When Moms Need A Break: The Little Things You Can Do
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Whilst doing some research for my next post, I came across the video below. It cracked me up but, since I’m a work-at-home mom too, I can totally relate. I know I can get pretty feral if my husband goes away for longer than 10 hours.
It’s probably no secret that today’s mom is busier than ever.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom working from home or at the office. Either way, you’re still trying to balance work and family.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom trying to run the household whilst managing your children’s after-school activities or one who home educates her children and are with them throughout the day.
In today’s fast-paced modern society, chances are, you’d have lost your tribe of other moms who are always there to support you. And the hectic pace you live your life often means you have no other time left for anything other than mothering.
It’s a running joke in many parenting groups that if we get to shower during the day, we can consider it a win.
We laugh when we say this but I know that personally, I’d appreciate a break from the relentless ennui that only parents – and usually moms – experience.
To be responsible 24/7 for a young child who is completely dependent on you (for its very survival) every single moment – who wouldn’t need a break from that?
But it’s also a fact that even when moms need a break, we don’t usually go for one.
Many of us will do everything we can to provide the best for our families, often sacrificing our own needs and wants.
We lose contact with old friends – especially if they don’t have kids we can go on playdates with – because heck, ain’t nobody got time for that.
We don’t take care of ourselves like we used to.
Be honest, when was the last time you did your hair and make-up before going out of the house? When was the last time you even cared?
And really, why would you care?
Nobody knows your own name. Now, you answer to “so-and-so’s mom”.
We lose ourselves at the same time that we focus on being a mother.
Why do we do that?
Because now, we have so many conflicting demands on our time, that we end up running round and round like headless chickens trying to accomplish them all.
What to do when moms need a break
I don’t know about you, but I personally breathe a sigh of relief when everyone goes to sleep.
Because then, the house goes silent enough that I can finally hear myself think. That time, when the entire world seems to be sleeping, when there’s no one else to make more demands of me…that’s the only time I have to focus solely on myself.
How about you? What do you do when everybody’s sleeping?
Have you tried reading a good book, calling or chatting with an old friend or just sit and enjoy the silence?
It’s incredibly precious, isn’t it?
And trust me, you need it and deserve it.
Actually, everyone – not just moms – need and deserve the chance to just focus on themselves.
So, when you need a break, don’t be afraid to ask for a break.
Are you doing this whole mom thing solo?
Then, ask a trusted friend, a family member or another caregiver (babysitter? nanny?) to watch the kids for a bit and go do something fun for a few hours if you can and a few minutes if you can’t. The kids will be just fine and you’ll be a lot calmer and a lot more patient when you return.
Remember that when you’re stressed out, anxious, depressed or just tapped out, you’re more likely to snap, yell and react in anger.
It becomes incredibly difficult to act with grace and love when you’re running on empty. And you start resenting the people you love because you’re just too damn tired.
So, look after yourself, okay?
And see that guilt you’re feeling for even considering going out or doing something for yourself – without anyone else? That’s normal but also something that you need to learn to set aside. Because even though the feeling is normal, it’s also not true.
Have you ever watched the safety drill instructions given on a cruise ship or a plane?
Remember what they tell adults who are travelling with children?
They’re supposed to put their own oxygen masks on first before taking care of the kids.
Because if the adults pass out, who then will look after the children?
Motherhood is exactly the same.
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Have a Break, Have A KitKat
If you think about the example above, you’ll hopefully realise just how important it is for you to have a break (have a KitKat? haha – sorry, couldn’t resist).
See what activities you can remove from your daily life. Decluttering your life usually results in a calmer mind and sometimes this is all you need.
Other times, you need to practically carve some time out of your incredibly busy schedule, if you must. It doesn’t even have to be a few hours.
Even ten minutes of quiet meditation, where you focus solely on yourself, might be enough.
And sometimes, the only time you have is right before you drift off to sleep. This is what happens with me most days and I used to resent it too.
