Five Ways Parent’s Can Take A Break (and Should!)

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.Β  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?)Β  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)

paint

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.

Sanctuary

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!)

Young couple eating fast food and drinking red wine in a America

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!

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

150 thoughts on “Five Ways Parent’s Can Take A Break (and Should!)

  1. Mr C and I are going away for a break, in the summer, just us. Yes, just us! NO KIDS! Can’t wait although I fear that may discover that we have nothing to talk about again. Arghhh! A break is always good, a break from any routine is a must I think. There is saying on Jersey that is “get off the rock to stay sane” Everyone says you have to get off at least every three months otherwise the smallness of the place can drive you insane!

  2. The only good thing about being a single parent (with my kids’ Dad still around) is the fact that I get a whole weekend to myself once a fortnight – it’s BLISS! And my god I need it by the time I get there…! I don’t understand people that don’t seem to ever want any form of break from their kids, makes me feel a bit guilty… #betamummy (!)
    #KCACOLS

  3. I’m all for a little break every now and again, this is a great list! I also agree, I like to exercise but if I have an afternoon off I’m not doing that to relax!

    #KCACOLS

  4. Love this. I always feel so much better after a shower, I do miss the days of going to the toilet in peace! A child free weekend would be pure bliss..one day maybe xx #kcacols

  5. 5 years into my parenting journey and I still struggle with the shower thing! You’re right though, some days I have to just do it, even if it means showering with both kids in the bathroom with me, attempting to brush their teeth and using the toilet! x #KCACOLS

  6. This post has made me realise that I dont think I get ANY time off….I have Arthur with me all of the time, I don’t have family around to help out or offer childcare and my husband works long hours, often away for days at a time so it’s usually just me. Arthur still has really terrible separation anxiety and if I leave him in a room on his own he gets so upset that he almost stops breathing. Even at night time, I sneak out of the room once he is asleep and then usually get a couple of hours before he wakes up and becomes upset – if I am already in bed then he just comes in with us as he sleeps better which means we get more sleep too! Definitely need to try and make some time for myself though! I have had days when I have snapped at my husband, basically because I think deep down I am jealous about his client lunches, or full night sleeps in hotel rooms or after work drinks with colleagues etc! I definitely neglect ‘me’ ! #KCACOLS

  7. Great list. I am still in the stage that I don’t like the thought of long breaks away from the baby – what a saddo. I do occasionally go places alone though, have had a few girly lunches and drinks just for a few hours without him which has been lovely! When I’m walking around with no pushchair or sling I can’t quite believe how freeing it is. I do always get to shower alone though as B works evenings so is at home until 3pm. I’ve been known to have 30 minute showers! #triballove #KCACOLS

  8. Everybody needs a little ‘Me’ time, even if its just half an hour a day. I spent my Me time usually reading, its good escapism.
    Amanda. #kcacols

  9. This is almost a list of my favourite things to do since I became a parent almost three years ago! I rarely get to do the last one (a weekend away) and its never happened with me and hubs togather, but perhaps one day it will! Fab list and totally agree that these are needed every now and then (some of them everyday) in order to stay sane πŸ˜‰ Emily #KCACOLS

  10. Great post! With a six day old baby I can definitely relate to the point about the shower; before she arrived I washed my hair obsessively once per day; I think I’ve managed to wash it once this week! Must get onto that… #KCACOLS

  11. I managed to have a day out on Friday, the first one without my daughter. I’m so thankful her aunt and family looked after her. My other half makes me take a nap sometimes while he looks after A, which is also lovely. I’m appreciative of all breaks I can take. #KCACOLS

  12. This is such great advice. We had an hour to ourselves the other day and went out for breakfast – it was amazing!!! Who would have thought that a couple of eggs benedict would feel so refreshing!? Not quite up to managing a weekend away yet but we are def up for more nights out (and breakfasts!) #KCACOLS

  13. When I do have time off, I start to feel guilty. Surely that’s not right! Since having my two (aged 1 and 4) I have literally had two over night stays without them. It’s not that I don’t want to leave them, but when I have a night out, I usually stay at my mum’s house and end up taking one or two of the kids with me because they are crap sleepers and I feel bad about leaving them at home with Daddy. What’s wrong with me?! #kcacols

  14. Ha, brill post! And yes – I totally know what you’re talking about. In my house the boy equivalent is basically getting *all* kit off and swinging free… Ahem.

