Pardon the rant tonight, fair warning you guys. For the love of all that is good in the world, SEND ME SOME PATIENCE TODAY… PLEASE!?
Have you ever found yourself screaming this in your own head at 3:30am while taking care of a sick, crying child? How about at 6:30pm when your kids have been at each other’s’ throats since getting off the school bus? No? Ok, then. How about during a long weekend when you cannot take another Paw Patrol episode without wanting to gag? One more Minecraft story will certainly push your brain into insanity? Still just me?! Well, lucky readers, congratulations. You must have magical children who never push your buttons and sit nicely in their own car seats and drink sunbeams and consume vegetables and poop rainbows. Lucky dogs, you. That is not the case for me this week, friends.
In more logical thoughts, I know we have all been there. Desperate for some adult interaction and adult beverages. Faced with the reality of in-your-face needy children who, for whatever reason, need you now and can’t stop crying and won’t stop whining and cling to you as you attempt to poop and cook and clean and work. I sure thought this parenting gig would get easier as they got bigger. Ha!
Guess what? I sometimes need a break. We all do; it is A-ok to need a break from your kids. Though they sometimes feel all-consuming, you were not made to only exist with and for your children. You were you before they came, and you will be you when they grow. A different, changed, parent-ish you, but still you. And they will not always be at your side or so needy. I try to remember that often. I like to think that I don’t take this wonderful time of them being little for granted, staying grateful for almost all of it – even the rough parts. BUT. Sometimes we need a damn break, and I need to remind myself that this is healthy and normal and necessary for my sanity. The guilt often comes, despite that.
Being a full time working mom, I have limited time with my kids. The time I do have is in spurts before or after school. So when the time we do share is not quality, perhaps filled with nagging, breaking up fights, or completing mundane tasks like homework or grocery shopping, I then feel guilty when I need to choose myself over the littles. This weekend I took a drive – SOLO – to Target, blasting some 90’s rap music in the minivan and chatting with my sister on the phone. (How did I know I needed this time? I did not. My husband handed me the car keys after a ridiculously long and unnecessary screaming match with my oldest and mouthed the words, “Go. Save yourself.”) I had coffee, company (remote company via the cell phone= even better), music, and sun. Going to get groceries was never so peaceful, I tell ya! Seriously though, that two-hour stint turned my entire weekend around, giving me a bit of breathing room and time to decompress and just be with… well, myself.
It really doesn’t matter if you are a parent who works outside of the home, a stay at home parent, or some status in between. We all need breaks, just different kinds and at different times. Sometimes you need a 2 hour minivan ride solo to Target. Sometimes you need 20 minutes napping on the couch. Sometimes you need a week away with your spouse in Aruba (hey, a gal can dream!). None of the above are things for which to feel guilty about. In the beginning of an already long week, I am writing to remind myself and you of this very fact.
Take your breaks when you can get them. They are good for you, they are needed, and they actually make you a better parent. Acknowledge the guilt and let it run through your fingers. Then just let it go. These feelings can be simultaneous – loving your children to the depths of eternity, and also needing time for yourself. Give unto yourself what you need so that you can give others a better you.
- * Disclaimer * This evening’s blog post has been proudly supported and generated by the “HE TOUCHED MY TOY!” and “MOOOOMMMMMM YOU’RE THE MEANEST GIRL” and “I DON’T WANT A RED CUP EVER I TOLD YOU I HATE IT!” comments of my children this evening. Thank you for the inspiration, kids. Now get to bed so Mom can take some Netflix and chill time for your own safety. Sweet dreams.