26 February 2019, by Flora Isabelle
I’m typing this on a Sunday morning in a quaint cafe near Holland Village with a good cuppa (no longer decaffeinated, thank you very much) by my laptop.
Before this, I spent a glorious 30 minutes using my phone, just catching up on WhatsApp group chats that I had been missing out on and looking through Instagram Stories aimlessly. After this, I might catch half an episode of Conspiracy Theory on Netflix… before I go back to being a mother again.
I’m not gonna lie – I love my boy more than anything in this world but these Sunday mornings when it’s just me and my cuppa (and sometimes cake) and a good book or mindless TV drama are what I look forward to immensely.
Is it selfish? To want a break. Especially if you’re a working mother who already spend the most of the week away from your kids?
Do I feel guilty? Hmmm. I used to, until a friend and fellow Mom put it in perspective for me. That motherhood is a marathon, not a sprint. That we first have to take care of ourselves before we take care of our little ones.
(It is akin to why airlines ask that we put on oxygen masks first for ourselves then for our children. You should read this explanation by the way, it’s kinda cool.)
You see, for the longest time I dedicated my entire weekend to Nate. From the second he wakes up to when he goes to bed, be it diaper changing, cooking, feeding, playing etc I did it all. I’ll be lucky if I even have time to take a toilet break or squeeze in a chocolate bar as lunch. Then Monday comes around and I end up more tired than ever.
(The husband too – he gets tired of my constant nagging and perpetual grumpiness.)
But thanks to a friend, I think we managed to work things out. We have since decided to “split” Sunday up. He takes the “morning shift” by bringing Nate to Chinese class while I get to enjoy my morning off (and actually savour my breakfast) then we will have lunch together as a family before I take the “afternoon shift”. Usually it’s to some playground or gym class then it’s dinner time together as a family before we call it a night.
There are weekends that he goes on fishing trips that I end up solo parenting all weekend but I make sure that I get my off-in-lieu some other time haha.
It’s not that many hours but boy, time to actually take a longgggg shower (where you just stand and stand and stand under the hot running water), have coffee alone, get your nails done or go on a shopping trip – it means a lot.
And more importantly, it’s not selfish to take a break.
It doesn’t matter if you are a FTWM or SAHM – we are all working Moms at the end of the day. Our minds don’t stop, and neither do our hearts.
We plan and schedule our babies’ vaccination appointments months in advance but haven’t been to dentist ourselves in years. We make sure they eat well and sleep well but we survive on Deliveroo and five hours a sleep on good days. We plan Pinterest-worthy birthday parties for the kids, but find it difficult to find time for our friends’ birthdays.
Motherhood is an extremely amazing but consuming (both physically and mentally) journey and we need to know how to find the time and opportunities to just, breathe.
So yes, please take that break you deserve. Whether is it a morning off, or – if you have the luxury of help to – a quick trip with your girl friends, at the end of the day, it will only make you a more relaxed, calm and happier person and hence a better mother.
And your kids will thank you for that.