For what seems like the 10th time today, I’m frustrated at one of my kids. I am ashamed to admit that I have yelled way too much this morning. After a week of sickness (me and various children), a night of interrupted sleep, and cold weather that has kept us inside, I am ready to snap. It’s not a nice place to be and I know I need to do something about it fast. I need a break from my kids.
No, I’m not going to take off for the weekend. I don’t have the luxury of an on-call babysitter. But I do know how to get back on track to being a loving, patient mom instead of the frazzled person I was this morning.
Why might you need a break?
Even the most dedicated and patient mother needs a break every now and then. Your reasons may be different from mine. Do any of these sound familiar?
- New baby
- Health issues in the family (yours or someone else’s)
- Super busy day
- Not enough sleep
- Financial worries
How I get a break in the midst of our busy day.
Sometimes I can’t wait for afternoon quiet time to get in a break.
Sometimes a sick child has kept me up at night so that I am over-tired the next morning. Sometimes bad news pushes me to seek some quiet for a moment. Or maybe I am overwhelmed by the demands of our family and our current struggles. I admit it happens all too frequently.
When this happens, I take a short break. Any of these things can re-ground me and redeem my day:
- A phone call to a friend (not too long or the kids start getting into trouble)
- Put on upbeat music.
- Sit the little ones down to read a picture book. Let the to-do list wait.
- Spend a quick 10 minutes outside with the kids. Fresh air and sunshine work wonders for my mood!
- Clean something up. Our home is no stranger to messes but when it gets out of control, I get stressed out. Clearing off a countertop or washing the dishes really helps my mood.
- If all else fails, I take a couple deep breaths while counting to 10.
The bonus is that most of these things help my kids’ attitudes too. We are all happier afterward.
When possible, I try to schedule in breaks in advance.
Just one hour once a week with a friend, with or without kids, can change my entire week. Some other possibilities for scheduled breaks:
- babysitting swap
- early morning
- a weekly retreat
- put the kids to bed early (or give them a movie night) and have date night at home
I feel so much better now after our afternoon quiet time. I know my kids will, too. My kids need me to be a great mom. A break helps me to do just that.
Have you taken a break today? What do you do when you need a break?
Photos by Elliot Brown.