Right now, my children are with my parents for a week – a whole week – while my husband and I reconnect with each other and spend time just “being” in our house. I remember telling a friend that the kids were going to stay with grandma and grandpa for a week and she said “Wow I’m so jealous! I wish I could do that”. So I asked her why she couldn’t, and she said she’d just feel too guilty. It was fascinating to me that a mom who was clearly doing an awesome job at home with her kids but had expressed multiple times that she needed a break couldn’t for the life of her part with her kids, even for a night, because of the amount of guilt she would feel. Well, this blog post goes out to her, and to any other mom who feels like she doesn’t “deserve” a break.
There are a million reasons why taking a break from your kids and from your motherly duties, even if for one night, are supremely important. But the most important reason of all is this – YOU DESERVE IT. If you have an ability to take a break, like you have parents or family members who are willing and able to take care of your kids (like both my parents and in-laws would steal my kids from me if they could, but they love having a few days each summer to spend one-on-one time with the kids) I say take advantage of it! And here are a few more reasons why:
- They need a break too – After having to deal with my kids actively ignoring me when I ask them to wash their hands, put their cups in the sink, stop hitting each other, or the countless other requests I ask of them, I know it’s time for a break, for both of us. When my kids stay with my parents, even for a night, they have the opportunity to see the world in a different way than how they see it in their home, surrounded by their family. They get to do things that they may not get to do at home too (like go to bed late, eat ice cream every night or watch a movie they’ve never seen before) and it helps them connect with other people in their family in unique ways. But most importantly, it gives them a chance to miss you – after all, absence makes the heart grow fonder right?
- They’ll come back home to you – Yes, my kids grandparents (both sets) spoil the begeezus out of them, from new toys, to going to the beach EVERY DAY, to staying up late, to eating everything sweet under the sun. And even though that irks the heck out of me, I know it’s just temporary, and they will eventually come back home, albeit completely sugared up. But what I’m trying to say is it’s temporary, and it’s a vacation for them too. They look forward to it every year, but more importantly they look forward to coming home and telling us all about the fun stuff they did.
- You’ll be recharged – I can’t even stress how incredibly important this one is. Taking a break is not selfish by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it’s the best form of self care you can do for yourself. You get to go to bed whenever you’d like, sleep in until your body allows you to wake up, but most importantly, you and your spouse can reconnect. I know my husband and I absolutely love it when the kids go off to grandma and grandpa’s house, because it allows us to remember why we love each other in the first place. We have deep conversations, we go out to dinner and see movies. We reconnect in a way that we haven’t been able to in years, and it’s absolutely amazing. And even after just a few days of good food, good company and good sleep, I feel recharged for weeks, even months.
Give guilt the old “heave, ho!” and allow yourself to take a break from your kids. Even if you don’t have family help, getting a friend to watch the kids even for a night could have a lasting effect on your physical and mental health, not to mention for your relationship.