After posting about my 'mini run-away' on the Naughty Naturopath Mum Facebook Page, it became apparent that so many of us are in the same boat but some people are unsure of where to turn when they don't have much of a support system.
I wanted to include some ideas of where to get help or start connections if it's needed. Because you are allowed to take a break.
So here's my FB post with some edits but further down I also talk about longer breaks than just a few hours, why a psychologist recommends them and why they are just so important too!
I did a mini 'run-away' this afternoon. Work was getting on top of me, kids were getting on top of me, house was getting on top of me....and there's only so long you can weather this sort of thing isn't there?
I mean it's possible, of course, to just keep on pushing through this feeling but there will be more raised voices, more stress and more struggle if you don't try and break the routine, even if it's just for a nano-second.
So after work was done, when I would usually be heading off for school and daycare pick ups, I drove to a friend's house instead.
Yep, arrangements were made.
And I drove to a friend's house.
A friend who doesn't have children.* Ee had a wine and a chat and then went on a really long walk along the Brisbane river. I even had a cry.
We walked until it was dark and then I stayed and chatted some more until I knew my kids would be in bed and only then did I drive home with a takeaway dinner for my supportive husband.
Yes, it meant I didn't get to see my kids at the end of the day or kiss them good night, but I do every other night.
Yes, it meant that I wasn't in charge of their baths and their dinner and talking about their days, but I do every other night.
And mums, it's those every other nights that count and those are the nights that your kids will remember. So if once in a blue moon you feel you can't do Groundhog Day just for that one more day....then, why not make some arrangements.
Ask your mum or your partner or your sister or your brother or a friend or a neighbour to help and just get yourself a few hours off. Because I guarantee you, that your parenting the following day will be worth twice as much than it would on a day where you're feeling like you can't do another full day in a row.
*I thank God for the safe haven that my friends who don't have children provide me as much as I thank God for the unspoken understanding of my friends who do have children.
Some of you have no support and I really feel for you! I have my husband, my mum, my sister and a beautiful bunch of friends. I need these people to hold me up more than I've ever needed them before. This parenting gig is HARD. I need support while I'm supporting my children. So for those of you who read this (especially the mums) and think, 'Well I've got no-one to make these arrangements with' then darling lady, you need to research the area in which you live and create your own village and support system.
I swear it won't be that scary and I swear it's worth it.
I've had to do it twice when I've moved away from family and friends. Once in regional WA (hello, Bunbury!) where I made a bunch of new friends through work who then became such a support when I had my first baby and had NO IDEA what I was doing.
And once again in regional QLD (hello, Hervey Bay!) where I made new friends through playgroup and joined mother's groups, the gym, and my community centre that offered free daycare for a few hours.
I'm back in Brisbane now with the support system I have formed since childhood but I will never forget the support I received from people that were virtual strangers to me one week and then by the following week I was trusting with my childrens' lives! I have such good friends in these places to this day.
So if you are wondering who to call on if you feel there is no-one, please look at:
~ Local playgroups, mother's groups and daycare centres
~ Before and After School Care through the primary schools
~ Mother's groups are advertised on Facebook and you can get to know the ladies in your area in the exact same position through social networking before meeting up in public. You may make a friend that you can swap babysitting with as well as have a shoulder to cry on and a person to laugh with!
~ Gyms with creches! (this saved my life when my kids were really little - even an hour helps)
~ Even look at any book clubs, craft clubs, gardening clubs, community services or ANY organisations that you can get involved in because friendships spring from everywhere and this is how your village will start to grow.
~ And if you are really struggling with someone to reach out to and feel too lost, overwhelmed or even depressed, please get in touch with your local GP, your local midwifery service or an organisation like PANDA because you need to take one step first before you can take another. This will help you I promise.
It WILL BE ok.
And if it's not the kids that you need to escape from and it's something else entirely - work, your friends, your family, your partner or just a major change in your life - these are all things you are ALLOWED TO TAKE A BREAK FROM.
It might be really needed. Even if it doesn't sound plausible straight away, just plant the seed. Let that seed grow a bit. You can make arrangements to grab yourself a time out. You can make this happen.
Psychology professor Dr Nava Silton says the constant demands of motherhood can be beyond overwhelming and breaks from the routine should be mandatory.
“Motherhood can be very stressful. Whether it’s financial stresses, time stresses, just trying to get a whole lot done in a very short period of time,” she told Fox5. “I think it’s really important for mothers to be rejuvenated and refreshed.”
So lets also let the 'Mum-Cation' seed be planted if it isn't already.
I think it's a great idea to schedule in some mini breaks in your year, especially if you can get your friends together and get away for a girl's weekend. There is nothing more refreshing than spending time away with the people who know you so well and allow you to be exactly who you are away from your role as a mum. After all, that's just one of the hats you wear! You are so much more (even if you have temporarily forgotten), but I promise that you can rediscover this from time to time. It just takes effort and commitment.
I have some close friends that I have know for many years and we get together for a weekend every year, once a year. Two of us are mums, two of are not. All of us help each other be who we need to be and return to our lives much more rejuvenated and grateful.
I also take myself off for a night in a hotel in my own city ALL BY MYSELF once a year. This mainly consists of me not leaving my room from check in to check out. Think movies, room service and just sprawling out on a big bed ALL BY MYSELF. It's bliss and I'm back home after a mere 2pm to 10am break, a much better wife and mother.
Just something to think about hey?
And if you need any help with that Mumma guilt and maybe some more energy to bloody organise something for yourself, please check out my Essential Mum Pack or if you are struggling with the relationship you have with yourself and others at the moment, please check out my Relationship Pack.
Yours in Health,
Thank you all so much 💕
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