Saturday, 23 April 2016

What Moms Google - Do you need a TIME OUT?

It's time for #whatmomsgoogle where Saucy Simply Shaunacey and I team up to answer the questions we moms are all googling about pregnancy and our littles under the age of three! We don't promise to be right but we do promise to be real.

This week's google search is all about something that we all apparently feel bad about but that we also all NEED...

Today we're talking time-outs for moms.

Am I a bad mom for needing a break? 

I am sure I'm going to get some hate mail about being a terrible mother. That's fine. Lately I'm over trying to be a "good" mom or to not be a "bad" mom. Looking back at my childhood, I don't ever remember assessing whether my mom was good or bad. She was MOM and I looked up to her and if she was okay, I was okay. She didn't parent exactly like Mrs. Smith or Mrs. Jones and I don't think she cared one bit. We kids sure didn't.

There seems to be a resurgence of mom guilt with the small world of technology. (Shaunacey wrote a powerful post on eliminating mom guilt). Being a mother is a core piece of who I am. It defines me but it's not the only thing that defines me. I'm also a wife. I'm a teacher. I'm a friend. I'm a writer.

Raising two girls, I want them to see those parts of me too. I never want them to feel like they are a hindrance to creative expression and I never want to squish those desires and resent my kids. Instead, I take deliberate time-outs. Emily even asked me the other day, "Mom, do you need a time-out?" Um... yes I do. 

When I give my toddler a "time-out" it clears her head and allows her to sort through whatever she's feeling and change her attitude so that she can come back and function well with others again.

So, should YOU take a time-out? YES.  

In my limited experience, there is no other job so all-consuming as parenting. You need a break to stay healthy so that you can come back and function well with others too. As an introvert, one of the hardest parts of adjusting to parenting for me has been NEVER BEING ALONE. I need a break to reset and lately, since I've been dealing with postpartum anxiety, I really need it. Maybe your personality requires more or less time away, but taking some time for yourself is invaluable to your own health and the health of your family (See this article on how being 'selfish' improved marriage and parenting).

Shaunacey and I both took larger "time-outs" recently. She headed off to Vegas for a few days of blogging fun and I spent a night away from my family with a friend at the lake. 

I know, I know. You're already saying, "Well that's nice for THEM. I can't..."

Stop. Just stop. I'm not saying you have to pack up and leave your family. In fact, just like going on "vacation" is no longer relaxing with small children, taking time away from them isn't necessarily relaxing either.  

It kind of goes like this:

  1. Immense relief, independence and quiet. 
  2. Guilt over being away. 
  3. Worry about the kids. 
  4. Being even more tired and coming home to start all over but several days behind.
In the stage of littles, it is hard to be present and it is hard to be away. When I was holding my month-old firstborn, a good friend looked me directly in the eye and said, "You will get your independence back. I promise." It was the most encouraging thing I could have heard and the most relief I have ever felt. Moms of eighteen-year-olds assure me that this stage ends and that we will miss it, but right now, it's still hard. 

You guys, here are a few breaks that I wouldn't have even considered before having kids:
  • Grocery Shopping. 
  • Medical Appointments
  • Work Meetings.
  • Having a Shower
Am I right, ladies?
If the quiet aisles of Target or Walmart are looking like heaven to you right now, here are a few creative ways to get a "real" break in your every day life:
1. Partner up. 
Why not trade babysitting with a friend? Look after her kids one day and then pawn your children off on her another. It's cheap and it's a huge relief for both of you.
2. Find an activity with drop-in daycare
I ran a half-marathon after my first daughter was born. Why? Because I exercised without my child. Enough said. 

3. Tap Out.
While it's important to spend time together as a family, carve out some time when your spouse can take the kids and you can vamoose... and then actually leave the house. It is incredibly unlikely that you will actually get a break if you stay.

4. Call in the favours. 
Auntie? Grandma? That nice 13-year-old learning to babysit? Take them all up on it.

Is it worth it? 

YES. Whether it's just a walk without a stroller or a drive without the soundtrack of Frozen, breathing in and out alone or drinking coffee from a breakable cup might just give you some room to be still. To take in the strength you need to go home and be the mother you want to be, good enough or bad ass but always exactly who your kids need.

Now rush over to see what breaking news Shaunacey has for you. See what I did there?

AND don't forget to come back next week to see how we answer your burning mom questions... or questions about burning something. Whatever.
Click HERE to ask... you know you want to.

  While we take our expert advice giving status seriously, you still have to make your own decisions... 
like whether you will nap in the car during your time out or stream Netflix at McDonalds. No judgment. 
Also, you might want to get out $20 cash
No need for spousal awareness of every chicken finger you eat
Just sayin'. 


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