Five Reasons You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty About Getting Away From Your Kids

Today, I am going to convince you and me, you should not feel guilty about leaving your kids. Yesterday, I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown … a real one. My kids were circling me like vultures on a near-dead antelope, the house was a mess, sand was everywhere and it wasn’t even close to happy hour. The sheer volume was enough to drive a sane person over the edge.

I have been with my kids non-stop since summer started, and other than sleeping and going to the loo, don’t think I have been alone once. The kids are having the summer of a lifetime. After a month in Italy, we are now at our little place by the beach … a place which can aptly be described as a kids’ paradise. I’ve played CanJam, cards, Life, SpikeBall (this is a good one if you haven’t seen it) and the person game incessantly. At almost every meal, there have been at least 8-10 kids in the house, and I am, for the most part, appreciative of the opportunity to provide them with a great season. Yesterday, though, after being diagnosed with bronchitis, changing all the sheets and taking the kids to the beach for the day, I hit a wall. I shipped my three girls off to my sister’s, spent the morning with the boys and then called for back up. A wonderful, fun teenager in town, came to take the boys to the beach, where they will go in the water, build sand castles and eat ice cream. So, why the hell do I feel guilty?!? I found myself explaining why I needed the break to the sitter, who is 16 and couldn’t care less. What is wrong with taking a break from your kids? NOTHING! And, here are five reasons why:

1. There are 365 days in the year. If you take a real break for 5 days, that is only 1.3% of the time. If you get away from them for 10 days, you aren’t even at 3%. Heck, shoot for 15 days away, and you’ll barely be hitting 5%. Nothing you could do or not do in that 5% of the year, will make a difference long term.

2. I guarantee, if you have kids and read my intro, you can relate. If this is how you too spend many a day, with the word “Mommy” in a loop that becomes so ingrained in your head, you hear it when no one is around, you deserve a break.

3. Children are just little people, therefore they can be really flawed and annoying … just like big people. You are also a person, so the same applies. It will make you both feel better to spend some time apart. Kids are under a microscope, with parents checking their emotional temperature every five minutes. Time away gives everyone a chance to breathe. Maybe we parents aren’t as great as we think we are and, therefore, are replaceable for a time.

4. You will be a better parent when you return from a few hours away or a few days away. Everyone needs a chance to refuel and reorganize his or her thoughts. You will like your kids much more at a distance, and it will give you time to reassess what they’ve been up to, what has been bothering them or you, and provide you with the chance to be more thoughtful in your parenting.

5. Don’t bother feeling guilty because five minutes after you get back, you will feel as if you never left!

There. I needed that! Goodbye guilt, helloooo laundry in a quiet house. It really is the little things that make us happy, isn’t it?

“Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving.” — Erma Bombeck

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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.

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