The Importance of Taking a Break as a Mother
As moms, we do it all. Whether you work or stay at home, being a mother is full-on. You don’t get to “clock out” at the end of the day. Your little one doesn’t feel well? Looks like you’ll be up all night. Had a tough day at work? You’ll have to think about that later as you get dinner prepared for your children. While magical, being a mother can be exhausting - especially if you don’t take the time to look after your own needs. But why do so many of us feel guilty when we think about taking a break? Is there an underlying worry that asking for a break looks like a sign of weakness or will tell the world we can’t cope? Taking a break as a mother is not only necessary every once in a while, but it benefits the whole family, too. If you’re a mom in need of a break, keep reading on to find out why breaks are so important not only for your well-being but your family’s too.
Taking a Break Can Refresh You
Lots of moms feel guilty about the idea of spending time away from their children. Every mom wants to be great, and the idea of spending time away from their little ones can be scary and make them feel like a bad parent. They’re worried about what people will say and hate the idea of looking like someone who can’t cope. While these are all valid feelings, it’s important to understand that taking a break doesn’t make you a bad mother. It makes you a great mother!
Being a parent can be overwhelming. Sometimes you need an afternoon, evening or weekend by yourself to re-set. If you’ve found yourself getting particularly stressed out lately or snapping at your partner or children, it’s time to think about a break. You’ve clearly got a lot going on and could hugely benefit from peace and quiet. And here’s the best-kept secret of all. No one worth having around in your life will judge you for it! And if they do, remember that these kinds of people aren’t worth your time.
Taking a break can be refreshing and give you a new perspective on life. Once you’ve had time to yourself, chances are you’ll return to your family well-rested and ready to take on the chaos with a new, refreshed mindset. Maybe you used to watch the clock before bed desperate for some time to yourself. After taking a break, you may find that you instead take advantage of this special evening time with your family and get in on the fun instead of stressing out about housework or when you’ll get a free moment to yourself. Taking a break may help you become the mother you always dreamed of being.
How to Take a Break
Lots of women struggle with their sense of identity after becoming mothers. Their lives revolve around their children and they forget what makes them unique as an individual. Taking a break to do things you love is great for remembering who you are. It leads to a more fulfilled life and shows your children that mom has hobbies, interests and desires, too! After all, doesn’t every mom want these things for their children? Why should you neglect what makes your heart sing? Especially when it contributes to your happiness!
While this all sounds great in theory, scheduling breaks can be difficult. Whether you don’t have childcare options or are worried your children will be upset, taking a break can be much harder than you anticipated. If you struggle to take time for yourself, take a look at the following suggestions for getting much needed “me-time”
Start Small: If you’ve never left your children before, the idea of leaving them for a whole day or evening can be really overwhelming. Why not start small with short, brief absences? Maybe leave your children with your partner while you go for an hour's walk by yourself? Use the time to listen to music, catch up on a beloved podcast or simply just - walk. Take in all the sights around you and do your best to enjoy this precious time to yourself.
Let Go: Lots of moms worry about their strict routines not being followed if they decide to take a break. While this can be scary, give yourself the gift of not sweating the small stuff. Maybe your partner gives your children more screen time than you would like. Or the kids stay up a bit past their bedtime. In reality, small short-changes to your family’s routine won’t damage your children or jeopardize their schedule. While it can be tempting to be in control 24/7, give yourself the gift of letting go for an afternoon.
Find Trusted Friends with Children the Same Age: If you don’t have easy child care options, do your best to befriend local moms with children the same ages as yours. Take advantage of playdates! Knowing that your children are with a trusted friend who is also a parent will put your mind at ease knowing that they’re safe and being looked after. Even better, you both will get to reap the benefits of playdates as you take turns hosting them!
You Got This, Mama!
Taking a break as a mother is not selfish. Taking breaks makes mothers happier, more refreshed, and can have huge benefits for both moms and their families. The idea of never taking a break can be thought of as heroic but it’s actually the opposite. Taking a break shows that you value your well-being as well as your family’s. So don’t feel bad, mama. Take the afternoon or evening off and enjoy the time to yourself. You’ll wish you had done it, sooner!