Perhaps you always talk about doing it, but it never seems to happen. Why is it that you just can’t bring yourself to schedule that facial, or spend a Saturday afternoon reading magazines in a coffeehouse, or finally get that Moms’ Happy Hour to come together? Though it’s sometimes hard to take the plunge, here are five reasons why taking time for you—and your friends—is something that you owe to your family as well as yourself:
- Stress relief makes you a better Mom. Often, when you remove yourself from the chaos of the homefront, you come back missing and appreciating your kids more than ever—even if they still haven’t cleaned up those Legos. Not to mention, the less tense and anxious you are, the more patient and attentive you can be when it really counts.
- Your partner needs to take over sometimes too. Often, Moms may feel that if they slip away for that spa day or get on board with that Girls’ Night Out, the well-oiled machine that is their home life will veer dangerously off-kilter. Sometimes it’s hard to relinquish control without feeling guilty or worrying that your kids will have six hours’ worth of an ice cream binge in your absence. But the more tightly you cling to being in charge, the harder it will be to get your break—and the more you’re devaluing your partner’s contributions.
- Your kids should see that you are a whole person, with needs and interests that aren’t completely eclipsed by parenthood. Let’s face it: in many ways, you’re the center of your kids’ world, and vice versa. That’s fine and dandy, but do you really want them to think of your existence as revolving around them? Would you really want them getting the message that they can either be a parent, or have their own interests-- but not both? Showing your children that you are a person with more dimensions than only being their mother is quite important for their development.
- Children need to learn that friendship matters. And what better way to teach your kids that good friendship is important in life than to let them see that you make it a priority? Having a circle of adults that you make time for lets your kids know that relationships, reciprocity, and kindness are things of value. So if you can’t schedule that brunch for the sake of yourself, do it to teach Maddie or Sam that being part of community is what life is all about.
- You deserve it. It sometimes can feel indulgent to admit, but it’s the truth—parenthood is quite tough, and the challenges are relentless and not governed by a time-clock. The closer you can come to clocking out for just a little while, the more you’re rewarding yourself for a job well-done. Mommyhood is one of the few jobs where you get to override your boss and grant yourself your own bonus.