by Diane Burton
When I was a young mother, my fervent wish was time by myself. My children were 13 months apart. I used to say twins would have been easier. (After babysitting our twin grandsons, I know it wouldn’t.) Still, I think every mother wishes for time alone, especially the stay-at-home mom. She doesn’t get a break.
Sometimes, returning to the workplace after maternity leave is a blessing. Nobody crying to be picked up or change diapers or feeding. At work, you actually get breaks. At home, it’s constant. From the time children are born until they leave for kindergarten, a mother’s life revolves around them. Only when they’re asleep do you get a break. But, no. You can’t. You have a basket full of dirty laundry or clean clothes to fold. The sink is full of empty bottles, etc. that need more than rinsing out for the next time. And so it goes.
If you’re lucky, your spouse is there to help you out. But . . . We all know guys who wouldn’t change a diaper if they were paid. Or guys who think you didn’t do anything all day because you stayed home while they “worked.” I’d like to give them a Gibbs’ (NCIS) slap up the back of the head. Thank goodness for the fathers who believe the children are their responsibility, too. They get up during the night to soothe the crying child. They change diapers as needed. They walk the floor (or rock) a teething baby.
As babies grow into toddlers, your worry worsens. You child-proof your house: cover outlets, install kidlocks on doors and drawers, cover stove knobs, install gates on stairs, Still, you have to have eagle-eyes all the time. Going to the bathroom alone is a challenge. You wonder what they’re getting into. Or they follow you. How do you take a shower?
Even though I’m a long time away from those days, I babysit the grandchildren—almost year-old twins and a 3-year-old. Thank goodness, son and daughter-in-law have a kid “corral” and the boys can’t get loose. And they take naps. I always tell new mothers to nap when the kids nap. The laundry and dishes will be there when you and the baby wake. You deserve a break.
Time alone is essential to a mother’s sanity. Employ a sitter so you can get out for a walk or go shopping for fun or have lunch with a friend. Accept help from friends and relatives, even if it’s only for an hour. A mother needs time to refresh before starting all over again.
Nobody likes a cranky mother. 😊
About the Author
Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mystery series. She is also a contributor to two anthologies: Portals, Volume 2 and How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in West Michigan. They have two children and five grandchildren.
You can read Diane’s “Family Life” column on the 3rd Wednesday each month here at Pandora’s Box Gazette.