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Take a Break, Mom

May 01, 2015 02:50PM ● Published by Savannah Ludwig

Are you tired, teary, exhausted, and frustrated? Mothers get overrun by a lot — children, work, home, and emotional upheaval. When you want to run screaming out of your house and never look back, do you feel guilty? You shouldn't. We can't be moms every second of the day. We need to be us once in a while. Do you remember who you are? Many women don't. But time away can give us new perspective. When you're feeling like glass ground into the pavement, it's time to take some steps.

Dump the kids. It sounds mean, but it's necessary. In order to take that deep breath and assess, the kids have to go. Not permanently, but a few hours would be nice! The lack of responsibility, negotiations, back-talk, screaming, yelling, and tears will go far to help you relax. Take advantage of a neighbor, friend, husband, mother, or even a babysitter. And consider that you might need more than a few hours. There are retreats where you can get away for a few days. They might be right up your alley, depending upon your situation.

If you manage to get a few hours, do not spend them picking or washing up, dusting, folding, or feeling guilty for thinking about yourself. Those hours are precious, so use them wisely. Take a nap, call a friend you haven't spoken with in ages, punch a punching bag if you have some excess frustration to work out, or start a journal. Engage in activities that help you clear your mind and focus your thoughts. So many women feel that this is unacceptable when you're a mom. They feel that everyone else should come first, but if you aren't there for yourself, how can you be there for your family?

For those lucky few who manage to get a few days for a retreat, go prepared to relax your mind, body, and soul. Take books, music, or simply some mental exercises for meditations. If you can, soak in some natural hot springs, walk hand-in-hand with nature, ride a horse, or just think about who you are as a woman. We all need a sense of identity, and it is not wrong to seek it as someone other than a mom, grandmother, wife, etc. Take advantage of this time away to think about your interests. Are there activities you'd like to do but push away because you believe you can't afford them? Try to think about how you could work those activities into your daily, weekly, or monthly life. If you are budget-constrained, look to where you spend money. Don't feel selfish contemplating the possibility of cutting back on your children's extra-curricular activities if it means you could fit some in for yourself. Examine your future life as objectively as possible, when your children will be grown and gone. Who will you be then?

Be strong and be brave. It might be frightening to start the process of self-examination, but it can be liberating, as well. Seek a sense of identify outside of your family and see new vistas open up to you. Make time for yourself as often as you can, even if you have to schedule it. See yourself not as a liability, but as an important asset. Once you get past the notion that if you're a mother you can't be anyone else, you will find a sense of peace. 

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