From One Mom to Another: Take a Break

I’ve got a friend who has three children and is a SAHM.  She’s 100% devoted to her children and does everything for them 24/7.  She’s a marvelous mother but sometimes I wonder, how does she never take a break and take some time to herself? She’s always worried about leaving all the onus on her husband and she feels a tremendous amount of guilt even thinking about spending time on her own.

Me?  I felt like that when my children were very small, but not now.  When my daughter was born, I breastfed her for a year, and for a good part of that time, I didn’t feel as if I could leave her side.  I yearned to go to the theater in NYC, but the few times I tried, I think that my plans failed. I remember one time, I left the house and headed to the city, and mid-way on my train ride, my husband called to tell me my daughter had fallen down and hurt herself.  I jumped off the train and ran home.  When I got home, I realized very quickly that I wasn’t necessarily needed.  It was purely my conscience.

Fast forward to now and I’ve changed.  Sometimes motherhood is chaotic, and sometimes I juggle so many things that I get no time to myself.  When you work and take care of a family, you must take time to yourself.  Some women don’t take time to themselves, like my friend mentioned above, and doing that causes pent up resentment and frustration.  I call getting away my personal “time out”.

This past week, I took a spontaneous, unplanned break.  We were actually in Mystic, CT as a family last weekend, having a marvelous time.  But during dinner on Saturday night, there were arguments over what my kids were eating, and the usual types of disagreements.  I told myself that I needed a break.  I gently approached the subject with my family after I found out there was a film playing across the street that hadn’t come to my local theater yet, and I suggested that I step out for 2 hours.   No one was happy, so I followed them all back to the hotel.  When they all headed to the pool,  I found myself just sitting in the hotel room, so I decided to go against the grain and step out, of course telling them first.  At that point, no one minded and I was a much better mom the next day.  There was an obvious improvement.

What do you think?  Was I a bad mom or good mom to take off during a family vacation?  I want to hear your thoughts below.  Do you ever step away from your husband and kids?  How do they feel about it?

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  1. You are not a mean mom for taking some time away for yourself. Coming from a mom with 3kids, I totally understand the need to “step away” for a little while. The hubby and kids will be just fine without us for a few hours.

  2. It’s your vacation, too. If you don’t feel like sitting at the pool or in the hotel room – why should you not spend the time doing something that makes you feel good? You did not abandon the kids alone, and obviously you had all spent plenty of quality time together. I think it is important for the children as well, to see that Mom is a person with interests and needs, and not only a person that is there for them all the time.
    In my yoga class this morning my teacher asked us to not only dedicate our practice to something or somebody but to think about something (other than a person such as your children or husband or a material) that “makes your heart sing”, and then dedicate the practice to doing more of that. She reminded us that it is important and valid to do something for oneself and not get lost in the duties of our everyday life. She told us, that she went for a walk at the beach with her friend yesterday. It was her friend’s 60th birthday and walking on the beach makes her heart sing. I found it very inspiring. So, if watching a movie by yourself makes your heart sing, do it, because then you will be a happy person and a happy mom.

  3. I think it was brilliant of you to include yourself in the equation. And I have utmost respect for the fact that , rather than dig in your heels and see it as a me vs them dilemma, you waited until the situation was right for it, everyone in your family was good with the decision and you were free to enjoy yourself, knowing they were doing the same. Win-win … hurrah!

  4. I’m all about taking breaks. To me, the best other is a sane mother and you have to find your sanity where you can. I also nursed until my daughter was one and therefore I was always with her. Once that period ended I felt like I earned a break and there is nothing wrong with that. I love her immensely and she is always in good hands. Cheers to you! No worries Culture Mom! It’s all about balance.

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