Once upon a time, a very long time ago, a friend told me that a mom she knew said that “A good mother doesn’t need breaks from her children.”
I’m sure that woman was an amazing mother. But I’m pretty sure I’m a good mother too. Because I take breaks.
You may be a mom that works away from your kiddos during the week, and if that’s the case you probably have coffee breaks and lunch breaks built in. And you may take a day or two here and there while the kids are at daycare or school to get things done and to have some downtime. If you don’t, you probably should.
But if you’re a stay at home mom who is with her kids 24/7, you NEED to take breaks. Because if that woman my friend knew could get through each day and night serving her family non-stop, with no mom-only bathroom breaks, no running to the grocery store on her own, and no chats over coffee without kids, then she was a better person than Jesus.
Even Jesus took breaks (see Mark 1:35 for example). And if He needed to get away from people to recharge, then it’s certainly okay for you and I to do the same.
How do you find the time to work breaks into your day?
If you don’t already have one for your preschool-age children, implement a mandatory nap/quiet time. Even if your child is laying on the couch reading a book for an hour, make time for each of you to have a break from one another.
Get up earlier than your children. For some people, this is easier said than done, but believe me, the very act of showering, dressing and grabbing a cup of coffee before the kids get up will make you feel that much more ready to take on the day.
Be consistent with your child’s bedtime. Yes, it may mean weeks of cuddling with your child in his bedroom with the lights out to get him into the routine, but it’s so worth it. Just knowing that after a certain time the kids will be asleep is a huge relief when your day has been dragging on and on and on …
How do you work breaks into your week?
Taking breaks with the kids in the house is good, but being able to go out without them is great. A couple of hours to yourself each week is the perfect way to recharge for the week ahead.
Plan for one break night each week. You may have to discuss this with your spouse and work out the best time for both of you. You may end up going to the mall with a friend, reading at a coffee shop, wandering endlessly through Winners, or just going for a walk around the neighbourhood, but find whatever it is that recharges you and do that.
No spouse? No problem. Find another mom in the same situation and agree to watch one another’s kids while you each take a break once a week. The kids will be able to look forward to a twice-weekly playdate, and both moms will have a chance to do their own thing.
Hire a babysitter. If you can afford it, get a sitter, even it it’s just for an hour or two. If you have more than one child, plan for your babysitter to come when one or two of your kids are at school. You won’t have to pay as much, and you’ll still get your break time.
However you do it, make sure you take the time for breaks in your busy day and week. You need that time to breathe, think, and just be with yourself or with grown-up friends.
And hey, look at it this way: if Mom has a chance to take a break, she’ll be a much happier Mom. Really, you’re doing your family a favour ;-).