Few of us ever truly realize just how much time and effort and energy goes into raising children until we have them. And by the time we do, not only is it far too late to back out of the deal, but we are also too tired to think of ways to give ourselves a break. (Plus, the kids have long since wised up to all of our hiding places around the house).
Kids albeit fulfilling and wonderful creatures can be an overwhelming endeavor. The sad part is that far too many parents don’t allow themselves to take a break from the kiddos. On the inside they are screaming, “Help, I need a break from the kids,” yet they do nothing to afford themselves that much needed break.
In the case of parents and children, the old adage, ‘absence makes the heart grow stronger,’ rings especially true. Yet parents and more in particular mothers – feel guilty admitting that they are tired of their children. That the constant fighting, the nagging and the 24/7 security shift they have been on for years is wearing them thin. Or that they have run out of fresh ideas and strategies for keeping the kids occupied. Instead, they pretend to play with the kids, build endless block towers, cook meals on schedule like an army chef and slowly but surely become only a mere shell of themselves. The more they need a break from the kids, the more the guilt settles in like dust on a ceiling fan and the harder they try to push themselves to shrug away the inklings that perhaps getting away from the kids for a little while might be a good thing.
But be realistic for just one moment and consider this. You are a grown adult. You are intelligent and funny with a handful of accumulated life experiences. You have interests and passions that your 6 month old, or 6 year old knows nothing about. You have a life of your own. Isn’t it only natural that your relationship with your kids is unable to provide all the stimulation that you need to live a happy life? Could a teenager be happy with just a 4 year old to play with day in and day out? Would a 6 year old be content with the constant company of a 6 month old? It’s only natural that you would crave some time away from your children, especially since in their presence; you are constantly responsible and accountable. Give yourself a break here! Literally and emotionally!
This is one of the biggest mistakes of parents. This mistake is normally made early on in the career of parenting. Moms and dads believe that no one else can do a good enough job watching their children, or that going away for a romantic weekend getaway where they can have sex without worrying about the kids busting down the bedroom door – will somehow indicate that they are bad parents. Or worse, that their desire to be away from the kids means on some deeply rooted level that they are not cut out for parenting at all. After all, who else in this world is constantly dreaming of time away from their kids, right? The answer, is EVERYONE!
Me time is one of those metaphorical phrases that parents throw around as if it was an occurrence from the ice ages. Its nothing special to hear a bunch of moms and dads sitting around a playground talking about how ‘back in the day’ they would play a round of golf on the weekend, or go out to dinner at a real restaurant or have a weekly pedicure. Commiserating about all the freedoms that they have lost now that they have become parents. Sure, parenting is time consuming and labor intensive, but it certainly isn’t wrong to ask for a break from time to time. In fact, you might find that when your glass of ‘kid wine’ begins to ‘overfloweth’ that giving yourself a time out to get away for a bit, just might make you a better parent.
Getting away from the kids whether for a night or for a long weekend, or for a weeklong trip to do things that you are interested in doing (without the kids) is one of the biggest tricks to securing a happy and fulfilling life. It might take some guts to bite the bullet and hire a babysitter, or to let the in-laws whose parenting style you have nothing in common with, watch the kids. But the truth is it will do you and your children well to let go a little bit. If you don’t have someone to watch the kids, find a Mommy’s morning out class, or a neighbor with whom you can exchange the favor.
You will also find that when you take some time to recharge your parental batteries by escaping parenting for even a short while, you become more closely related to the kind of mom and dad that you aim to be. If you are often short fused, or your patience is running thin, chances are your have kids have noticed. You don’t want them growing up with a version of you that is constantly stressed out or overwhelmed. You want to be at your best when you are with your children. If this means a tiny escape from time to time, then so be it.
There are plenty people who get away from their kids too often. Striking a balance of 'me time' with family time is important. Plus, when you get a way – even for just a short while – you show your kids that not only are you a parent, but that you are also an individual with interests and passions of your own. And, you show your kids that you are important. The desire for some alone time, some down time, so time where you don’t have listen to the pitter patter of little feet is nothing to feel ashamed about. On the contrary, it shows that you are becoming co-dependant upon your children and forcing your children to become codependent upon you!