We all need a break sometimes. When you’re going to work somewhere else, you take a break when it’s on the schedule. But what if you’re the boss (and the only employee)? How often should a stay-at-home mom get to kick back and relax?
A stay-at-home mom should take a break at least three times a day: once before her kids wake up, once after lunch, and after the kids go to bed. A mom of toddlers or babies should add a mid-morning and mid-afternoon break. She should accomplish this by establishing home routines, even if she’s home alone with her children.
Breaks are necessary to avoid stay-at-home mom burnout
No, being a stay-at-home mom is not the actual hardest job in the world.
But it, like most jobs, is hard. You can’t do it for sixteen hours a day, or even twelve. No one would expect a housekeeper/ nanny to keep hours like that, and no one should expect you to do it either.
When you are well-rested, you’ll be more patient with your children and your husband. Even though when you get a break, it seems like you’re wasting time, you are not. It will help you manage every aspect of your home, from grocery shopping to putting the baby to bed, more gracefully.
1. The early morning break
Maybe this doesn’t seem like a break when it happens first thing in the morning. But it’s probably the most important thing on this list to set you up for a good day.
Getting up before the kids is huge for a stay-at-home parent. If a crying baby has ever woken you up on the monitor or a small person jumping into your bed, you know what I mean. Cute every once in a while, but no way to start the day regularly.
Be sure to start your day early enough that you get some quiet rest time all to yourself. This does not mean time to unload the dishwasher and make coffee.
Here are some ideas for your morning break as a stay at home mom :
- Drinking coffee on your deck or porch while you read.
- Prayer or mediation.
- Watching a favorite TV show.
2. The after-lunch break
This will be your main break, and that’s because the kids have had all morning to zoom around, and they are either napping or having quiet time.
(If yours don’t nap or have quiet time, it’s high time you start!)
This break should be at least an hour, and two is best.
To set yourself up for a relaxing time, make sure you’ve cleaned up the kitchen from lunch, tidied up the house, and that you know what you’re making for dinner that night. You don’t need to do anything about it yet, but you have to know what you’re making. Otherwise, half your break is spent wondering about this. Trust me.
Here are some things to get done during this hour or two break time:
- a craft project, like sewing or painting
- a nap if your children do not sleep through the night
- reading a novel or another book that requires a little concentration
No cleaning, no cooking. Sorry!
3. The after-bedtime break
This will probably be one of your favorite times of the day. Once the kids are in bed, you should immediately get totally relaxed. This might mean a shower, changing into PJs, or whatever will make you feel totally comfy.
Your evening break should not be project-focused or productive but totally relaxing.
- A funny TV show
- A drink!
- Sitting outside in the summer.
- Reading in front of your fireplace in the winter.
It’s been a long day, Mom. You did a great job, and with a little rest, you’ll do a great job again tomorrow.
4. Short breaks for moms of littles
All stay-at-home parents need time to rest, but when your kids are little (under 3), you really need it. It’s exhausting to constantly worry where a little person is, make sure they aren’t swallowing something, and deal with someone who still can’t speak or control their emotions.
You need more breaks!
This one is short and simple. So if you have kids under 3, add a ten-minute break mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Some ideas:
- A soda and some time on social media.
- Reading the news all alone.
- Coffee at a clean breakfast table.
The key is to sit down, enjoy the quiet, and relax!
So… when does the work get done if I’m taking all these breaks?
You’ve noticed that I don’t believe you should be doing work during your break time away from the kids. That’s because it’s supposed to be a time to relax, not do other work. Yes, being a stay-at-home parent is a full-time job. But full-time workers get time away from work when they are not expected to do other work. Make sense?
Anyway. Cooking and cleaning happen while your kids are awake. I know you might have a lot of objections here.
Kids can’t be unsupervised, and you want to bake something? Put them in a high chair to color, splash, or do playdoh.
Do you really want to organize your closet? Swing or playpen.
Fussy baby? Try a wrap or other carrier. They’ll probably like being upright and next to you and on the move anyway.
Hate all these ideas? Guess what. If you have little tiny, dependent children, you don’t have to do big elaborate projects. This is a time for simple things and maintenance mode. Relax! They’ll be upstairs playing with Legos alone before you know it.
Moms deserve a break!
You’re doing a great job. Even the hardest working employee gets paid breaks and lunches. Never feel bad about taking time to yourself a few times a day.
Just thought you should hear it again.