I’ll start with a disclaimer: I am going to assume that most parents don’t find their children 100% amazing and brilliant and lovely and entertaining all of the time. Some of you super-parents might make it to 99.5% of the time, but I reckon most of us fall short of that. Most times your kids are awesome, but even awesome occasionally screams, kicks, refuses to eat their dinner or picks their nose. Sometimes kids are brats.
So – if you can – take a break. Even half an hour can really help. A trip to the shops on your own to get some milk can feel like a spa retreat if your kids have been driving you bonkers all day asking why is grass green and not blue (you can try and explain photosynthesis, but good luck with that)
Here are five reasons why you should take a break if you can:
To use the toilet:
It’s a well known adage that parents can’t wee in peace. Either you’re so paranoid your week old baby will somehow manage to levitate into the garden and be eaten by your neighbours devil-cat that you take the poor mite in with you, or you’ve got an inquisitive toddler next to you saying “Mummy, what are you doing? Are you going to trump? Will there be a poo? What colour is it? Can we watch Peppa now?” which really puts you off your business.
Just. Leave. Them. Outside.
Providing house is sufficiently baby proofed and you’ve removed all arts and crafts activities before hand (wall painting anyone?) then there’s not a lot they can do in the two minutes you’ll be in there, in peace (except for the hammering on the door and the yelling and the…sigh)
To have a shower:
It’s 11am and you stink. You’re so tired you have tried to put the kettle in the fridge and left the remote control in the cupboard. You can’t remember if you brushed your hair last yesterday or the day before. You’re pretty sure there’s sick in your cleavage again. Put baby in the moses basket or bouncy chair and just have a shower. Being clean on the outside totally refreshes the inside too.
Have an afternoon of me-time
This might be shopping. It might be watching the football with a sneaky pint. It might even be the gym, if you’re a bit weird and think that’s fun (it isn’t). If you are feeding baby yourself you will probably only be able to manage a few hours before you hit exploding boobs-ville, but it’s a great way of re-setting yourself before you get back into the fray. It’s hard suddenly becoming the owner of a small and insistent creature that wants your attention for every single second of the day. Take some time out!
To have a night out:
A night out can be brilliant. It might be with your equally knackered significant other (you’ll spend all night talking about baby and looking at pictures of baby but it’s a start) or it might be with friends. In either case, being yourself just for an evening is just so FREEING. Almost like taking your bra off after a long day. Yeah you know what I’m talking about (I don’t know what the boy equivalent is – please enlighten me!)
For a weekend:
This is probably the hardest one, and not everyone has super-willing granny’s desperate to spoil their grandchild rotten and ruin all your carefully implemented routines with chocolate and late nights, but if you can, get away for a while. You might actually get to…whisper it…sleep! And have long showers, and lesuirely breakfasts that don’t involve picking cheerio’s out of nostrils and ears, and just relax. Plus you end up missing them so much that it recharges you for your next round of super-parenting. Do it!
This post first appeared on Huffington Post. You can check out my profile if you want!