Now, I make sure to do something that isn’t related to working or mothering whilst I wait for sleep to come.
Sometimes, I spend an hour or so beside my sleeping child and husband whilst I play some games on my phone. It’s something I enjoy and rarely have time for now.
I used to feel guilty about that too. I should be sleeping, working, doing some house chores etc. instead of playing this game but you know what? I love it. I enjoy it. And I deserve a break. God knows, by the end of the day – after juggling all of my responsibilities, I need it.
More often though, I look after myself by putting on my headphones and listening to music, but more often I follow Christie Marie Sheldon, Lisa Nichols or T. Harv Eker and then let myself fall asleep.
They say that the mind is especially susceptible when sleeping. And in fact, according to Jack Canfield, the most important 45 minutes of the day is the last 45 minutes before you go to sleep.
“During the night,” he wrote, “your unconscious mind replays and processes this late-night input up to six times more often than anything else you experienced during the day…as you drift off to sleep, you enter into the alpha brain wave state of consciousness – a state in which you are very suggestible.”
So, cram as much self-love and self-care activities as you can in those 45 minutes.
Love yourself so completely during that period and allow no room for anything else, especially anything negative.
You don’t have to book a cruise to the Caribbean (although lounging on the beach would be lovely). Sometimes, the best way to look after yourself is to stay exactly where you are, listen to your body when you need a break and just focus on loving yourself.
Side Note: There are many ways to do this and sometimes, you have to be creative. However, if you have more time (maybe at least an hour), I highly recommend doing a spa-at-home day. It’s a serious game changer!
So, if you’re a mom remember to do these things:
- Be fearless. Ask for a break when you need it.
- Cultivate relationships with people you can trust to look after your children so you can actually relax when you go have a break.
- Grab the opportunity to wind down whenever you can, no matter how small it is. Sometimes the window of opportunity can be as big as a few hours and as small as a few seconds.
- Take advantage of bedtime, when everyone is finally sleeping and nurture yourself.
- Make sure that you listen to something loving right before bedtime and imagine yourself cocooned in love and positivity as you drift off to sleep.
What do you think? Did we miss anything? Share your experiences below! 🙂
The topic about When Moms Need A break has aroused my curiosity and I have read your entire article. In my humble opinion, take a break and being alone a few hours a day is a must. This instruction that you have shown on your post is definitely effective and keeps individual calm and makes people satisfy.
Working on oneself is a great opportunity for both Women and Men to boost positive feelings and energy and being free of stress. As a result, you feel better along the way. Peace of mind is incredible! .I think that the Self-love concept is vital and if we truly take a break we then can rest assure that our whole body performance is getting better throughout the day. If you love yourself, then you can love others as well. Thank you
Hi, Shirian. It’s good to know you enjoyed our post. Thanks for popping by. 🙂
Hi Jade. I was just looking for information to pass on to a female friend of mine who needs a break from the kids, the dogs, and even her husband. She is one of my best friends but we no longer live near each other. I have a lot of female friends because they know I treat them with respect and I think of them as equals with my male friends.
They all tell me they feel safe with me and can hang out or go to a pub and not have to worry about me wanting to get physical with them, if you know what I mean. Like I have this one friend who lives about an hour away. She has a daughter who is 12 years old and twins (a boy and girl) who are 7, plus a cat and a dog.
When the twins were not old enough for school she used to make it mandatory that they take a mid-day 1.5 to 2 hour nap. This gave her time to just chill out, especially since her other daughter was in school. She said that if she didn’t make nap time an absolute must, she would go nuts. Now that they are all in school things are much better.
However there are still many times when she has a really stressful week and she will ask her husband to take care of the kids on a Saturday. Then the two of us (sometimes my girlfriend joins us) will go into New York for a baseball game and then out drinking, maybe not in that order. LOL. Fortunately her husband trusts me with her and she can let loose.
