Parents out there, you need a break. I know you don’t need me to tell you that.
Last January, I wrote about little ways to find self-care, and I still believe in those suggestions. But a friend of mine reached out and said, “I do most of those things, and I still feel burned out.”
A year later into the pandemic, I get it. Since then, my daughter got diagnosed with autism, my son with ADHD and anxiety, we prepped our house for sale (a headache with little kids), and we moved (another headache with kids). It’s been a lot.
November 2021 was my 10th wedding anniversary, and even before COVID, I’d wanted to take a nice trip with my husband. There were a lot of logistics to figure out, including who would watch our kids, but we made it happen over Thanksgiving week. And let me tell you now, a getaway with your partner is sooo worth it.
We spent six glorious days on the beach. It was the longest we’d ever been away from our kids, and we missed them, but not as much as we thought. We both got our COVID boosters and tests, and we wore our masks, but still — it felt like old times, normal times.
We got to reconnect, not just as Mommy and Daddy raising two littles, but as husband and wife. We danced at the disco every night (mostly my husband), we made new friends (also, mostly my husband, the extrovert) and we relaxed by the beach and pool and finished books there’s no time to read at home (mostly me). It was worth every dime we spent, and we’re already talking about how we can plan more getaways just us.
I know not everyone has money or paid time off for vacations — I’m privileged and blessed.
But this year, resolve to prioritize your relationship. Find something to do just you and your partner. Take a day off together while the kids are at school or day care. Make date nights a must. I try to schedule them at least once a month. If you don’t have a sitter, you might be surprised at how many of your friends might be willing to take your kids for a bit so that you can have a break. If you have kiddos with special needs like me, look into respite care. We Rock the Spectrum KC offers a kid’s night out — respite and break time care for special needs families.
If you can swing it, start saving now for something longer. Plan at least a night away in a local hotel. if want to go big, try somewhere, like The Elms. But any place where your little people aren’t will work.
My sister graciously came into town to watch mine, and my mother-in-law took my daughter to school and home every day. But when I was talking about not being sure if I could swing my dream vacay, I also had three good girlfriends offer to keep my kids, and said they’d be willing any time. Before, I wouldn’t have felt right taking them up on their offer, now I would and I will.
If you don’t have a partner and you’re parenting solo, you need a break more than anyone. I want you to figure out a way to get a break, too. A break could look like the dream — a night alone at a B&B. But even if your break looks like your kid sleeping over at a friend or family member’s house for a night and you binge watching a show alone on the couch, do that.
This pandemic isn’t going anywhere. In the beginning, I loved working from home, but after almost two years, it’s become a bit of a grind.
I wake up, go to the gym, get kids ready for school, drop them off, hop on my computer, work, leave to get kids from school, figure out dinner, do bedtime. Rinse, repeat, Monday through Friday. Not to mention taking kids to practices and therapies in the evenings. I want to spend time on the couch with my husband catching up on shows, but by the time the kids are down, I’m tired, too. Sometimes I feel like all I do is work and mom. Oh, and laundry. There’s always laundry.
For a few glorious days, there was none of that. We did talk about our kids every day, and we did video chat with them a few times, but when we were swimming together in the ocean, or sipping our fancy drinks, we weren’t missing tantrums, or bedtime, or stepping on Legos one bit.
That’s what I want for you in the new year, a little more time away to just relax. Because like I told you last year, you need it, and Mamas and Daddies, you deserve it.