An ode in the time of COVID-19 to the mom who cries, “Help! I need a break from my kids!” If you find yourself saying this several times a day, it’s ok. Here is how to escape and recharge in a way that works for you.
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Did anyone predict this?
Who would have said 15 years ago when we were pregnant with our beautiful cherry blossoms that we would one day have to spend every waking and sleeping hour with our children for 24 hours a day, seven days a week for weeks on end in order to keep their lives safe and ours?
Let me ask you, would you have knocked boots with your baby’s daddy if you knew this would one day be on the horizon? My guess is you would have turned over that night if you knew then what you know now. HAHA!
But alas, here we are. Now just know, added to the above scenario, I have a 3-1/2-year-old son trapped in these conditions with us as well, and he is NONE too happy about it. And I must say, most of the time, neither am I. So when I say I need a break from my kids, I am not exaggerating one bit. It is the understatement of the year.
But I am sure I am not alone in my feelings. In fact, I bet every mother in the town, state, country, dare I say the world, is sharing in my feeling right about now.
But the truth is, you don’t need to be living through a pandemic to feel this way about needing some personal time to yourself every once in a while.
Every Mom needs a break
Look, every mom needs a break from her kids on a regular basis. Whether it is the working mom, the single mom, or the SAHM mom, all parents need a break once in a while. How to know when its time for a break from your kids?
Signs you need a break from your children
- You are starting to snap at them for things that would usually make you laugh. In other words, their shenanigans are no longer funny to you.
- You find yourself taking a lot of extra breaths.
- You are cursing at your kids under those extra breaths.
- You actively do not want to see or be around your kids.
- When they come into the room, you audibly moan.
- You really do begin to wonder if you would have rolled over on that “fateful night” oh so long ago.
- You find yourself fighting loudly with your kids on a regular basis.
- You end up saying some horrible things you immediately regret.
- You feel sad, listless, depressed.
- You find yourself stressed out with dangerous blood pressure levels more and more.
- You feel short-tempered
- You feel dangerous – immediately go take a break! Like now!
- You start to seek alternative forms of relief from your present reality.
If you find yourself experiencing a number of these warning signs on any given day, it’s time.
So what do you do?
I need a break from my kids! NOW!
Do not delay. When you are on the brink and are feeling dangerous to yourself, to your kids – stop, drop, and GO! Make sure the kids are with someone safe and walk out the door.
Even if it just to take a few, deep, cleansing breaths. For one minute or five minutes. Just step away and don’t do anything rash while you are out. Then when you are calm, you can go back to your family, rested, restored, and ready. You will be happier to see them and they will be be more appreciative of you too.
When the feeling is not as severe, then make a plan to take a break as soon as you can. So when you do have an opportunity to escape, where do you go?
Where do you go when you can (or are allowed to) go out?
- for a walk or a run
- on coffee break
- go for a drive, in the car, with the music pumped up (or none at all), on a scenic trip, or just around the neighborhood. Just give yourself a change of scenery.
- to the “store” for essentials or to run errands
- to the mall for window shopping
- to tea with a friend
- to the gym to work out the stress
- worship and prayer to exercise gratefulness
- on a “date night” with the girls
- to the library or a bookstore to get lost in magazines and books
- do something that you love that is just for you – participate in your favorite hobby
- for a day, weekend or week away (this will do wonders)
Where to go when you can’t leave but still need to get away to save the kids from your wrath!
- to the car and sit there in your driveway or garage
- to your room and lock the door
- to the backyard
- to the front porch
- to the basement
- into the bathtub for a soak
- you get the point here, step out of the environment that is making your head explode and sit and breathe and regroup.
- to stream a movie or binge in your favorite show
What do you do to help you calm down?
- do stretches or yoga to help you settle
- read a book
- do a puzzle
- work on a craft or hobby project
- soak in a warm bath
- listen to music
- breathe, meditate, and pray
- write in your journal
- get lost in another world via an audiobook, show, podcast or movie
I need a break from my husband and child.
Sometimes a date night with your husband is just what you need to refresh and get some child-free time. But let’s face it, sometimes we need to get away from our spouses too. And that is okay. Personal time alone is allowed. Even personal time away from both your spouse and children.
Depending on your personality style, you may refresh the best with some alone time, like a retreat. Or you may find your extroverted nature is restored with a girlfriend’s or sister’s weekend away.
Allow yourself permission to take a day or two for that rest and relaxation. We aren’t allowed enough “R-n-R” in our busy mom’s lives, and it can wear us down if we aren’t careful.
Invest in some “you time” with a hobby
Having a hobby or outlet that allows you to regularly take breaks can provide pleasure and purpose in participating in something useful or creative.
Many hobbies can be done in a group with friends which can provide an emotional support system in times of crisis. And some hobbies can be done on your own so you can escape anytime and fulfill that need to recharge your batteries.
What is your favorite hobby? And can you get back into it?
If you don’t have one, which hobby would you want to start right away?
How long is a reasonable break?
Sometimes 5-10 minutes to regroup is all you need. Sometimes an hour away to do groceries or errands does the trick. Maybe it’s 3 hours, or maybe it’s 3 days. As long as they are safe, and as long as you need to feel more like you again.
Sometimes, you actually have to go away from your crew to appreciate and recharge for the motherhood journey ahead. This does not in any way, shape, or form, make you a bad mom. You are a mom who knows her limitations and practices self-care and love and mental awareness to do what is right to keep you well and by extension your children and family as well.
It takes a LOT to raise a family.
So Mom, it’s okay to take a break from your kids.
Give yourself permission to take a physical break to distance yourself from your family and kids if you feel like you’re ready to lose it. It will be good for them and their safety (let’s just be real), and essential for you and your health.
You can do this and it’s alright. In fact, it is good. Take a break, chill, rest, restore, and relax. Then get back to your family a new woman, and you will appreciate them, and they will appreciate you all the more.
Chandra is the chocolate-chip loving mother of 2 teenage girls who started over again with a baby boy in her 40’s! She is the author of The Mom’s Playbook to Conquering Softball Season. She gives other moms the tools they need to prepare their daughters for real life. Her content is centered on helping girls grow up to be well-rounded, equipped, expressive, confident, intelligent, capable, kind and independent.