We love our children, we would do anything for the, we drop everything to be there for them. However, we also need a minute!
From the "mommy can I?" to the "daddy I need a ride to..." to "can you help me with ...?" - Parents need an escape and it's ok to admit to it. We often feel guilty for even thinking we need space from our kids, or feel ashamed at the thought of hoping they are asleep by the time you get home from a long day ... but really, it's ok. By taking care of you, and allowing that time to reset - you can be better for your kids and for your whole family.
Similar to the flight attendant saying - should oxygen levels change on the aircraft, please place the mask on yourself before helping others.
So take a deep breath and get that air and space you need.
Being a present and loving parent and needing a break are not mutually exclusive. Wanting distance from your kids just means you are human. Without any breaks or rest, you are less likely to be engaged, patient and tuned into what your children need. So create some limits. Add some quiet time to your schedule - and this doesn't mean taking five minutes hiding in your car in the driveway. Schedule some time after the kids are in bed, or when they kids are off playing - you can force them to find something to do, instead of leading or being involved in playtime. It's ok - you are not ignoring them - you are letting them be.
With that being said, here are some ways you can take mini-breaks from the chaos children bring with them (which isn't always a bad thing, but sometimes we need a bit of space):
Ask for Help. We often feel like we should only ask for help when we are desperate or really stuck. But is it ok to ask for help because you need a break. Ask fellow parents to help via carpooling to run your kids to their activities. This can give you that hour or two break you might need to just putter around the house. Pour a cup of tea and enjoy the quiet of an empty house. You can also return this favour to those that help you out and offer to do the next carpool drop off.
Get a Room! It's hard to go away, or do things alone. So it might be overwhelming to go on a vacation, or weekend away alone at first. So start by booking a hotel room over the weekend (or even during the week as you can hopefully work remotely if needed). And enjoy an empty bed, room service, a quiet shower, alone time in front of your Netflix. Taking a night away and a day or two will do wonders for your mood, and offer you that much needed reset.
Pay Hooky. Many work places realize the importance of mental health and offer personal days - and almost all of us fail to take advantage of that. Take a day off work - and relish a day where the kids are at school, and you have the day to do whatever needs to be done. Run those much needed errands, visit with friends over brunch - or simply do nothing at all. You know you need the break - so take one.
Focus on your passions/hobbies that you have left by the wayside. As parents, it’s all too easy to be consumed by our day-to-day (basically living the same day over and over) ignoring our own interests. Making time to keep up with a hobby (sans kids) can go a long way toward filling your own emotional cup.
Get Up Before the Kids: This can be really hard to do, especially if you are already experiencing exhaustion or sleep deprived and getting up extra early may be the absolute last thing you want to do (and may not even be advisable for your health). However, if you can, getting up before the kids can be a way to savor some peace and quiet.
Needing time away from your kids doesn’t make you a bad parent. In fact, many (if not most) of us require alone time in order to be the best parents we can be. Taking that time to be alone and kid-free gives you an opportunity to recharge, destress, and recenter yourself.
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