Mama: Your Family Won’t Fall Apart If You Don’t Take a Break—But You Might

One thing my husband has taught me is that I need to carve out time for myself. It’s not going to happen all by itself.

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After a long day, it’s really easy to start feeling sorry for ourselves.

I haven’t been alone yet today.

There are too many words.

Too many wants.

Too many needs.

Too little of me.

I need a breather, but I don’t always know how to make that happen when it doesn’t seem possible.

Ever so often, my overwhelm spills over into a full-blown adult style tantrum. The other day, for the first time in all of my adult life, I stomped my feet in frustration just like my preschoolers have done. Stomp-stomp-stomp-stomp. The wide-eyes watching were wondering what alternate reality they had just stepped into.

It wasn’t over anything big. Just some globs of smoothie dropped in a trail across the kitchen by a kiddo who didn’t understand how to fix the smoothie vs. dropped straw dilemma they found themselves in.

A sure-fire sign the mama needs a break is when the smallest thing lights a great big fire in her.

Too often though, I have every excuse as to why I simply can’t take the time I need for myself. And I’m not even talking about shopping, or girls’ nights, or date nights, or coffee dates, or an outing by myself. I’m just talking everyday care. Of myself.

Showers.

Food.

Prayer.

Getting ready for the day.

God’s Word.

Talking with my spouse or a friend.

Books.

Quiet.

A show that brings joy.

A favorite drink.

Skincare.

Just normal old taking care of me. But the problem is that sometimes moms feel guilty for simply taking the time to work the basics. But don’t we feel so much better when we do?

What’s standing in the way of the break you need? or the time you need to feel like yourself again?

The baby. I thought you might say that.

The fingers under the door. Yep.

The lack of time. Sure.

My kids need me. True story.

But even more so, your family and this world needs you to be you again. I don’t know of any kid or family who suffered when a mother took care of herself in a healthy way. Not in a selfish, over-the-top “me time” way. But in an everyday love and care of what God has created in her way. A way that shows her family she is important and worth taking care of.

You can trust that if a mom of eight kids (special needs included) is urging you to take care of yourself, you can know she gets it. I get how hard it is. How buried we sometimes feel. I also understand that the newborn and infant phase is grueling in a way other seasons of motherhood aren’t. For this, you may need to call in some reinforcements. A friend you can trade with. A spouse who gets your need. A family member who’ll step in and relieve you for a bit.

The same could also be said for single motherhood, mothers working full-time outside the home, special needs parenting, and illness (and more.) We all know what it feels like to be in a season where thinking of ourselves feels like the last thing we could possibly do.

But to the rest of us, hear me say this:

Sometimes we have to go to bed earlier to take care of ourselves.

Sometimes we need to step away from our phones and computers.

Sometimes we have to choose what’s helpful in the long-run rather than what’s easy in the moment.

Sometimes we have to get up early to get a shower and get fully ready before the house wakes.

Sometimes we need to acknowledge our need and find realistic ways to fill them.

Sometimes we need to deny ourselves to truly help ourselves.

Our families won’t break if we take a break, but we might if we don’t. 

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This article originally appeared at The Masterpiece Mom.


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Amanda Bacon
Amanda is the mother of eight kids through birth and adoption and has been married for seventeen years to the most helpful man on the planet. She is an encouraging voice for moms everywhere through the written and spoken word. Amanda is co-creator of The Masterpiece Mom blog and podcast available on iTunes.