I think a lot of my anxiety has stemmed from the events following her birth. I am also a worrier by nature, so I often have to step back and remind myself that worrying doesn't do anything productive. At any rate, I struggle to feel safe being away from my kids.
This has been fine and well for a long time. Our kids had fallen into a nice evening routine. I was feeling like I was getting ample alone time during my nights. Recently, our oldest daughter has been struggling with her sleep and our alone time in the evenings has been greatly diminished or non-existent. Coupled with her being overtired and feeling defiant, my frustration grew quickly and I finally became overwhelmed. Saturday night, I found myself losing my temper and having to hand bedtime duties over to my husband before my I completely boiled over. When he finally got our daughter down to sleep, I tearfully told him that I needed a break.
I was tired of spending my days trying to help my kids sort through emotions, while feeling spent and overtired. I was tired of spending my nights trying to calm my older daughter while feeling anything but calm. He agreed and suggested I take the time to recharge.
The next afternoon I decided to go to a nearby city. I almost chickened out. I nearly turned around. I phoned home and my husband assured me all was well. I took a few deep breaths and kept driving. I eventually made it to the city. I looked at pretty decor, drank coffee and browsed through stores. I bought my next planner (Eeek! I love planners!). My afternoon was quiet. No one asked me for anything. I didn't have to help anyone calm down or share or find a productive way to channel anger. I relaxed and thought only of trivial things. I enjoyed my coffee while it was hot. Best of all, no one followed me into the bathroom. (If this seems strange, I apologize. My kids make it their personal mission to be in the bathroom with me at all times. If I manage to close and lock the door, they sit outside and talk to me the whole time.)
It was a lovely break. It was a needed break. When I came home, I was refreshed. My daughter had another difficult bedtime that night, but I didn't get frustrated. I felt better able to help her through it because I was no longer depleted.
Take the time, Mama. Everyone needs a break now and then. It can be difficult to find a way to make it work, but it is vital. Sometimes you only need an hour. Other times you need a whole afternoon. Take what you need to stay healthy. As the old adage goes, 'you can't pour from an empty cup'.
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