Taking little breaks with kids is really tough as a mom. But, there is no question about that fact that moms need a break.
I’ll share my issue first, and follow over to the solution I found for that. And then, we’ll talk about how can you find those little breaks to help you keep your sanity, and yet keep your kids engaged, happy and content.
So here is my issue:
I like to take breaks and be on phone for say 15 minutes 3-4 times in the 8-10 hrs I spend with my kids alone every day. So that’s an hour of a break when I can browse on my phone catch up on my social media and all. I know that sounds a lot, but well do that ( or we’ve just buried our heads in the sand about it).
BUT (here’s the main issue) —
As soon as my son sees me on phone he wants to be on phone too or watch TV.
I don’t put on TV for him to take a break (unless I’m totally out of patience).
Because, he would not stop in 30 mins; his usual used to be 2 hrs of TV and then a 30 mins of high pitch crying because we switched it off or because he’s not finding what he’d like to watch — and neither of them is the real reason for his meltdowns if you ask me; it’s just him being too tired from TV and overstimulated.
So we did 2 things when I was tired — either we had a lot of fights over screen time, where I gave up and put on TV after 30 mins of him crying for it, OR I did not take a break on my phone and by 4’O clock in the evening my patience would be pennies.
Unfortunately, neither of these were healthy solutions for us; since they were totally out of balance and extreme situations — no break for me or 2 hrs of non-stop glued to the TV.
I know it works for a lot of people but for us, it’s the whole nine yards of crying and yelling, and it just adds to the frustration at the end. So I keep TV as my last rescuer.
I went through this situation I described above when I was pregnant with my second one, and he was just a yr old. My heart goes out for those tired moms with two under two!
But I was determined to find a middle path, that all of us enjoyed!
So Here is a solution I found:
I started to look for times when my kids are naturally independent; when they don’t seek my attention and when they don’t fight with each other.
Their most independent time is— right after meals, for about 30 mins.
Really! Around this time, they both did their own thing; after every meal. And it was gold as soon as I realized this.
The second situation when they didn’t care a bit about me or what am I doing is when we go outside of our house.
So, when we are at a playground or at children’s museum or at kids zone in a mall.
They don’t look for me and very happily let me be on my phone without bothering me at all — like AT ALL.
Lol… You gals; my secret is out.
This is the reason why we are outdoors every day or at children’s museum every week.
I literally leave my house between 10-11am every day of the week, because I have no idea how else to get through the day otherwise.
While I see so many moms engaged with their kids at these places;, not me!
I always – ALWAYS keep an eye and an ear on them; but I just let them do their own thing, until they come to interact with me, which is very often too.
While a lot of people see or think places like children’s museum and playgrounds as an opportunity to teach things to their kids.
I see them as a place to take my break!
Tips to find time for breaks as a mom!
1. Look for times when your child is independent
that’s your time to take a break, don’t think about pushing them to learn something at that time, or don’t try to enjoy that time with them.
They’re innately choosing to be independent, don’t overpower this feeling from them! And don’t worry about their learning either; they’re actually teaching themselves more when they do things independently, it’s a natural way to learn!
2. Give them your undivided attention when they seek your attention. Totally Undivided!
By doing this you are going to satisfy their desire to connect with you. As you know, anytime they want your attention and you don’t feel like it; the only one who wins in this fight is them; it’s been happening since DAY 1 of their birth.
Once their desire to get your attention is fulfilled, they’ll happily play around by themselves.
3. Take them outdoors – It’s magical, and they’ll want to enjoy more of it, and will give you a break.
Unfortunately, I see moms trying to control their kids outdoors more than they do it indoors; making sure they’re not putting something in their mouth, or running or falling and all things in between.
Yes, they make tons of mistakes outside in nature; but that’s how ALL of us learn, by making mistakes; give them this self- learning opportunity!
I took this challenge where I took my kids outdoors everyday for 7 days in a row, and their independence increased so tremendously. AND I gained so much time to work that week.
You can take this challenge anytime by yourself. Find more details – Kids Outdoors Everyday Challenge!
Taking a break as a mom is difficult, but it is the key to keeping your sanity.
And, as you’ll do this more and more your kids will get used to the idea of you doing what you do to take a break.
They’ll not get anxious about you not paying attention to them, as this becomes a routine.
It’s physically and mentally not possible to not take a break, we all do it, but sometimes in an unhealthy way!
It’s best to try to find times when kids are naturally independent and take that mom break for yourself; so it’s a productive time for everyone!
This article is a part of a For the Mom series; here are the other articles in the series:
- To the exhausted mother…
- Feel Overwhelmed Mom? Try this Solution!
- ONE STRATEGY to be a calm mom AND raise successful kids.