Episode 72 – I need a break from mothering.
Don’t wait for catastrophes for you to get a break from mothering. If you are tired, stressed, overwhelmed, fuzzy brained, anxious, restless, appreciated, moody, annoyed, confused or feeling lazy and inadequate, it’s time to take a break from mothering.
Top excuses why moms don’t take breaks from their kids even though they desperately need to.
They need me.
It’s my responsibility to stay.
I’m the only one that knows how to do things right.
They will be unhappy without me.
There will be hell to pay later.
I’m fine. I don’t need it.
A good mom should always be around.
I don’t know what to do with myself.
It’s scary to leave them.
I will take a break as soon as someone else steps up.
These beliefs sound convincing, responsible and logical. The problem is when we believe them, we stay trapped. We ignore our higher self and it’s desires, push through and get back to work. This creates a prison we don’t even know we are in. A prison where we feel trapped and powerless to break free. Our loved ones can see the prison walls we have created, they don’t understand why we don’t just walk out the door. When we believe these thoughts, it keeps us from noticing these walls we have built around ourselves. Brick by brick, thought by thought, year by year, we use these excuses to stay stuck, overwhelmed, exhausted, without knowing how to break free.
Believing that your job is to always be available to your kids and that they can’t function without you is a god complex. A god complex is an unshakable belief characterized by consistently inflated feelings of personal ability, privilege, or infallibility. Worry is trusting too much in your own power. Kids need to believe that they live in a safe world filled with many people in this world to depend on. Kids need to trust themselves, to be alone enough to solve their own problems, make mistakes and develop resilience and resourcefulness. When we are always available, we rob kids of the opportunity to figure out life on their own.
The first step to breaking free of this mental prison is to notice that you are in one. Notice where you get jealous or judgemental of other moms leaving their children. Notice when your brain complains, “must be nice to spend the day on your own, doing whatever you want to be doing”. Your higher self is trying to get your attention through your longings and desires. Ask yourself, “What am I yearning for?” and let your spirit answer with the thing you need most to restore balance.
The second step is to ask yourself, “When I think the thought, ‘I have to be with my kids 24/7’, how do I feel? What has this belief cost me? What have been the negative consequences of thinking this imprisoning belief?
The third step is to question your beliefs. Take the 10 excuses listed above that keep you from taking time to yourself and turn them around to the opposite.
I need me. They don’t need me.
It’s my responsibility to leave. It’s irresponsible to stay.
I’m the only one who knows how to do things wrong. I’m NOT the only one who knows how to do things right.
I will be unhappy without me. They will be happy without me.
There will be joy to pay later. Things will be easier later.
I’m not fine. I do need a break.
A good mom shouldn’t always be around.
I don’t know what to do without myself. I will know what to do with myself.
It’s scary not to leave them.
I will take a break as soon as I step up.
What percentage of your daily activities come from obligation? If you are spending more than 50% of your day doing things out of obligation, it’s time to take a break and rebalance things.
What’s the difference between solitary confinement and a silent retreat?
Both give you three meals a day, a bed to sleep in, and peace and quiet.
The only difference is freedom. When you have choice, this time alone is considered a reward. When you don’t get to choose, it’s a punishment. Your days need to be spent with choice and freedom in order for you to feel balanced and happy.
I suggest you pick a day this week, and just disappear for the day. Get in your car and drive. Explore a new area, visit a friend who lives far away, get take out and have a picnic lunch with your favorite author. Listen to an audiobook. Talk to your best friend from college. Go for a hike. Take a day to yourself. Tell your family you will be out of cell range and turn off your phone. Be gone for 8 hours. Let your kids miss you or relish in your absence. Let them learn to rely on themselves and discover their own resourcefulness.
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we are free.
Maybe your logical brain agrees that taking a break is a good idea but putting this into action feels too scary. Some moms are addicted to being needed and feel anxious when they take time to fill up their own cup. If taking time for yourself feels indulgent or triggers your feelings of unworthiness, try these workarounds:
Schedule a short doctor’s appointment but grab a bite to eat first and go for a long walk with your audiobook after.
Offer to house sit for a friend so you feel helpful.
Tell your family that your friend isn’t doing well and that you need to check in on her.
Create a secret project. It could be something for your family, a kid’s birthday or the house but you have to work on it in private.
Get a job or start a business that requires time to focus on yourself. Use “working” or earning money to trick your brain into giving you some time and space.
Slowly work your way into honoring yourself until it becomes comfortable to admit it.
Quote of the Day: “You do not need to be good. You do not need to walk for miles on your knees through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” Mary Oliver
Post a photo from your day off in the Supermom Facebook Group. We need some peer pressure and encouragement from each other to take a break from mothering.