Finding Time For YOU: Tips for Taking a Break from Parenting
Are you feeling like you need a break lately? You love your kid but they can be so demanding, attention-seeking. Perhaps you dream of the days when you didn’t have kids needing you 24-7. Maybe you feel lonely and miss having friendships. Or perhaps you envy the friends who can take days off without a care in the world. Being a mom sometimes means assessing when we need a break and then making sure we take care of ourselves.
Some signs you may need a break from parenting include:
-Feeling exhausted all the time
-Mysterious aches or pains, such as headaches
-Always feeling on edge
-Struggling with sleep
-Being more irritable or angry
-Using harsh self-judgement
-Feeling disconnected or numb
If you feel any of those above symptoms, please take it seriously! Feeling these symptoms can affect the quality of the relationship you have with your child and your own health long-term. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of your mental health and well-being.
A few ways to take a break could be:
1: Keep your bedroom for you and your partner. Your bed is not a place for co-sleeping which will cause you to sleep less. It is a place for you, for romance, or for some trashy television.
-Ways to help with this could be using a stoplight enhancing alarm letting your child know when it is time to wake up and when it is time to sleep. Once children are beyond the toddler stage, it can be good to get 3-5 minutes by yourself to do a meditation or just breathe.
-If your child has nightmares, calm them down in their bed.
-Look into other ways to help your child sleep, such as a weighted blanket, meditation music, or melatonin.
2: Utilize a family-friendly gym. Childcare while your workout or sit in the sauna? Joy. Your child will be able to play with other children and get out of the home as well, thus helping them. There are gyms that have financial assistance for families, such as the YMCA.
3: Assess who around you can be your support team. Do you have a friend, coworker, or relative nearby who is willing to spend time with your child for a few hours? Could you set them up with a fun activity together such as play dough or a movie they love? People around you want to support you and help-please let them. If this feels like a big ask, you could ask them how you can help them, such as bringing over a meal or raking leaves.
4: Plan playdates with our kids and their parents. Nothing like having a mom squad or dad crew. Get to know some of the other parents and plan times when you can all meet somewhere like the park, movies, or skating rink. Allow the kids to go have their fun while you get some much-needed adult conversation.
5: Taking a break from social media. Hold on, hear me out on this. Social media can cause us to feel disconnected, worrying about our own approach to parenting, and like we are failing our kids by not being that mom. It can turn into mindless scrolling and missing those opportunities to connect with our kids. It’s okay to take a break from it. Perhaps delete it from your phone, so you can only use it on your iPad or when near a computer. Or every weekend delete it so you can focus on the weekend. Breaks are good things.
6: Involve your children in chores. Kids can start to see the fun in chores, such as sorting clothes. Make organizing systems easy so they can handle picking up their toys and putting them in the basket with the matching picture, such as cars in a basket with a picture of cars on it.
7: Spend time in nature. Take your kids on walks, go on hikes, or just spend time in the backyard every day. That extra time outside will give you vitamin D, fresh air, lower your blood pressure, and reduce stress.
8: What can you outsource? We live in a world where we don’t have to do it all. Perhaps that’s getting a Roomba, looking into meal prep delivery services, finding a cleaning person, or sitting down with your partner and looking at how to evenly divide responsibilities.
All of this only works if you give yourself grace. You are an amazing mom and your kids know that. However, you have needs too. We recognize and respect those here at Willow Tree Healing Center. Come see us so we can help you find the right balance of mom life and being you.