A close friend and I keep each other on speed dial on our cell phones. Over the years we've called each other in the late afternoon countless times, and all it takes is hearing the other's voice to know. It's been one of those days, and one of us needs a pep talk to get through. Inevitably these words are spoken: "I need a break." We know just what the other means; she needs a break from the kids. "Yes," the other says, "Yes, you do."
The pressure many of us feel as parents sometimes doesn't take into account that time away from your kids can be a wonderful thing, for all of you. It can help make you a better parent. Needing a break - whether for an hour, an afternoon, or longer - is a healthy part of parenting. How did things get to the point where moms feel guilty taking a break? Honestly, it has to stop.Think about your close friends. Think about a particular friend. What if you were their only friend? Their only source of support? The only person she talked to? Don't you think an occasional bit of time away from each other for other friendships and such would be a good thing? It's not like it means you're not friends if you don't spend every waking minute together. Time away helps with perspective.It's the same with your kids. Yes, you are their only mother, but time apart can bring perspective and help your kids build valuable relationships with other loving people in their lives.
What does a break really mean? It means different things for different people, and often different things at different times for the same people. Sometimes, I just need an hour in my own head, whether it's spent wandering in a local park, the local mall or even the grocery store.Other times, a longer break is needed. It could mean a day all to myself. If your children are fortunate to have active, able and involved grandparents, by all means, take advantage of that! Whether it's for a full day or even overnight, whether it's with your sweetie or not - time away can be fun and rewarding for everyone.
Yes, you are likely to miss your kids when you are away from them, and that's okay, too. But don't let that preclude you from taking the time you need to reflect, feel refreshed, and be ready for positive parenting and good days. Parenting is hard work, and don't let anyone try to tell you otherwise. Everyone needs a break from hard work now and again.When you come back from your break, be it big or small, you likely will be better prepared to take on the challenges of parenting. I know when I am able to get away after one of those days, I come home with a strong inner resolve to make the coming days. Soon enough, I stop feeling guilty about that time away and get right back to the good (and hard) parenting stuff.
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