You know, there’s something funny about being a mom. We desperately need a break from our kids, but we aren’t taking them. We have hard, and I mean really hard days. We are mentally fried after tantrums and teething and sibling rivalry, and sometimes that baby on our boob all day is just too much togetherness. We need a minute. Or two, or ten, or (gasp) even an entire day.

We are pouring from empty cups and bringing our cars in for gas with the engine light on empty. We wait until we breakdown before we step outside, hide in the closet, or grab the car keys and tell our husbands, “I’ll be back. I need me time.”

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But the truth is? We aren’t getting these breaks and moments to refuel often enough. And to be totally honest, sometimes we are given the opportunity to take them, and we still don’t! Don’t martyr us, we have our reasons.

I don’t because I wait to be on the verge of imitating Cruella de Vil and hating myself before I take a break. Unfortunately, I wait until it’s too late and keep pushing through. And when it’s too late, a few minutes away doesn’t do the trick.

Imagine getting a gallon of gas in your car and going back home after you were on fumes. How far is that going to get you?

I also don’t take a break because I have no one to help me, so those few seconds walking around my car, or putting the fan on in the bathroom to drown out any noise is my break.

When the rare opportunity presents itself, I take my break time, and I run errands and get other chores taken care of. This. Is. Not. A. Break. This doesn’t clear my headspace or relax me one bit.

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 I don’t take breaks because deep down, I’m afraid I’ll enjoy it more than I enjoy being with my toddler. If I can be painfully honest with you, at this stage in life, a solo trip to Target is by far more pleasurable than a 2-year-old kicking and screaming over small things for 16 hours a day. It hurts my heart immensely to admit.

I’m also afraid of the judgment and scrutiny. I longed for a baby for years and leaving him makes sad. It makes me feel ungrateful for the blessing in my life.

The loneliness and fear of missing out prevent me from taking time for myself. What if someone sees me without him? What will they think? It’s a catch-22, and it’s a problem mothers are facing every day.

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The love I have for my son is boundless. It’s infinite. My patience? My energy? My sanity? Those are limited resources all moms have.

If you are a parent craving a break, please don’t be as stubborn as I am. Recharge your soul. Recharge your mind. Those beautiful babies will be here waiting when you get back from your alone time.

Jennifer Bailey

Stay at home mom enjoying one little boy and navigating parenting one trip to Target at a time.