    We’re beginning to think about considering making a plan to write a list for… Our first ever weekend away! We’re yet to leave her overnight so it’s a big deal (not sure how obvious that was?)! We’ll both miss her like crazy, but I think it will be good for us. Although I’m not sure I’ll agree with my hubby that visiting another country is a good idea. Step (or plane journey) too far for mummy.
    #KCACOLS

  15. Haha! It does feel like luxury to have peaceful poo OR pee! I try to go first thing in the morning before anyone is awake. Normally my toddler hears me go in (her room is next to the bathroom) and shouts “GOOD GIRL MUMMY! ARE YOU DOING IT?!” Always makes me crack up.

  16. Just popping back to say still loving this post. Today I will be having a break by getting Mr C to take us all out to Pizza Express #KCACOLS

  17. You are very right in that you need breaks as parents whether just for 10 minutes in the bath or a weekend away. We have tried the latter yet as we don’t really have the support network and Caspian still breastfeeds, but hopefully we’ll get a chance when he’s done with that. Thanks for sharing your tips #KCACOLS

    Nadia – ScandiMummy x

  18. Visiting you again for another read!:) school is the best invention EVER! My kids are always there:) oh apart from now when I’ve taken them on hols….with a kids club, bless!

    Mainy

    #KCACOLS

  19. We’ve started to take advantage of the grandparents a little more now that Taylor’s a little older and have manged a night out! Whoop! To be fair, we were still home by 10.30, but it was so lovely not to have to think about the toddler sat at the table and just enjoy a glass of wine and a chat – yes perhaps we spoke about her way too much though! Totally agree with going to the toilet in peace – our ‘downstairs loo’ is tiny and I often get whacked on the knees as the toddler barges in, maybe I’ll just lock the door from now on πŸ˜‰ x #KCACOLS

  20. Sound advice! Whenever I go out without the kids I feel like I haven’t got enough stuff with me…
    You know there’s usually some big plastic vehicle to haul along because they can’t be bothered to ride it, despite having promised to make it all the way to the shop and back, a bag, nappies, snacks, anything else that makes you feel like you’re a pack horse not a parent… I sometimes look like the start of a game of Buckaroo when I go out.

    Thanks for sharing #KCACOLS

  21. Yes to all of these please! I was given the luxury of a lie in this morning…I still woke up at 7 but I got to lie in bed and do what I wanted while my husband sorted the little one out! Hooray! We had a couple of nights away last summer and left T with my parents. It. Was. Brilliant. Would definitely say go for it to anyone who’s unsure! T had a fab time and we were so relaxed and refreshed! #KCACOLS

  22. Great post! I totally agree it’s important to have time away from the little darlings even if that just means going round Tesco. It’s so important to have couple time too. It’s easy to take each other for granted when you’re tired and covered in baby sick! #kcacols

  23. Im a big believer in a bit of time to recharge your batteries away from the kids. Last month we had a weekend away and it was great. You forget what it’s like to go places without checking that the change bag is fully stocked or eating a meal to yourself. And visiting museums and being able to read all the information on the displays was a revelation! We did miss the girls but we returned refreshed #KCACOLS

  24. Ah so important to escape those little ones – I quite enjoy the 5 minute walk to the corner shop on my own or better still 20 minutes in the park with the dog. I never quite manage to escape to the loo though…. thanks for co-hosting #KCACOLS

  25. Any kind of break including going to the toilet alone is great. I feel bad saying it but look forward to the mornings that my youngest is at preschool because it gives me a break and some quiet!! Thanks for hosting #KCACOLS x

  26. The only kid free time I get at the moment seems to be when I’m at work! Hardly a break really. I’m longing for a weekend away, need to start giving the OH a bit more of a hint! (I NEED A BREAK!!!-GET IT BOOKED!) I won’t hold my breath though #KCACOLS

    1. Good luck! Keep badgering. And suggesting all the things you might get to do on a weekend away that you might not at home…!

  27. Totally agree with all of these… I don’t feel guilty for having child-free weekends away every now and again… Am very lucky to have amazing in-laws to help out… We all need a bit of me-time! Xx #KCACOLS

  28. I like the different stages of ‘me-time’ so far I’ve only managed the loo, and 3 haircuts. Every day I bring my baby into the bathroom where she sits in her bouncer watching me having a shower! A great guest co-host Sarah. Claire X #kcacols

  29. Thank you for reassuring me that Piglet will be OK when left outside the toilet! I always let him in (he follows me in there, as they all do) but then I have to take the flak from my mother when he destroys her bathroom while I am powerless to intervene. Oh, and the grannies who spoil the kids with chocolate and late nights-definitely not Piglet’s granny! She’s the one telling me to take him to bed so SHE can have some alone time. I so need to move out! #KCACOLS

