Many mothers feel guilty about that feeling of “I need a break.” I want to share with you how I listen to my needs and keep a healthy balance through my daily escape.
You know the feeling…
Your chest tightens up and your head spins.
Closing your eyes and shaking your head slowly, you reach way down take a breath. Are you an MMA fighter summoning up the strength for the final punch?
Are you a rescue diver about to plunge into the dark and dangerous waters? No…
You are a stay-at-home mom at around 1:30 PM.
I’M TALKING ABOUT ME
Yes, I am one of those mom’s who requires a daily escape. I require it for my sanity and for the wellness of my entire household. ;)
It hasn’t always been easy to “escape”.
When I first became a mom, I wanted to be super mom. I felt as though I was failing if I couldn’t do 100% of everything 100% of the time.
Homeschooling, being a pastor’s wife, Sunday school teacher, music minister, maintaining a perfectly clean home, keeping up with all the farm in-and-outs… that’s just the beginning.
You want to know what happened? Burn-out. Why? Not because I’m a failure. But because I’M HUMAN.
So, realizing that I do better with a daily escape was important. But let’s be real…. it’s not always easy to achieve. There is sooo much going on each day, that finding time for me is a challenge.
What I’ve learned over the years is this:
- Plan, plan, plan. There are day’s when I’m not sure when I can “escape”, but I’m going to be ready with my book, journal, my workout plan, game, painting, or calm music… whatever it is. I’m planning ahead to be sure It’s not a hassle to have the “me time” I deserve. *Set yourself up for success.
- Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility. Not only every day is the same. I’ll take it further- not every season of life or developmental stage of kids is the same. I’m a mom… that’s my first job. I have to be flexible to their needs. But, that doesn’t mean I totally give myself up either.
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Let’s define some things.
Some people shy away from the word “escape”. It has a negative connotation. Like how dare you want to “escape” from your life, etc?
That is clearly not what I mean.
In fact, I think taking the time or my daily escape is a beautiful thing that causes me peace and balance.
A daily escape is…
- A brain break
- Rest- shutting down for a bit
- Keeping up with the things you love to do
- Finding your center again
- Having a fun hobby in the midst of changing diapers
- Maintaining your identity
- Traveling to faraway places in a book
- Keeping up with your physical fitness
- Doing nothing
A daily escape is not…
- Doing the things others ask of you
- Laundry ;)
- An expensive and elaborate hobby that causes you to feel guilty later
- Neglecting your kids while you hide in the bathroom and play on your phone
- The same thing every day
- Required to last the same amount of time each day
My “daily escape” has two main components- quiet time & personal space.
First of all, for my daily escape, I plan ahead. If I’m working on a paining, I will leave the materials out where I can easily got to them.
If I’m flushing out a song, I will keep my notes and sheet music on the piano. Having materials handy is key for me.
Secondly, I force myself to put out of my mind all the things that I need to have done today. When my quiet time comes, I give myself that grace.
Building up guilt is the enemy to accomplishing a healthy mental escape.
Thirdly, I seize the moment. When my children were toddlers, it was usually their nap time. Now, it’s when they are studying quietly on a topic for school or having their “quiet reading time”.
True story- the other day I took my “daily escape” while youngest was at baseball practice. I pushed my oldest out of the vehicle and made him sit in a folding chair outside with his book.
For me, a “daily escape” is necessary.
I know that everyone is different, but I do believe that all mothers can benefit from a time or rest. A time to balance out the day and re-center.
I want you to know that it’s possible…
No-matter what age your kid’s are, you deserve your mental sanity.
For me, it’s necessary in all the hustle and bustle to take the time I need and pour back into myself. During those quiet times I am able to listen for God’s voice and re-set my brain. I always come out feeling more appreciative of all the blessings in my life.
And- ready to tackle the rest of my day.
Thank you! I have 3–ages 7, 6, and almost 5, and then just had a lil tag along. I too homeschool (as I was), but with the huge load of school, the house (dishes, laundry, etc.), meals, and relationships, I find myself absolutely wearing ragged… and feel guilty about taking an official break. I know I must as my health is starting to crash (like it did postpartum last time, and took 3 years to get better), but somehow even that knowledge doesn’t help jolt me loose from the guilt of not plowing ever ahead.
Rachel Norman says
It’s so hard and the guilt is strong. You can take time for yourself to be able to love them well in other times :)