You know the feeling: the baby is being extra fussy, my toddler is annoying me about something or other, the dog just threw up on the carpet and I just realized we are out of bread AND peanut butter.

Ok, I need five minutes. Right now. I’m hereby calling “five minutes for mom.”

I will be the first to admit that I want it all: happy children, hot coffee, home-cooked meals every day, a clean house, time to work out and shower every day. Clutter and mess and dirty dishes drive me insane. So I work hard around the clock to do e-very-thing.

Now quit laughing – I know that this is impossible.

I live (mostly) by attachment parenting, which usually means that I am very involved in the lives of my children. I’m constantly wearing and/or nursing my baby, and I’m quite active with my son who’s two and a half. Being a stay-at-home mom in a tiny house also means that my home is my office. And sometimes, life starts to make me claustrophobic.

When that happens, all I need to do is just take five minutes for myself. I lay the baby down safely where I can see her, I give my toddler the iPad or (gasp) turn on the TV – and I just go stand in the kitchen. I lean over the sink and breathe slow, inhaling calm and exhaling stress.

OK OK, sometimes there is chocolate involved. Or coffee. Or wine. But it is not really about that. 

Five Min for Mom - title

I am no good to my children if I am not happy and able to focus. And I know when I need to step away for a moment; I can always tell. Maybe I started snapping at my toddler when he was just asking a question (even if it was for the hundredth time). Maybe my infant is going through a growth spurt or a developmental leap, and needs me more than usual. Maybe I have been giving my children all of my attention, and I feel overwhelmed at the housework piling up. Trying to juggle everything in an impossible balancing act only means that I will inevitably crash to the ground with it all.

So I step back and refocus my lens. I make a point to not do any chores in my five minutes. I just stand there and shift my priorities back to where they belong. I have a brilliant child who is articulate and inquisitive – he is curious about his world and that is nothing to punish; I thank God that I am home with my daughter so that I can to give her the attention and care she needs; I am so fortunate to have a home, food to cook, and a husband who is willing to help when he gets home from work.

In this quick reflection time, I often ask myself “ok, what HAS to be done right now?” Of course the kids are number one; while I know my messes around the house will wait for me, they CAN wait. And so I let go of them for now.

I look at my children and see them in a bright new way – where a few minutes ago they were making me nuts, now I really see them as they are. They’re curious, genuine, and kind. My son is making my baby laugh (without any direction from me) and she’s cracking up. I take another deep breath… and smile. There was a time not too long ago when I was told I may never have children. And now I’m stressing out about how I need to vacuum. It seems so silly now.

When my five minutes is up, and I walk back onto the playing field, I am refreshed. Recharged. Renewed. I have regained my perspective and my soul is light again. I can put a big smile on my face, squeeze and kiss my baby daughter, and play with my son. I praise him for being so great with his little sister, and he knows I mean it.

I deserve to have little overflow breaks when I need it, so that I can be the mommy my kids deserve. Don’t feel guilty if and when you need to hold up a yellow card and say “I need five minutes. For me.” You will feel like yourself again, and that’s what your kids really want – a happy you!

Do you ever need a break from being mom? What do you like to do in your “me” time?