Are you a mom who knows she needs a break from her routine life (basically kids) and feels guilty about it? It took me seven years to take that step and the only guilt I carry right now is that why didn’t I take this sooner? I am a stay-at-home mother (SAHM), but I am sure many moms, irrespective of the fact that they are working or SAHMs, feel the same way I do. There is a constant desperation to break free from the responsibilities and, at the same time a sense of utter helplessness that stops you.
Whether you are a mother, who goes out to work or one who stays put, most of us eventually end up feeling that the entire household is your responsibility. Especially, the SAHMs have an affirmed predicament that the house cannot run without you and the kids will not survive a day in your absence. Dads also become secondary caregivers with little to no trust at all when it comes to taking care of the kids (especially if they are very small). You wonder many times if it is all just in your head or really is the case. But who would take that risk? Not you!
Did you know that there is actually a term coined in the 1980s called ‘parental burnout’? It is described as a parent being emotionally, physically, and mentally burned out due to the responsibilities revolving around raising a child.
You know what that burnout feels like. Every parent (especially a mother) knows! So, I am not going to list down the studies that have indicated how a mentally healthy mom raises happy and resilient kids.
Extremities of these burnouts can lead to anxiety and depression in mothers, if not taken seriously. Even if you think your condition is not that bad, your frustration can still be seen in your day-to-day behavior. Getting angry at small things and being edgy or emotional are also signs that you need a break from the pandemonium.
The worst part is that mostly we take it out on the kids.
Things you can consider if you are leaving your kids for the first time ever:
If you are prepared well, you will be more relaxed to leave them and enjoy yourself for a while. Find the points below that will help you do so.
- Prepare them in advance. My kids are almost 5 and 7. They have a fair understanding now that there can be a situation where mom is not present. However, they couldn’t fathom why would mom be going on a vacation when they would be stuck at home. So you need to prepare your story accordingly. And remember, a bit of white lies to keep everyone happy won’t do much harm.
- Dads need to be at their best. Dads need to buckle up and be at their best. My children had a day planned with meals at their favorite restaurants, visiting a gaming arcade, list of TV shows to watch at home. This kept them excited and eager to spend time with Daddy.
- Plan a feasible outing. No wonder even the thought of a break is so thrilling but you need to be realistic as well. If you are a breastfeeding mother, a single mother, or someone on a budget, your outing should be set taking into consideration all the necessary parameters. The last thing you want is to come back and regret it. It can range from a day at the spa to a weekend getaway, in whatever way that suits your feasibility and convenience.
In the end, all you have to believe is that it is alright. Take that leap of faith and go ahead with your plans. Pick your girls or go solo, but just go!
What about parents who can’t go on a ‘vacation’?
You might still be stuck in that phase (new moms) where leaving your baby and stepping out for long hours might not be a possibility. Does that mean you do not deserve a break? Absolutely not! You very much do as any other!
- Talk to your girlfriend and vent out.
- Go for some retail therapy.
- Find the time and do a meditation where you focus on yourself (body and breathing) for a while.
- Go for a walk (or exercise), whatever makes you feel good about yourself
- Visit a cafe nearby, read a book, or just enjoy the coffee
- Ask someone to take the baby out for a while and have that time alone in the house
The list can keep going on, all you need is the intention. Just experience it and let me know how that felt.