|This post originally appeared on Muddy Little Toes where I was previously a co-contributor.|
After my daughter was born, I remember thinking, “How could anyone ever get tired of being with their kids?” I know what you might be thinking: “That chick was seriously sleep deprived if that’s what was going through her mind.” Yes. I was extremely sleep deprived. But I also remember feeling so amazed by all the little things I saw my daughter learning and how she seemed to grow overnight. However, I also remember the days when I felt like I couldn’t take another moment of being mom to my beautiful, screaming, daughter. My husband would come home from work and I’d hand him our baby and shut myself in the bathroom for a half hour just to get a little alone time.
Now I have two kids and while I love them with all my heart, I just can’t keep them entertained all day, every day. And honestly, I think sometimes they get a little tired of me too! And now I’m going to tell you a secret: it’s totally OK, even normal, to want a break from your kids. To take some time away from them. Time away from being mom. Time away from the stresses of running a household. Time away from breaking up sibling fights and trying to think of creative ways to keep your kids busy for a few minutes so you can use the bathroom without an audience (can I get an amen?).
Thankfully, I’ve been blessed with a husband who actually pushes me out of the house as I’m reminding him to give the kids a bath before bed and not let our daughter have a treat because she didn’t eat enough for dinner. “What am I going to do by myself?” I say to him. “I don’t know. Just go somewhere,” he tells me. So I do. Sometimes I run an errand that I’ve been putting off because I didn’t want to take the kids with me. Other times, I wander aimlessly around a store. And then sometimes I just bring a book with me and read it at the park. This time away from my kids rejuvenates me and restores my energy. It gives me space to organize my thoughts.
But there are also times when being by myself isn’t what I want. I want to be with my friends, doing something we enjoy. Whether it’s chatting over sandwiches at Kneaders, discussing a book at the neighborhood book club, having backyard BBQs or going to see a chick-flick, it’s time with friends. Friends who, for the most part, are going through the same stage in their life with their own kids as I am with mine. They get me. They get my struggles. My frustrations. They know how it feels to have a child completely potty trained, only to have them regress. They also share in my successes, like getting up and exercising before the kids wake up. This time away with my friends boosts me up and reminds me that I’m not alone.
When I come home and walk back through my door, I’m always greeted with hugs and cries of “It’s Mommy!” My kids are happy to see me after my time away. And I’m happy to see them too. I also know I’ll probably need another break from them next week. And it’s OK.