5 Signs You Need a Parenting Break. Now.
5 Signs You Need a Parenting Break. Now.
Parenting can drown you. It can overwhelm you to the point of making you feel like you are on the edge of something unavoidable. A tipping point where you either regain your balance or you find yourself lashing out. Everyone now and then needs a break, and perhaps no one more so than parents. As mothers and fathers we find ourselves cascading from one day to the next lost in a haze of muddy clothes and snack packs. We bounce between mealtimes and travel times and find ourselves caught in time loops that feel both somehow fleeting and eternal. Is it Tuesday again? I hadn’t noticed. Here are some red flags that you can watch out for that will let you know if you are due for a respite from the kiddos.
When was the last time you had a conversation with another adult that wasn’t centered around your children? More than that, when was the last time you sounded like a grown ass adult in a conversation? There are only so many refrains of The Wheels on the Bus that the human ear can stomach. Pushing those limits is unwise. Whether you’re stuck talking a toddler onto a potty, or trying to mediate a battle between six year olds, you need to speak like an adult to other adults or else you will, and I think this is science, go mental. Conversing in concert with the monosyllabic, even if they are your teenagers, is only advancing the course of our species so far. Be a part of the solution, friends. Talk like a grown up.
Maybe you think of it as the land where dishes go to multiply and die. Or maybe you just can’t stand the taste of your own cooking anymore even though you are Jean Freakin Georges. Whatever your kitchen is to you, it should serve as the hearth of the home, not a source of anxiety. If the kitchen feels like just one more space you have to clean maybe you need some time away from it. Take a night off. Let the dishes soak if you have to, or if someone else will do them all the better. Let someone else do the cooking too. Order takeout, or gasp, actually go to a restaurant. Get yourself vaccinated of course before you head out there into the big bad.
Speaking of COVID surely our fashion sense has been amongst its greatest victims. I’m sure Instagram is full of people who are dressing up even in quarantine. But some of us are raising toddlers out here. I’m lucky everyday if I don’t wind up purple with my hands full of poop. Fashion to me is what is stain resistant and comfortable. I am not here for Vogue. God bless you if that’s your thing, but I am just trying to make it to nap time over here. If you are like me and the last time you got dressed up public hugging was a common occurrence then maybe you are due for a night out on the town. Or at least, you know, a night where you change into the good sweats.
Yes, you need to have stayed awake the whole time for it to count. Have you taken in anyone else’s creations or created something yourself lately? How about doing both? Why are we here if not to enrich our souls through art? I truly believe art is as necessary as air. We need fiction and painting to thrive. Broadway Babysitters believes that children need art. I believe in that mission, or else I wouldn’t put my name on their platform. You need to refill the well for your kids. How are you going to tell them one day how amazing Godfather 1 and 2 are and how they can just skip right on past 3 because ugh, with Sofia, it’s a mess, if you don’t have this valuable piece of knowledge at your fingertips? You need the time now to have your Godfather film festival night, to benefit them someday. For your kids’ future, get some culture.
I am here to tell you that I have gripped my child’s wrist too tightly and yelled at her too loudly. It’s only happened a few times, but it has happened, and I take full responsibility for it. I do not believe in corporal punishment, so these actions for me crossed some invisible line that I have where I knew that I had personally gone too far. I was never proud after these moments. I always felt awful. Like dirt really. But these things happened and I need to own them. I have felt myself become overwhelmed by my children, and I needed a break. It’s as simple as that. Instead of reacting in anger I needed to step away, and I didn’t. If you find yourself on the edge of crossing your own boundary step back and take a break. Get someone else to watch the kids. Regroup and gather your strength. If you see yourself in this list, there is help! Take a parenting break as soon as it is possible for you to do so. Hire a sitter, or get that spouse, friend, grandparent to step in. Stay sane, parents. It’s a long road ahead. Make sure you are fit for the journey.