your kids play Doctor and bandage your “broken” arm or leg, check your temperature, etc. (Hey, you have to get creative if you want a break!)
You might be thinking, how am I ever going to do that? There’s just no time!
Nap when your kids nap. Forget about the chores and the endless to-do list. A cheerful mommy is more important than an immaculate house.
If your kids don’t nap anymore, then institute a “quiet time” where everyone has to be on their own, doing something quiet. And then you take a power nap on the floor. (I learned to do this for 10 or 15 minutes – and saved my sanity.)
Even if it’s the bathroom… and yes, why is it that whenever Mom goes to the bathroom and closes the door, the kids line up outside and suddenly need you desperately?!
Be firm and don’t let them in!
But seriously, going into another room and leaving the door open allows you to be slightly removed from the intensity of “momming” for a few moments, while still keeping an eye (ear) on things.
Go outside! Nature is calming – for both you and your kids. I call it nature therapy. Take your kids for a walk, sit outside in the sun, send them to find you a flower, a leaf, and a stone (or whatever!).
I often made my kids go outside to separate spots for 10 minutes. When they came back in they had to tell me what they heard, what they saw, what they smelled, and what they felt.
It was a break for me and a lesson in observation skills for them. (There’s that education thing sneaking in again…)
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness or failure. It’s wise to acknowledge you are not coping and need support.
It may be Granma, a friend, or your husband, but if you are feeling overwhelmed, get someone to help you out, even for just an hour.
Whether that’s time alone to read a book, go for a walk, or do something you love, try and arrange a time for you to do something for yourself. Do something other than parenting that stimulates you as a person and keeps your brain alive.
If you can’t do this every day, then aim for once a week.
You may feel like this phase of your life is never going to end, but it will. Remind yourself of that! One day, your kids will not need you as much and you will be free to pursue other interests.
And you’ll long for these wild, busy, marvellous days, when you barely had time to go to the bathroom or cut your toe nails.
Do you find it hard to take a break from your kids? How do you do it? Do you feel bad wishing for a break?