I've said the words "I need a break" more times than I count. Just today I've muttered it beneath my breath a solid dozen times — and it's not even noon. Don't get me wrong, I love being a mom and my kids are the two greatest things that have ever happened to me. They're also energetic and exhausting and sometimes draining, though. So, yes, there are some things a toddler mom really means when she says she needs a break, and those "things" are definitely worth highlighting. After all, us toddler moms can only take so much.
As I write this, my darling toddler is trying to tell me about an injured wasp that's crawling somewhere in the vicinity. He's asking to feed it and care for it, even after I've said "leave it alone" more times than I care to admit. This, of course, is just a small insight into what goes on in my house on the regular. Having continuous conversations about every detail in life, while doing any number of other things simultaneously, is par for the parent-of-a-toddler course. In fact, just a few minutes before the aforementioned conversation my toddler asked for lunch, and before that I had to clean up a pretty epic spill. There's no clock to punch in and out of, so my days bleed together with no real chance to re-set.
Whether you're a working or a stay-at-home mom, having a toddler is hard ass work. My kid is eager to learn about the world, and won't hesitate to appease his curiosities if I look away for even a moment. I'm grateful both my kids are so well-behaved (for the most part), but even still, I'm tired, you guys. So, so tired. Among the things a toddler mom really means when she says she needs a break, I'd say the level of pure exhaustion she pushes through on any given day is at the top of that list. Here's some others:
"I Want To Pee Uninterrupted"
Do you know how many urinary tract infections I've had because of my stop-and-go peeing (and not emptying my bladder while my toddler son stares at me) when my kid bursts through the door? Too damn many. I'd really love to get it all out of my system without my son's peering eyes gawking at me. Seriously.
"I Want To Drink My Coffee While It's Hot"
Sometimes, grabbing my coffee or latte is the high point of my day. I'm with my kids all day, every day, and those little sips of energy give me the hope I need to make it to my children's bedtimes. While I love being home with my kids, I also love tasting my coffee while it's hot enough to enjoy and instead of dealing with all the interruptions from screaming kids that leave me slurping a cold brew once everything is said and done. It's really best for everyone if I can catch a break to drink my java in peace.
"I'd Love To Dress Myself Privately"
Ever try to get dressed with a toddler nearby? Sorry if I don't feel like being ogled today, or if I don't want to answer endless questions about the differences between our bodies. It's even better when my son discovers new cellulite havens to cackle at. Some days, I really just want to dress myself without having to go through the interrogation. I don't think it's too much to ask.
"I Want To Eat A Meal I Didn't Cook"
I cook most of our family's meals because I'm home all day and my partner works outside of the home. It gets old, though. Day in and day out, I plan, shop, prep, and create whatever we're going to be eating as a family. A "break," for me, really means "please cook for me," "please take me out," or, "please just take the kids long enough for me to cook without them asking to help."
"I Wish The House Would Clean Itself"
A house with kids means cleaning up endless messes. One after another, there they are. I clean, turn around, and see another new mess. My toddler's mastered the art of creating messes from nothing in a matter of seconds. It's really fun, and by "fun," I mean "not at all." I could use a break, even if it simply means I don't have to dig Cheerios out of the couch cushions for a day.
"I Really Want A Moment Of Silence"
Just a moment will do. Please. I beg.
"I Need To Sleep In At Least Once"
Having kids is the equivalent of having two alarm clocks set at the ass-crack of dawn, with no option to change the time or hit the snooze button. When I say I need a break, I'm probably trying to tell whoever will listen that I'd love to get a few more minutes of shut-eye before tackling the day as mom, wife, friend, sister, daughter, and all-around rockstar. Thanks.
"Can I Go To The Grocery Store Alone?"
Going to the grocery store with my kids — especially my toddler — is a feat in and of itself. If I have a list, I'm rarely able to stick to it without adding a "few" things my kids see and "need." If I don't have a list, all hell breaks loose. My breaks aren't anything special, but they allow me to, you know, buy the groceries without spending a bazillion dollars.
"I'd Love A Day When I Don't Have To Sacrifice Every Last Thing"
The bottom line is, when I (or ay other mom) say I need a break, I only mean I'd love a few treasured moments to myself. Whether it's to daydream about cats, to eat a piece of candy without having to hide in the bathroom, or to feel like I can still be me, I need some space to collect the pieces of me that have made it through the infant, baby, and pre-toddler stages. With hot coffee, preferably.