Homeschool lesson of the day: when a mom says she needs a break.
1. A break means a BREAK. B-R-E-A-K. That doesn’t mean two minutes of locking herself in her bathroom, while her children’s little fingers continue to poke under the door or the door handle is rattling away in her ear. When a mom says she needs a break, she is most likely asking to be alone, like, utterly alone and away from little people following her around.
2. To also clarify, when a mom says she needs a break, wanting to be alone does NOT mean she does not love her children, or her husband, or the family that she has. On the contrary, it is the fact that she loves them so freaking much, which is where she just needs space to decompress from all that sweet love!
3. A break does NOT include spending time alone, driving in the car to the grocery store. Most likely, that grocery store trip is so that she can spend hundreds of dollars on food for her family, most of which will either be eaten in .02 seconds flat or her kids will decide that they hate every single thing she purchased, so it will be purchased for nothing. So no, a trip to the grocery store is NOT the break she is saying she needs.
4. It could be a 5-minute break or a 5-hour break. Only she can determine that, not you.
5. A mom that says she needs a break is absolutely, 100%, unequivocally a fantastic mom. Needing time away from being a mom does not make you ungrateful, unable, or incapable of being a wonderful parent. In truth, at least for myself, I literally need some time alone—like, it makes me function BETTER as a mother.
6. There is no one, set definition of what a break is. Every mother has their own idea of what a break looks like. Maybe it’s a girls’ weekend in Vegas. Maybe it’s finding a quiet, corner nook of Starbucks and getting lost in a dirty, smut novel. Maybe it’s a gargantuan glass of Pinot Noir and a loooooong, long, bubble bath. Maybe it’s gardening. Or online poker. Or scrolling Instagram until you forget what year it is. Whatever her idea of a break is, it is HER idea.
7. A break is for her and her alone.
8. If she so chooses to include her family in her break, that is her prerogative.
9. If she chooses to eat 18 Doritos Locos Tacos in under 15 minutes, mind your business.
10. Many mamas, myself included, find it difficult sometimes to admit when they need a break. Whether it’s a fear of appearing weak or what, I really don’t know, but in some cases, do NOT wait for her to say she needs a break. Many times, she could already be in a bad, bad place, and she ain’t got time for that.
11. Don’t ever judge her for wanting a break. It’s HUMAN.
12. Don’t ever judge, period.
13. She can love her children fiercely and she can love her husband fiercely and still sometimes fiercely want to be more than 1000 miles away from them.
I will stress this again and cannot stress this enough: needing a break from being a mother, does not, nor will it ever, make you a bad mom.
You are entitled to needing some space to breathe. You are entitled to needing some time for you, and only you. You are entitled to not always love having your child’s head almost up your butt or in your crotch all hours of the day. You are entitled to lose your crap if you have to watch one more episode of Caillou. You are entitled to not want to hear “mooooooooommmmmmyyyyyy” 8,456 times in 10 minutes. You are entitled to not like everything about motherhood and you are entitled to have days where you don’t love motherhood at all.
Above all else, you are entitled to grasp tightly to the girl you were before you became “Mama” because she’s still in there, deserving to be cherished and loved.
So girl, you take that break and whoop de doo, you rock it in any way, shape, or form.
This post originally appeared on Millennial Mom Confessions