If you don't have kids, it may sound like I don't want to be around them, but I do. I really do. But having time away actually makes me a better mom. I can tell when I haven't had a night to myself, and not just time to myself after they go to bed. I mean a night without the responsibility of having to put them to bed, or clean up after dinner. These things, which seems like no big deal, can add up and after a while, make me a little more stressed, a little less patient or a little more exhausted. The few hours I get away help me to feel reenergized and ready to take on the temper tantrums, messes, laundry, and everything else that comes along with being around toddlers all day long. Those few hours let me do things for myself, without worrying about where my kids are, like getting coffee with a friend, shopping, running errands, or just doing homework at a coffee shop.
Another break we consider invaluable is a date night, particularly an overnight. It's really hard to explain, but I can be having a very rough day with the boys, drop them off to my in-laws and by the next afternoon, can't wait to pick them up. I think a lot of it has to do with being able to turn your brain off a bit. When we go out, we decide on dinner and if we want to see a movie. With kids, I am thinking about dinner and what time it needs to get done before meltdowns start, if we're going somewhere, I have to make sure I have lotion, cups, pjs, pack n plays, blankets, and how are we going to give them a bath? Having even 24 hours without having to always plan ahead and be prepared is a huge break for a mama's mind.
I know not every woman gets these opportunities, so I have to give complete credit to my marvelous husband, who is so willing to take care of our kids and allow me some time for myself, and my awesome parents and in-laws who make date nights possible.