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Is It OK To Want (Or Need) Breaks From Your Children?

Last Friday I was in a funk. I was moody, tired, depressed & craving alone time. I wasn’t angry with anyone or anything in particular, I just felt very negative for no apparent reason. I knew that I needed some time to clear my head & heart, to get myself back to my normal happy self.
Although I knew that a break was what I needed, I felt awkward telling hubs that I needed some time that evening away from him & little man – as if I was somehow saying I didn’t want to be their wife & mother.Why do those thoughts enter our heads? Where do they come from?
In our culture it has become very normal to wrap up every bit of our lives in our children. As if we, as women, didn’t exist before becoming moms. I personally think this is something we need to learn from a few other places & times in history – your children shouldn’t be the only thing your life revolves around (some would even argue they shouldn’t be the most important – I’m one of those people.) I need to put myself first, my husband second & my child third… but even within our house we differ on our feelings here. Hubs thinks children & spouse should be equal, for example.
I know that I may ruffle some feathers with this post, but I think it’s worth it. I think moms (& dads) need to know that it’s OK to want (or need) time away from your children for their own sanity! There’s nothing wrong with taking care of your needs as a human being, before trying to meet the needs of other human beings, as long as your children aren’t being neglected because of it.
Not only do parenting breaks help me keep my sanity & positive outlook, but they also help my family in unexpected ways. My son is learning how to entertain himself for a period of time, which makes cooking dinner or calling a family member so much easier. Hubs & little man get some quality ‘boy time’ together that they wouldn’t have if I were in the room. I accomplish goals that usually feel “frivolous” – like reading a fiction story – even though I know it’s good for my brain to take a break. But here’s the best part… coming back from a break, I feel energized & more patient than I was able to be before. This leads to a happier & healthier relationship with my son & husband. That’s what I call a win-win.
So how does a person take a break? Well that’s different for every person & life stage. When I was exclusively breast feeding my son as a baby, a break was getting to take a real shower (like the shaving my legs variety) without interruption while hubs sat with him. But now that my son is almost three I can enjoy longer periods of time on break. Friday night for example, I headed upstairs as soon as hubs got home from work and could take over – besides saying goodnight to little man my entire evening was spent alone – and it was fantastic! πŸ™‚
My style of parenting breaks work well because I have the support of a wonderful husband that parents as my team mate. For those of you that don’t have a second parent in the picture to depend on, taking breaks can be more difficult, but it’s not impossible. Consider trading babysitting with a friend – you can each take turns watching one another’s children in exchange for a night off the next time. If your budget will allow, hire a local teenager to come keep your kids entertained while you nap or relax upstairs. Where there’s a want, you’ll find a way!
So how about it ladies? Why do you take parenting breaks? How do you make them work for your family? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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