The stage was set. Set for a meltdown. Mine.
My baby was bawling in his high chair with a mess of mashed banana and spilled milk all over himself. His chair. The floor. The wall. The cupboards. Then the toddler started yelling “Mommy!” a zillion times from her bedroom. She couldn’t find the pen she had. She needed it desperately. It was important. I was cooking up hamburger, determined not to let it stick and fry to the bottom again. I was also replying back to a Facebook message about an item for sale I had posted earlier. After the message sent, a breaking news story blew up my newsfeed. My opinion was of course, needed via comment. A text came through. It was my husband. His parents had something come up where they needed his help that night after work. The doorbell rang. There was yet another school fundraiser wanting a donation from me. The second time today. Then a guilt trip phone call came through my voicemail. The great grandparents aren’t going to be around forever. My children were due for a visit. Several other play date requests were swirling around my head for scheduling time in with them. A community event needed supporting. I had signed up for something I didn’t realize was in just one hour. My e-mail needed to be checked to see when that e-bill was due. The mail. Where did I set down the mail?!…
Though the specifics of this scenario are somewhat fictional, I think all of us can relate to the everyday distractions we have as parents. They can add up quick as they spiral my sleep-deprived mind into impatience ever so easily. And I lash out. Not at my phone. Not at my burned pot. But at my children.
I need a break.
And it’s not from my little ones.
It’s from everything else.
I get pulled in by the phone pings. The social media red number circles. The screens. I feel guilt in time not spent with friends and extended family. I feel selfish if I don’t sign up for community needs. I feel the obligation to say yes. Yes to everything. And yes in the exact moment the request was delivered. I need time away from these things. To focus on my family. My husband. Our children. To just be together. Just us.
Permission to bubble wrap our family of 4 with roadblock signs at every entrance. To have time with just us. Time where there is no limit set. Time where there is no deadline.
I’ve started giving myself permission. Permission to have a break. A break from the world, so I can focus on what’s most important. Permission to ignore every phone call. Every text. Every notification. Even door knock. Permission to bubble wrap our family of 4 with roadblock signs at every entrance. To have time with just us. Time where there is no limit set. Time where there is no deadline. However long it takes to reset ourselves to what matters most. Whether it’s 10 minutes or one week. To say no to the outside, and yes to our family.
If you read this screaming in agreement, I have something for you.
I, a parent peer, give YOU permission to do this too.
Enjoy your break. Enjoy your family.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.