As a mom, do you ever beg and kick and scream (possibly literally?!) for a break but then as soon as you get that break, you want your babies back?
Why do we do this? Why?! I don’t understand why this happens, but I go through this thought process nearly every single time I leave my kiddos.
Last week, as I was loading my luggage into my car to head out of town for four days, I reminded my mom for the fifth time that morning that it’s okay if she wants to send me 100 pictures of my daughters per day. (My parents were watching my kids since my husband is overseas.) I told her again that I’ll have my phone glued to me and to call or text with the smallest of questions, day or night. I tried to spit out as many last-minute tidbits that I could think of to make the next four days run smoothly for my parents and our children, and my mom just stood in the doorway and smiled. She listened to me repeat the same things I had been saying for two days and lovingly reminded me that they would all be just fine.
In that moment, I oddly felt miserable about leaving my kids. I already missed them so much and wasn’t even in a running car yet. I even dramatically said, “Remind me not to voluntarily leave my kids again because this sucks.”
Why (in the world!) was I saying this when four days prior I wanted nothing more than to hop in the car and drive far, far away? I needed a break and thought I might just lose my marbles if someone didn’t relieve me from my kids fast. I actually muttered the words to my best friend that someone likely wasn’t going to make it to the end of the day – me or my one-year-old. We had first-class tickets on the struggle bus, and it was full steam ahead.
I need a break! I need a break from the butt wiping and the spilled drinks and the high chair cleaning and the toy refereeing and the laundry and picking up 114 Little People figurines, and I just need a guilt-free break for five minutes or five days. Some kind of break.
And here’s where my mom probably wants to give me a swift kick in the butt because she’ll come to visit and say “I have the house and the kids under control. Why don’t you go get a pedicure or walk around the mall by yourself for a little while?”
And I’ll say “Nah, I’m good.”
And she (rightfully so) looks at me like I have three heads because I’ve just spent the last three months on the phone while she listened to me whine about how hard this parenting gig is at times.
So what do I really want? Why am I acting so crazy and indecisive about what the heck I want – a break or no?
I think instead of a break, I’ve identified that sometimes I just need a hand. Not all the time, but just occasionally during “those moments” where things just feel heavy without relief in sight.
This past week my parents helped me around the house and with my children in every possible way one could help. The thing is, I didn’t totally want to check out from my responsibilities at home. I WANT to be home. I want to be with my kids. I don’t hate housework. I don’t hate meeting the demands of my young children. I don’t necessarily want to run from that stuff. I just felt 100 times lighter knowing I had someone else who wanted to step in and give me a hand.
So if you ever find yourself saying “I just need a break”, possibly ask yourself if you maybe just need help – for five minutes, for a couple hours, or maybe for a whole day or week. If you need a break, take one! Get out! Recharge. And if you need help, recognize that you’re in a season of receiving and ask for that help. Soon enough it’ll be your season for returning, and you can return the favor or pay it forward to someone who’s now in a “receiving” season.
If you think about, it would be pretty self-centered of me to say that just moms of young children want a break. My goodness – doesn’t everyone need a break sometimes? Yes yes yes. Life can be utterly exhausting to navigate regardless of what stage of life you’re in. We’re all dealing with something.
Keep a look out for people who need a break, and see how you can help. He or she might not need a physical break, but possibly just an emotional one. And you could be that helper.
And by the way, that four-day trip I went on, it was awesome. Sure I missed my kids like no tomorrow, but they were fine while I was gone, and it sure felt good to refill my own cup. I’ll remember this next time I’m struggling with leaving my kids for my own personal reasons. Breaks are good too. We all need them.
Want to read more related to parenthood?
We recently incorporated a daily schedule to help us try to tackle everything we want to do in a day – cooking, playing, resting, and working. Click here to read all about it and what a difference it’s made in my life.
If you’re a stay-at-home parent whose heart is searching for something to recharge your batteries, consider these 10 outlets as a means of doing something you enjoy that’s (mostly) for you. It’s hard to give your children the best of you if you don’t have the best of you to give. Click here to read the post!
Our toy organization system is functional and cheap and a total lifesaver! Click here to read the post if you need to get some control over your kids’ toys.