No way would I ever say that I’m a “super mom” but I manage to not mess a lot of shit up. I think I do alright in balancing the many plates spinning on poles.
In the great juggling act of LIFE, I try to take time for myself. But it’s hard. It’s even harder, though, when my stress carries over to the kids. I’m anxious by nature and even with best attempts at controlling it – it can spill over. And that was even BEFORE I had kids.
Now, as a parent, I can see why getting a break is a wonderful thing. It gives you time to regroup. As a special needs parent, I find it even more important to have respite care.
See related: Respite Care and Autism
Personally, I think anyone who says, “oh I never need a break” is either a liar or likes martyrdom. I also think those that judge parents who take breaks from their kids either have magical powers or have robotic children. If it’s the former, I wish they would market it to the masses.
Sometimes, you just need a longer break. Not just your 15 minutes a day or an occasional night out. I mean a bona-fide “get the heck away from your kids and let someone else hold the reins” type of break.
For example, when I was a kid, I spent summers at my beloved aunt’s house near DC. I never thought being shipped to my aunt’s house as a bad thing. I loved being away from my parents and my sisters. My aunt, whose children were grown, loved having me around.
My aunt ran a ceramic shop. So, I spent most of my days there…whether doing some type of art, reading, and as I got older, actually helping out. I also brought home a shitload of ceramics, to my parent’s chagrin.
My aunt also did things like take me to see the monuments, bought me clothes, and took me to the movies (Annie and The Muppets Take Manhattan I remember the best). I took swimming lessons. I even enjoyed the mundane things like going to the grocery store and the post office.
Back then, I never thought of it as giving my parents a break. But I do now, knowing that they both worked and took care of us three “darlings”.
So – back to our “break”. Guess who graciously stepped up to help take care of our “darlings”? Yep, my parents. GOD BLESS THEM.
Now, it’s not like we just up and left the kids (and dog). There was a well thought out process of schedules, routines and “what to do in case of’s”. While I have learned to give wiggle room and the benefit of doubt to my mom, she also knows to understand that following my tips helps her out as well. It’s not going to be perfect, “…and that’s…okay.” (to quote Stuart Smalley).
For example, I made sure B still went to his preschool on Thursday and Friday. I took my mom Thursday morning to preschool and showed her his school routine. Getting him to and from school was work for them (since she also had to bring Mayita along) but I know that it was for the best. Not only did it give B his structure and social interaction, it gave my mom a break, as she took care of Mayita on those two days.
Saturday of course was the hardest day for my parents. I knew it was going to be that way. Both kids were home and of course B was not amused with Mommy and Daddy STILL not home. I know my mom was frazzled, mainly with B and his meltdowns, but I say that she stuck with it.
We left late morning Thursday, and came back on Sunday afternoon. It doesn’t really matter what we did. But, if you’re curious, we went to Atlantic City to gamble, sit by the pool and watch a UFC Fight [Husband’s choice, though I was willing to go], then onto Philly and watched a baseball game.
While I know my parents were glad to spend quality time with their grandchildren, I know that they were ecstatic to have us back. My mom said to me later that day, “I understand now better what you go through”. I cannot begin to tell you how relieved I felt – because obviously I’m not a “Bad Mommy” for taking a break. I obviously needed it.
So we are back, and have some wonderful memories to cherish. We go on our beach vacation in a couple of months and while it will be great (I hope) – it won’t be the same. As posted on my Facebook wall by a dear friend of mine: