As moms, we do the best we can to serve our children and manage our family well. But although family requires our attention 24/7, being a mom is still very much a job. And with most jobs, there are options for paid time off, because all employees need a break from work every now and then. So why is it that we as moms feel overcome with guilt when we need a break?
Whenever 4:30 p.m. rolls around, you can find me staring at the clock waiting for my husband to come home and release me from my mommy responsibilities. I want to punch the clock, grab my coat, and run off to do whatever doesn’t make me feel like a slave to two little (adorable) dictators. But then the hubby walks in the door, and instead of running away, I’m left feeling guilty. I don’t want to ask for a break because I need to step it up and be a great wife! No one puts the pressure on me but myself. I put my own needs aside and decide I need to find my inner superhero and carry on. Because that’s what moms do. And working moms? They have to shift from employee outside the home to a mommy inside the home, and there’s no break but the quiet drive in between.
Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? Our kids feel loved. If we are married, our spouses most likely aren’t doubting our dedication to the family — it’s just us! We are our biggest critics and the largest obstacle separating us from a healthier version of ourselves.
So let’s shift our perspective for a second. What if we decided that our loved ones deserved the best version of ourselves and we refused to lead with the depleted and exhausted version?
I’m not encouraging you to run away when the clock strikes five. What I do want is to remind you that mothers need mental health days too! Sure, you’re already thinking of a million excuses as to why you are the exception to the rule, or maybe the reason you reject this idea is because you aren’t convinced your kids will be safe with anyone else. But you are creative, and you are resourceful. You can find a way to take a break! And remember, it’s not for you as much as it is a gift for your family!
When you say yes to a break, you are giving yourself permission to rest and refuel. Without a break, when trials come you become more impatient and can even become resentful. When the kids get sick and your “work” hours increase, you can’t keep up because you are too drained from the constant hustle. Taking care of yourself by saying “yes” to a break ensures that your batteries are charged enough to tackle whatever life unexpectedly throws your way.
Waking up every day and driving to a workplace feels much different than staying home with the kids. And whether you stay home all day or just in the evenings, remember that motherhood is something that can suck you dry. Of course, you wouldn’t change it for the world, but children can’t be held responsible for sustaining you! They are really great at taking but not so much at giving. They weren’t created to fuel you in return for all you do for them! Although they require much, you can’t give to your family if you don’t give to yourself first.
So stop making excuses and value your overall health. You wouldn’t let vacation days pass you by in your workplace, so schedule some mental health days for yourself in your job as a mom. too!
Remember, your family deserves it!