Taking a Break Feels Like Failing, But You're Not!
So this week marks the first time I have spent the whole week, without my two oldest kids. Their Grandmother, my mom, has generously offered to take them from last Friday to this Friday. And let me tell you it has been a game-changer.
I have always been one of those types of moms who say, “I am home with my kids because it’s the best thing for them and for me.” I have always been the type to feel like I can do it; because if my hard working mom of 4, could manage having all of us and holding down a stressful job, why wouldn’t I be able to, while only having 3 and being home full time? I always inwardly cringe whenever anyone offers to help by taking one or more of my kids, because I know they are a handful in their love of life and learning and crazy play and they crave interactions most of all. But I am also the mom who recently became a full-on-yeller, I became the mom who wants just 3 minutes alone in the bathroom to pee, without hearing fighting from the living room. I also recently began comparing them vs anyone else, “You see that girl over there, she behaves for her mommy why don’t you?” I caught myself saying.
I have needed a break since I can’t tell when, and I didn’t even realise that I needed one. And you know what? I got it. My mother doesn’t owe me anything in her old age. I’m not one of those daughters who says, well your parents helped you raise us, now you help me raise mine. I won't say to her, “now that you retired you can just take my kids for me now.” But I also know that when she came to me last week and said, can I just take them home with me for two days? I was nearing my summer breaking point, I was full up on fighting and playdates and all kinds of things that happen when you have 3 kids of various ages and they are home for two months straight, not to mention a pretty rough, hectic school year.
“Sure,” I said, fully expecting that in a few days I would have to drive an hour down the freeway to pick them up, she is 63 after all and gets tired easily and is sweet but a little sharp around the edges, and she is hard of hearing. I thought for sure they would wear on each other's nerves quicker than 6 days. But here I am on the 6th day and bonus they picked up their cousin yesterday too and are still going strong. They will return tomorrow and I have never felt more relaxed in the last 6+ years since I first became a mother of two or more and 10+ years of being a mom. I had the baby home the whole time, so I wasn’t childless this week. But I enjoyed getting to know my newest little one better, she loves to play, she is funny and expressive, and for only being 17 months old she is already super sharp about routines and our family dynamic.
SO this week has taught me something; asking and/or receiving help sometimes as a parent, doesn’t always mean you are failing, knowing you need a break means you are doing it right. Your kids get the best of you and especially when you have multiple children, sometimes the “you” that you are giving can get worn down and needs to recharge and continue to give them all you offer. So breaks are more than just nice little nuggets of time between mountains of parenting moments, they are essential to being the best parent you can be.