If you're like most moms, you are a professional multi-tasker. You juggle the management of home, raising of kids and development of a career. The responsibilities are endless. But as much as you generally enjoy and even thrive in your action-packed lifestyle, there are times when it just doesn't seem fun any more. Occasionally, your day-to-day routine may become monotonous, exhausting, or even overwhelming. It's times like these when a little break may be in order.
But how can a busy mother take time off from her chaotic life? Below, some real moms describe how they can tell when they need a break, how they find ways to get away, and, most importantly, how they feel when they return to reality.
Soak in the Tub
There are many signs that I need a break. I may call my kids the wrong names and lose my temper with them more often; give them snacks just to keep them quiet; forget to pack their lunches; and wake up and go to bed with a headache. I get away by doing any of the following things by myself: Take a walk; a long, relaxing bath; treat myself to a spa day (massage is great!); or go to lunch or dinner with friends. After my time away, I feel refreshed and thankful for my children. I'm much more patient, forgiving, calm, and happy to be a mom again.
--Dorothy Lagarde, mother of three from Covington, Louisiana
Shop 'Til You Drop
Last time I needed a break, I was so stressed that I got sick -- literally. After spending a whole day in bed, I knew I needed some relief. I quickly made plans with a friend to go to Chicago, where we stayed at an expensive hotel, shopped along Michigan Avenue, and treated ourselves to an extravagant meal or two. It was decadent, but it was exactly the escape from reality I needed. Now we are thinking of making it an annual trip!
--Dottie Pak, mother of three from Birmingham, Alabama
Get it in Writing
The signs I need a break are obvious. I'm short on patience and irritable about everything. No one can do anything right and I even notice the kids fighting a lot more. You know the old saying, "When Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!" The best way to release some of life's stresses, anxieties, and frustrations is by journaling. Getting it down on paper really provides me with some mental relief, especially if I continue with it regularly. I write the first words and thoughts that surface. I write until my mind is blank. I've learned a lot from my pages of jumbled thoughts and sentence fragments, and feel much better afterward. It also helps remind me of all the things I'm thankful for, which is sometimes hard to do when you let yourself drown in the challenges of motherhood.
--Yvie Sharp, mother of two from Dallas, Texas
To Grandmother's House We Go
When Hurricane Katrina forced my family to relocate to another state yet my husband's job still needed him in New Orleans, I learned quickly what it is like to be a single mother. Practically overnight, I acquired all of the responsibilities that had previously been shared by two parents. I was waking up earlier and going to bed later to get everything done, and the sleep deprivation took its toll on me. I was anxious and irritable, and I would snap at the girls much more than usual. I was overwhelmed! In order to get a break, I would ask a friend or relative if they could keep the children for a night. That way, I could get a full night's rest. It is amazing how much better I felt, and how much more I could handle once I was caught up on my sleep!
--Anne Redd, mother of two from New Orleans, Louisiana
Boys Will Be Boys
When my funny son annoys me -- rather than makes me giggle -- I know I'm due for a break. On these occasions, I rely on my husband to give me some time to myself. If my husband can take over when he gets home from work, I can decompress. Simply cooking dinner alone makes me feel like a new woman by the time we sit down to eat. When I need a bigger break, my husband will take our son out for a "boys' night" and I'm allowed the distinct luxury of being alone in my own house. These evenings alone fill me with a renewed sense of calm.
--Nancy Calkins, mother of one from Phoenix, Arizona
Meagan R. Dubreuil is a freelance writer, and the mother of three young children, in Covington, Louisiana.
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