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Everyone needs a break from parenting sometimes.
If you’re constantly turned on and going as a parent, you may find yourself burning out as a parent. You may go through phases where things seem fine, and there may be phases where things seem impossible as a parent. You want to just sit and do nothing for a while, but your child is screaming at your feet for a snack or for you to come play with them.
Trying to push through stressful situations as a parent and never taking a break or time for yourself is a great way to burn yourself out. You need to take time to do the things you enjoy, outside of parenting. You work extremely hard as a parent, you deserve some time to yourself.
Parenting is perhaps the hardest job in the world. It’s certainly one of the most demanding in terms of never taking a break or relaxing. If you are with your kids, you constantly have to be engaged in what’s going on around you. Even if you’re not constantly playing with them, you have to make sure you’re paying enough attention in case something goes wrong. You’re cleaning up after everyone, you’re trying to keep the kids engaged, and you’re not shooting the breeze by the water cooler or getting much thanks for the work you do. If you’re on minimal sleep, it’s a real killer of a job.
Don’t try to be a superhero every single day without some type of a break. You need to take time for yourself to rejuvenate and recharge. You are not a bad parent because you need a break - you are a human being that can’t constantly be going full time all the time. While you may be able to sustain it for a few days in a row, you’re going to snap at some point. Don’t let yourself get to that point.
The number one issue that parents have is that they feel like they have no help in order to take a break. If you’re feeling like you're on an island, by yourself, then you’re not alone in that feeling. All too often, parents get into a state of despair and think there’s nowhere to turn for help - you don’t have to feel like that.
The number one person that should be helping is a partner or spouse. Not everyone has a partner or spouse in their home, but if you do, then they should be helping. If they’re not, then you’ve got additional problems that you need to address. If you’re the only one spending time with your kids, then you should set a mandate that your spouse spends at least one hour with them each day so you can take a break (there are scenarios where you shouldn’t leave your kids with your partner if there is abuse or other issues going on in the home, but those issues are beyond the scope of this article).
Assuming you don’t have a spouse, look to other family members that live in your general area. You’re not asking them to watch your child for hours on end every single day. Choose one day each week where you can leave your child with them for an hour or two so you can simply do the things that you want to do.
You’ve likely exhausted the above two options if you’re reading this article though. This is the point where parents start to really never take a break from their kids. However, there are a couple of other options that you should absolutely take into consideration - remember this is your spiritual and mental health that you have to take care of.
First off, if you have any neighbors that can watch your kids for some time each week, then you should take advantage of it. Once again, you’re simply trying to rejuvenate and recharge. Whether you’re reading a book or taking a nap, your goal is to take some time for yourself so you can get back at it in the coming days and months.
Finally, do not be afraid to pay for a babysitter for an hour a week. While it may seem like a silly idea to spend money on a babysitter to spend time alone, it can actually mean the difference between breaking and having the energy to push through. You should absolutely do it before you get to a breaking point.
Every parent needs a break. You deserve it. You have one of the hardest jobs there is. Take care of yourself. You’re not a bad parent, you’re simply doing what’s best for everyone.