Isn’t it funny how our perspectives change over time?
I’m telling you: it wasn’t that long ago when a month felt much longer. By the way, how is it February already?
Now, in my thirties, the seasons seem to come and go much more swiftly than they did even five years ago. Never mind when I was a child, when each season felt like an eternity!
The way that we see the world can change over time in various areas of our lives. For example, a “time out” is a pretty well-known disciplinary tool. Yet, for an adult a “time out” might feel more like a reward than a punishment.
Parents need some “time outs” – literally – from time-to-time.
It’s hard to imagine a job more demanding and all-encompassing than being a parent. It’s extremely demanding, constantly requiring one’s attention and resources, both physical and emotional.
Imagine being required to stay on the job 24/7. Yikes!
Yet, parenting often does require just about that much dedication.
So, time outs are a must: that is, for mom and dad.
Here are some ways to take time outs. These may or may not work for you and your family, but they are some ideas that I have incorporated in my life, or that I think might be beneficial.
Nap times for little ones
My toddler is two years old, so she happily (for both of us) still takes a nice nap most days.
As kids get a bit older their need for a nap may decrease. I have heard of having “quiet times”, when kids are given the opportunity to read or play quietly, so as to offer time for mom or dad to have a break, as well.
Honestly, I think that a little down time is great for kids, and also could be a real benefit to the adult in the situation.
Grandma and grandpa time
Is there a grandma or grandpa in your child’s life? They can be a real source of help and support, and many times, might enjoy spending time with their grandchild/ren.
If blood relatives are not to be found nearby, maybe there is another special person, older in years or not, who would be able to shower your child with attention and provide you with some much needed away time.
Local library story time
Okay, to be honest, I haven’t had much luck with story times. My daughter is far too interested in exploring for that to work, at least so far.
Some kids love story hours, though, and while they are entertained by the librarian, mom or dad could take side stage for a moment or two.
Meeting up with other parents (or caregivers) and their kids can take some pressure off mom or dad for a little while, as the kids play and the adults take a some time to chat or just spend time together.
Even if you aren’t able to afford to pay a nanny, or simply aren’t comfortable leaving the kids completely alone with another person for some reason, breaks are still possible.
Why not consider hiring a “mother’s helper”? This person could help care for baby or complete other useful tasks around your home, while you get a bit of a break in the house. You’ll still be able to keep a close eye on things, if you want, while also having the freedom to rest or do some other work.
Time outs with family or friends
Okay, so I’m not always very good at this. In fact, I wish I had tried to organize more “friend” time in my life than I have recently.
Anyway, today I had coffee with a friend and it was amazing! While I love my daughter to pieces, I do need some “me” time, some “adult” time and some away time.
That time makes me happier, better and – ultimately – a more focused mom than I could be without breaks.
Time-in with your significant other
My husband is a medical student. Time-ins together with him have been few and far between, recently. Yet, just the same, connecting with him is important for both of us and our child.
A parent team needs time to grow together and time to be friends, outside of the rushed, crazy child-centered times.
Do you ever just want to have a few minutes all to yourself? Why not schedule child care so that you can go out for a walk, for a run, for a little relaxation time at a park or in a cafe? Alone time can be a precious resource for recharging our mom and dad batteries.
Moral of the story: don’t be afraid to take some time off, to take some time to be alone, or some time to be in company. Recharge your batteries, guilt-free.
*Please note that none of the photographs in this post were taken by me, but were found on Pexels.com.