    1. Haha, little buggers. Rian used to turn the tap on and then manage to angle his hands so water went EVERYWHERE while I was helpless going noooo naughty water!! xx

  30. Sarah, this was a hoot! The toilet thing…I tried do have a we all.by.myself. When eldest was little and returned to the bedroom to see her sitting in the middle of a complete circle of sudocrem she had created on our new green carpet!!! Nowadays, my 9 year old and 13 year old just unlock the bathroom door from the outside and waltz right in. Wholeheartedly agree about nights out and weekends away. #kcacols

  31. Time alone as a parent is soooo important, and so necessary. I mean, we constantly have these little humans invading every inch of our ‘personal space’ that sometimes you just need a breather! This morning, I had a loooooooong shower while my son slept. It was heavenly. #KCACOLS

  32. All brilliant tips! Now my little one is older he goes off for carried walks with my oh. I get more me time!!! Yay! I love a 11am shower time, usually with the baby crawling round the bathroom!! #kcacols

  33. Hola – congrats on co-hosting and Huff Posting; yippee! I haven’t had a weekend off in over a year and am steeling myself for 10 days’ solo parenting whilst NW goes to the States … but when he’s back, I’m SO cashing in my points and legging it somewhere. It really is important to get a break. At the moment, I get Saturday mornings to myself when NW takes the children and does … actually, I don’t really know or care! πŸ™‚ #kcacols

  34. This is so true! Just today I was thinking about how nice it is to be able to take a shower on the weekends when there is someone to watch my little one and not rushing off to work. It can be so relaxing. Although not as much as having a glass of wine with some friends. Maybe next weekend. Enjoy your bank holiday!
    #KCACOLS

  35. Haha fab list of ways to have me time. I normally manage to get a couple of hours child free on a Tuesday but then it’s spent trying to tidy up the flat before I have to go and collect the littlest one. So not much me time is had after all, or though it is peaceful lol. Xx #KCACOLS

  36. Love this! I am one of those who cannot even manage to get to the loo on my own or the screaming starts up – not exactly ‘me time’! So come the weekend I’m all about getting a little bit of time for me – my husband takes my little boy off for a boys morning / afternoon and I potter around the garden or meet up with a friend. It’s bliss! #KCACOLS

  37. Yes yes and yes. I am all up for some me time, a night off a wee on my own! Fab advice that we should all heed every now and then xxx #triballove #KCACOLS

  38. Hi,

    Reading this actually makes me feel quite lucky to be a single mum. Cygnet spends two nights a week with his Daddy and one day every weekend. There is no respite when he is with me, but I get more than my fair share of me time when he is with his Dad. There are other complications though…as you can probably imagine…. Pen x #KCACOLS

  39. I’ve managed to sneak in a weekend away in London ON MY OWN for the last couple of years. Just one night really, but seriously, OMG. I could take on the world for the week afterwards. You need to press reset every now and then or things tend to combust! Love the post!

  40. I’m more a bath than shower person but having one on my own happens soooo rarely. I’ve almost forgotten how to do it! Some of my kiddies have additional needs and this can make it extra hard to leave them. But every one should have a break!

  41. I was having some ‘me-time’ in the toilet once with the Child safely parked in front of the CBeebies (obvs) when the Postman knocked on the door. My daughter promptly yelled through the letterbox – “mummy’s having a big poo poo”. I still can’t look him the eye.

    Disclaimer – I wasn’t having a ‘poo poo’ but I was watching random crap on You Tube.

  42. Self-care for parents is SO important, it’s the only thing that keeps me sane. I applaud you for bringing it to people’s attention with this post x #kcacols

    1. It’s the guilt that annoys me – if you don’t look after yourself you can’t properly look after anyone else! X

  43. Some good advice here. Having a break is good for sanity and I am sure helps us be better parents. It is not always that easy though. Something to aim for at least! πŸ™‚ #KCACOLS

  44. fortunately, my kids are older and i can do all the above in peace lol – but yes, I absolutely agree that all mums need to make some time for themselves! Or you’ll go mad lol #chucklemums

  45. This is such great advice for mothers and fathers. I recently permitted my parents a night out and it did them the world of good. But it’s sometimes the little things that make the biggest difference – Mother longs for a relaxing bubble bath and a chance to read her book, all things that she took for granted pre-me. It’s so important that everyone gets a break – including us babies who also appreciate some ‘me-time’ πŸ˜‰ x #chucklemums

