Am I A Bad Mom For Needing A Break?

By
Share
Ad failed to load

I think all moms can agree that the amount of advice you receive when you're pregnant is overwhelming. Everyone wants to tell you what you should and shouldn't do when it comes to raising your child, and everyone is convinced they're right. But the most detrimental piece of advice? When other people tell you to "cherish every single moment, because they are all precious." All that cliche does is leave me wondering if I am a bad mom for needing a break from all these "precious" moments.

It doesn't matter if you're a working mother, a stay-at-home mother, or a combination of the two. It doesn't matter how old your children are, if they are well-behaved, or if they are troublemakers. It doesn't matter if you have one child or ten, if they're in school all day, or if they're old enough to make their own sandwiches. What does matter is this — motherhood is exhausting.

Motherhood is a state of being where you are constantly giving parts of yourself away. You are giving away your attention. You're giving away your love, your focus, and all of your energy. It is a constant position to be in and it requires literally all of your patience and stamina. Who wouldn't need a break from that?

Ad failed to load
GIPHY

But mothers are constantly told to cherish those moments. "They won't always need you," people say. "They won't always want you to read to them or hold them or rock them to sleep." Moms are made to feel guilty for needing one night away from their children; one night to eat a meal in peace and to not cut up anyone else's expensive chicken fingers they aren't going to touch or try to distract a toddler without using an iPhone. Celebrities like Chrissy Teigen are blasted for daring to step away from a newborn baby, as if having a child means you are to become one with your kiddo, spending every literal waking moment with them so you don't miss a blink, a breath, or a cry.

When I need a break from my toddler daughter, I'm not begging for a three-night stay in a hotel with unlimited room service and all the uninterrupted Netflix I want. I'm asking for an hour to myself, where no one is going to touch me, where no one is going to make me take a crayon away from them so I can scrub a wall, where no one is going to throw their food on the floor and then cry for it.

Ad failed to load

Does that make me a bad mom? Should I feel guilty that I give up a few hours with my daughter on a perfectly fine Saturday so I can have margaritas with a friend? Am I supposed to be angry at myself for letting her watch an extra episode of Sesame Street so I can drink a hot cup of coffee instead of reading her another book? Does it mean I'm not cherishing every moment with her? Will I wake up in 30 years and regret going to Target alone while she was perfectly happy playing blocks with her daddy?

GIPHY

Motherhood is an incredible, beautiful journey, but you know what? It sucks everything out of you. And as a mother who needs a break, all I'm asking is for a little time to myself to be myself. I'm not asking to give up my life as a mother. I'm not saying my child isn't worth it or that I don't love my time with her. All a break means is that I need to reconnect with who am I beyond being a mom. And if that means going grocery shopping alone or out with a friend, then so be it.

Ad failed to load

I am a better mother with a break. I am a mother who feels replenished, who is no longer on the edge of losing it. Having a break not only revitalizes me, but it also gives me a chance to miss my kid, to want to come home with her and read 18 more books.

It's like what the airplane security demonstrations say — you have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can help others. And that's exactly what it means to need a break as a mom. All you're asking is that you help yourself breathe a little easier so you can be the best mom possible for your kids. And if that deserves a guilt trip, then here's my ticket. See you on the other side.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}