Needing a break does not make you bad mom

A hundred years ago, I knew how to relax (Charleston SC August 2006)

Can I say that ANY MORE CLEARLY??

All over the internet (and in real life) I hear moms say “I wish I got a day off” or “I could use a break” or “When do I get a sick day?” or “I can’t wait to go on that vacation”. But those statements are ALWAYS prefaced by this:

“I love my kid, but…”

Without fail.

Usually it’s a lot more than just “I love my kid” too. Sometimes it’s whole paragraphs and posts and speeches about how they are the luckiest women on the planet, with darling, adorable, well-behaved children, super awesome supportive husbands, perfect magazine-cover lives and great hair. They just…need a minute. Maybe two. And a cocktail.

I’m not saying I DON’T love my kid. I am just as guilty as everyone else of worrying people will think I’m a terrible mother if I want him to go away sometimes. He’s exhausting. It’s not so much that feeding and caring for one small child is incredibly strenuous – heck, you can pay a teenager to keep your kid alive for a few hours for less than minimum wage and most of them are happy to do it – but EVERY DAY ALL THE TIME NO STOPPING NO BREAKS will make you crazy.

For the record, here’s what happened when I got my break: There was absolutely no whining. I stayed out late. I called to check in and was happy to hear everything was fine. I was not a sobbing, teary mess at being separated from my kid for a couple days, although when I got back I was actually HAPPY to let him climb all over me instead of wanting to claw my skin off and hide under the covers. It was glorious.

And I’m going to do it again.

I’m not saying if you DO cry when you’re away from your baby there’s something wrong with you – it took me more that a year of NEVER being away from Baby Evan to get to the point where I could even consider leaving for a weekend. But there’s no “Saddest Mommy” medal being handed out to the person with the most tears and guilt. Let it go. Recharge. Have a cocktail. Get away.


It might just make you a better mom.

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8 Responses to “Needing a break does not make you bad mom”

  1. Amen. When it becomes hard to handle the daily grind of life, sometimes you need to step away. Others can pick up the slack. Killing yourself does not make you a better parent.

  2. Amy says:

    From someone who is going on “vacation” to visit friends alone for the first time in my life next weekend, THANK YOU. Even though I’ll only be gone Friday to Sunday, I’ve gotten a whole lot of flack from some people about leaving my husband and baby for the weekend. Really, (I was actually thinking of writing a related post sometime soon) I’ve been a wife for three years, and mom for a little over one and somewhere in there, I lost “me.” Just because I’m going away to have fun with friends doesn’t mean I hate my life or husband or son; it means I think I’ll be a more effective, more well-rounded, happier mom when I get back. I’m still me, but you can lose that sometimes, and hey, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

  3. Well said. I had my first break a few weekends ago and it was just a day and it was awesome.

  4. Amy says:

    You are so right, but it is so difficult to actually get away. The guilty feeling is so strong, but I do definitely need a break…

  5. Emmie Bee says:

    I LOVE me some breaks. Seriously. I want one NOW since I haven’t showered since Sunday & I have a set of VERY cranky twins. Tonight after the kids are asleep I am meeting my friends for drinks & I am not even feeling guilty leaving the hubs at home with the kids!

  6. SarahMC says:

    I’m glad you came to this conclusion!

  7. i SO need to make it a point in my life to have a break more often. Im really bad at it. I need it for my sanity. SOON. I’m gonna do it.

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