Whether it is a 10 minute break to do some deep breathing while listening to music or a couple of hours during a daily nap time for the kids or being able to have someone watch the kids for several hours while you go out and party with friends, giving yourself time to do whatever you want will keep you stronger for the daily grind of motherhood.
I am sure if my friend was typing this she would say, start a daily nap time for your kids not yet in school and start it as early in their lives as possible so it becomes routine for them. If you wait until they are older, it is too hard for the kids to adapt. Do it when they are young. This will program them to accept it and give you a daily hour or so to look forward to.
Hi Robert, that’s excellent advice. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts. I too rely on nap time a lot. Sometimes, I even sleep right beside my son. Highly recommend it. 🙂
Hi Jade, this article resonates with me.
I’m a dad. I had never fully understood a mother’s job. I know its important for the running of a household, but I never REALLY understood it, until recently.
I’ve always been the full time bread winner of the family, working full-time and bringing in the money for my family and knew my partner was there keeping things alive, but I never realised how much work was involved until I had to live it, because the work I was involved with dried up.
In my mind, whilst I was out working, I had this image that my partner was at home watching Netflix and eating nachos all day, but since I have been out of work and my partner is out working, i realise that is not the case.
I thought that being home, I might be able to keep up the things that needed to be done and still have time for other things that might help bring some money into the family, but it just doesn’t seem to happen.
There is always something else that needs to be done in the home and it’s nearly impossible to rest or work on something else until those things are done.
At this time, I am the “mother” of the family and being is this position has given me a different perspective. I never thought that my partner at home needed a break too. Now I see the other side of the coin.
From my perspective, from a man’s point of view, it can be so much easier to go to work and focus on one thing, than to stay at home and think of a million things.
Respect for the moms!
Hi Stevie, thanks for sharing your experience. You’re right it can get pretty manic and my husband didn’t understand either until I had to go to work and he was at home for two days. Suddenly, he understood where I was coming from. Regardless of the title though, I think the post is relevant to whichever parent happens to be staying at home more or less full-time so I hope you are taking care of yourself. Take a breather once in a while. You matter too. 🙂
It feels great that there are people who actually understand situations like this. I am a mom of two. They are pre teens now so they are less dependent. They can tend to their own immediate needs and can do some chores like washing the dishes and cleaning up their room. Imagining the days when they are younger brings relief to me now. When they were little, I always feel tired from everything. I was always needed and there’s no stopping. Of course, I don’t regret giving them my whole time. It’s just that I was selfish to myself for not allowing me to spend a “me time” once a day. You were right, too much pressure will crack you up. It’ll make you yell, scream and mad about simple things. When it happened to me, I cried because I know it wasn’t me. I embraced motherhood more, learned to be patient and just let go of simple things like spilled milk or broken glasses. I am happier now with our situation but if there are people telling me that I should consider having another kid, I would directly tell them, no. It will be hard to go back to sleepless nights. At present, I am enjoying time for myself when my kids and husband go to school and work.
Thank for understanding mothers out there. Your advice is eye-opening. It’s not bad if moms could enjoy at least an hour a day for herself. It’s actually helpful for well being.
Hi Maureen, thanks for commenting. I know exactly what you mean. I keep getting asked when we’ll have baby #2 and my reply is “Come here and help me with the housework full-time once the baby is born and we’ll consider making another one.” It is definitely not easy!
Without a doubt, I can say confidently that moms are heroes. They go through a lot and still try to think of their loved ones and take good care of them. They’ll do anything just like you said. I don’t think this world would be a good place if it weren’t for the caring moms. But, they also have problems. They are stressed too and need to take a rest. They need to “breathe a sigh of relief”…some KitKat too. This is a really helpful informative post. I endorse this and I’ll share it. Awesome!
Thanks for commenting, Henderson. I agree – moms are heroes! I never really realised until after becoming a mom myself just what the word meant. 🙂