  46. Ah yes, THE TOLIET is my new sanctuary. But the boyf has caught on, so he will call me whenever I have been in there for over 5 minutes. ERGH. The night out is a blast too, although I have been having too many of these recently WHOOPS, and I feel extremely terrible and guilty the next day. #chucklemums

  47. Totally agree! My boyfriend laughs at me because I genuinely believe a shower fixes most things! Also you can’t beat a 50 minute child-free Primary dash. Excellent points made and will refresh every mum (especially the ones desperate for a wee)

  48. I sooooo look forward to my shower each day!! With four kids there is barely time to breathe but for ten minutes each night I can have a hot shower without one of them peering in at me! And if I sing really loudly it cancels out the sound of them screaming! #KCACOLS

  49. Great list for some me time! gosh I still find it hard to have a shower with my 4 month old. I normally wait until my husband gets home from work now so I don’t have to rush. I really need to shave my pits in piece! xx

    #KCACOLS
    #Triballove

  50. I love getting away for a break just the two of us…though it doesn’t happen too often. It’s so worth it – last time we stayed for an extra coffee after lunch just for the hell of it, we realised we hadn’t had a relaxed lunch in a whole year and it was brilliant! #triballove #KCACOLS

  51. I love a weekend away, only I end up not knowing my limits and getting absolutely no sleep after staying up until 3AM and then waking at 4 with a blinding headache and the need to throw up. Mum probz hey!

  52. we are super lucky to have two grammies willing to watch our little every now and then. Its very important to have not only a few minutes to yourself every once in a while, but also to have that time with the other half. #KCACOLS

  53. And this is why I shower in the middle of the night! because even though my youngest is 5 there is no such thing as being left alone!!! Even my Hubby will wander back to pester me if I am in the bathroom or showering, ugh! #KCACOLS

  54. I nap when the little one naps and shower after she’s gone to bed. It all really helps to recharge before the whole routine starts again the next morning x
    #triballove

  55. Enjoyed this on Huff post and here too! My son thinks I have a pooing problem the time I spend on the toilet..I am missing and enjoying a week where my mum has him..he will comeback the devil but it means I have free time in the evening. I get all rock and roll and watch Netflix with a glass of wine. πŸ™‚ #KCACOLS

  56. We had a whole morning to ourselves at the weekend. My sister took the boys to the cinema. We managed to go shopping and have lunch and proper adult conversation. It was soo nice! #KCACOLS

  57. It’s so true that you need time off. Unfortunately, I am another one still waiting for my weekend off. I was in hospital for 6 days in 2013. Does that count?! All potential baby sitters live hundreds and hundreds of miles away (my mum’s in France) so rarely get more than the toilet break. And then you get daddy screaming up the stairs “you’ve been in there a long time?!” Oh well! πŸ™‚ ~KCACOLS

  58. Ha ha – what have our lives become? So true. I do in fact fantasise about having a wee on my own. I could even deal with the distressed cries of my daughter calling “mummy! mummy!” outside the bathroom door. But as we have no handle on the bathroom door, I either push the washing basket in front of the door, which they easily manage to shove to one side through persistent door banging, or just resign myself to no privacy whatsoever. :/
    x Alice
    #kcacols

  59. Totally agreed! Parents NEED a break! And there should never be any guilt attached to that! We don’t get time away regularly but man do we enjoy it when we do! Just a shame it is usually met with a serious hangover that means you are desperate to get back to home comforts again! πŸ™‚ #KCACOLS xx

  60. I’m one of those who can’t cope with the thought of a weekend away! However, I do wish I could occasionally shop alone & actually get to look at things! I also came to the conclusion that with the childproofing & the independent play, I should just leave them for toilet breaks now. #KCACOLS

  61. I was very lucky I had a lot of help and babysitters but I totally agree with this especially the smelling at 11 am point! A shower changes things so much #kcacols

  62. A great list and I agree it’s so important to have a break now and again. I get to go to work and use the bathroom alone! As soon as I get home, my toddler follows me into the bathroom. I used to shower in the middle of the night but now I prefer early mornings. #KCACOLS

  63. so so true. I’ve started to go to the ‘foo foo club’ on a Monday night – a 6 week course aimed at mums trying to rediscover their pelvic floor (it’s actually called ‘core restore’, but I much prefer this name!) We all turn up every week, having spent the first 15 minutes in our car just zoning out before going in. When you have a newborn and a toddler, it’s hard to get out in those early days but this one restorative hour (foo foo exercises optional) to just get away from it all and have a giggle (without the piddle…) with some fellow mums.

  64. <3 this!!! All so true and so super important to balance your kinds and 'Y O U' this is also my core ethos over at my blog (just a seedling of a blog atm!)

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