Occasionally Mr.4 may feel I’ve been a bad Mum, and has tried sending me for time out: ”That is unacceptable behaviour! You need time out Mummy!!”
Well yes, yes indeed I do. I’d love to trot off to my bedroom for a few minutes and have some uninterrupted time to search eBay or Etsy. Yes please. Can you just cook your own dinner while I’m gone?
For me personally, time out is crucial for me to be a happy parent. To stop me from burning out. Usually it’s just an hour or so grabbing a coffee and wandering the shops, or getting my nails done, or maybe going for a walk – without a pram, for a change.
If I’m able to have a couple of 1-hour time outs each week, I come back ready to be Mum (and Wife) again. I also feel I need that bit of mental space…to actually allow my brain to think without being interrupted.
As for going away without the kids, in the past four years, we’ve done this a few times for a night or two. Earlier this year, I had half a week interstate seeing friends, while husband stayed home with the boys. By the time I returned I was missing them like crazy…but I’ll admit, the break was fantastic!
I was talking to a Mum at kinder a couple of weeks ago about this topic – specifically, about going away without the kids. I mentioned it’d been ages since husband and I had been anywhere overnight without the kids…the last time being around Christmas, when we managed to have one night at a hotel in the city. 24 hours of blissful relaxation.
She chuckled at this a little, and replied, “we haven’t been anywhere overnight without the kids since we had our first…it’s been over eight years now.” (She has three kids).
Eight years without any time off that’s more than a couple of hours long? (She doesn’t work and while the older kids are at school, the younger one only does a couple of 2.5hr kinder sessions).
I found myself impressed at her dedication, her resilience…and told her so.
Shortly after – as I pondered what eight years without one night away, just one night to have a sleep in with your partner, would be like – I realised, here’s just another way in which we all do our job as parents differently.
How did I know she was more resilient or dedicated than me? I didn’t. Ironically, having a bit of time out actually makes me a more dedicated parent, when I am with my kids.
And when I return to work part-time, I will enjoy my train ride to and from work – listening to music, reading a book. I will savour my lunch hour, when I can sit down in a cafe and just people watch if I like, or indulge in some window-shopping.
Yes, if it wasn’t for some time out, I’d be one crazy Mum.
All I need to do now is eliminate my Mummy guilt. 🙂
How much time out do you need?