Every single morning, my toddler wakes me up by either creepily staring at me until I unconsciously sense her, or by smacking me in the face. And what time does the clock say? Usually around 6. Why does me saying, “The sun is still sleeping, go back to bed, Baby Girl” cause a meltdown? Who wants to start their day with a full-blown tantrum? Which then, almost always, wakes my baby. So I have no choice but to drag my lazy, tired butt out of bed. This is reason number one why I deserve a break.
Every single meal is a fight. Even if I make my toddler the same food she requested, or her proven favorites, she will complain and stall. Because I’m a “good mom,” I try to get her to eat her veggies and protein, even if it means me spoon feeding her like a baby and waiting 20 minutes for her to finally swallow each mushy bite. Then there’s the clean up: of her face, her hands, the table, her chair, the floor, and her dishes. How can one little girl fling pears across the room without me noticing until I step on it later in the day? And this is all just for just one kid. The other I do have to spoon feed because he is a baby. Two kids means double the mess. This is reason number two why I deserve a break.
Every few hours, the food I force fed my children will pass through their little bodies and it’ll be diaper time. I expect it with my 9 month old, so that doesn’t bother me so much. Even the super nasty, new-to-solids poopy diapers he gives me only make me gag a minimal amount. But that toddler. That sweet, silly, not potty-trained toddler of mine can pack a punch. And despite my best efforts, using every method out there (including the “be patient” route) for the past 10 months, she’s nowhere near trained to use the porcelain throne consistently. She conveniently waits until nap or bedtime to sneakily poop a load so big, it usually gets everywhere. I gag more at her messy diapers/panties than I did when she threw up all over me that one time. Changing all these diapers is a third reason why I deserve a break. (Because let’s be honest, I change WAY more than my husband does.)
Every other minute, my children need/want me to play with them. Of course I want to, and we have some fun! But after 10 minutes, I’m just done playing with gross, old play-dough and pretending to think every little thing she does is so fantastically amazing.
“WOW! That little hop was SO COOL!”
“WOW! You put the thing in that other thing! Good job!”
“WOW! I love this rock you’re begging me to carry in my pocket. And that rock. And that rock. And that rock.”
There’s only so many books I can read (for the millionth time) and so many kids’ shows I can watch (for the millionth time) before I just want to zone out. But even though that would be my natural response, I stay invested and interested, for their sake. This is reason number four I deserve a break.
Every time I go to the bathroom, I have an audience. My toddler wants me to read to her, wants to see what I’m doing, wants to ask me questions, wants me to get off so she can have a turn to go potty (which she won’t actually do). My baby crawls all over the bathroom floor, which reminds me that I haven’t mopped in there for…probably months. Even if I try to lock them out, fingers creep under the crack, the baby screams and hits the door, and my two-minute alone time to do something very personal isn’t very relaxing or private. This is the fifth reason I deserve a break.
I could go on and on: the laundry, the cleaning, the home cooked dinners, the errands, the budgeting and finances, all balanced with three jobs and trying to schedule in sexy time for my husband every now and then. I’m convinced that mothers pretty much make the world go round.
Almost every other mother would agree that our jobs are awesome, but pretty stressful, too. This is why every mother deserves, and desperately needs, a break every once in a while. Sure, those little breaks your spouse gives you like going grocery shopping alone or peeing alone are fine, but I’m talking an actual break. A get-away-from-those-needy-creatures break. Preferably an overnight break.
Because you know what a true break does for a mother? It rejuvenates her. It strengthens her. It lets her sleep in past 8 for probably the first time in years. And most importantly, a break gives her the chance to miss and appreciate her kids more. Our children hold such a large portion of our hearts but sometimes it’s easy to forget that when we are scrubbing poop-art off the walls and listening to nonstop screaming in the middle of the night. You know the phrase, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder?” I bet whoever coined it was a mother convincing her spouse that she needed a break from the kids.
I know this isn’t an opportunity most moms get, especially single mothers who really do have to do it all because there’s never a partner to even give her even the bathroom break. But if it’s even slightly plausible, make it happen. If there’s a slight chance it could work, figure out what needs to be done or sacrificed for that time away to happen. Because in the long run, it’ll do wonders for mom’s sanity and emotional health, which affects will ripple through the rest of the family.
Until that break can come, keep your chin up, tired mom of one, two, five, or eight. Someday, your kids will see and appreciate all you do for them, and that it all got done on only three hours of sleep.