There are times we’ve been stretched to our limits. We have too much on our plates. We never have time to ourselves – not even when we go to the restroom (do children have a built-in alarm that alerts them?).
At night, when everyone is tucked in, we think we’ll finally be able to relax. We begin to. On the exhale of our first deep breath, a child cries out in nightmare or someone needs a drink or a child remembers homework that’s due the next day.
Unwinding does not happen. And, frequently, when it does – winding down means staying up late.
Taking a week off sounds like a dream. But, sometimes it is a necessity. We need to refuel and recharge. We need that break in order to be the best parent for our child. It can be done. It just might take a bit of creativity.
Call in the troops. We all have our list of people to call in case of emergency. Most of our friends and family members are willing to help even when there is no emergency. Arrange for some special grandparent-child time. Ask a friend to take your child for a day… or two. Load up your child’s schedule so that your load will decrease. If your daughter stays for a class after school, pick up time comes an hour later!
Be ok with it. Too often, the roadblock to taking time for ourselves is guilt. Let it go! (I feel a new rendition of a popular Disney song coming on) It’s time to start believing that time for ourselves will only benefit our families. Not only are we worth it – we deserve it, and our children do too.
Our space will be invaded. Know from the start that your week or day off will not go perfectly, but it’s better than nothing. And, it will be worthwhile. Try as we might to create our ideal – it probably won’t unfold perfectly. Be okay with that, anticipate it, and you won’t be let down.
I remember my first weekend getaway after becoming a parent very clearly. I went away with a friend to celebrate our 40th birthdays. We were in the airport when I received a call from my husband – my middle son had disappeared and couldn’t be found anywhere. I asked where my mom, who had come in town to lend a hand, was and he told me she was out walking. I called her cell phone and asked if she could go home to help find my son. Her reply? “What do you think I’m doing walking around the neighborhood?”
Oh, my heart sank. It was difficult to be away. It was frightening. As it turned out, he was under my bed trying to avoid being taken to preschool. It ended well, but it “tainted” my ideal plan, if you know what I mean.
I haven’t had another getaway like that in more than several years, but I still realize how important recharging my batteries are. I use the techniques above – calling family members or friends, giving myself permission to take a day off, and erasing my calendar – to help me reenergize. I’ve noticed the benefits my children reap, and I hope you will too.