Parenting Tip #325 – A Summer Break From You

Summer Break Is Real

A running joke with the notes is always my eagerness to get the children away from me. I joke about sending them back to school early, sending them out to sleepovers and away on play dates.

They’re just jokes.

The freedom feels intoxicating for about an hour and then I miss both kids and wonder if it’s too soon to go pick them up.

I usually want to ship them off to somewhere or pawn them off on someone else not when I’ve had enough of them. It’s when I think they’ve experienced enough of me.

Those moments when I think maybe everything was a huge mistake. Having kids wasn’t a mistake. Thinking I could care for them all day was the error in judgment. I send them away in those moments when I wonder if they’d be better off without me around.

When I can’t handle my own life, let alone meet their every need. When fear and doubt and depression show up again, and it’s written all over my face, even when I’m faking smiles or cracking jokes or dancing to the Trolls soundtrack.

I never want a break from my kids but I often feel like my kids need a break from me.

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2 Comments on “Parenting Tip #325 – A Summer Break From You”

  1. I am not a parent, but I follow your blog as it gives me great joy to listen to the parenting issues you go through. However, I work extensively with kids, I am the educational rights holder of a kid in foster youth (which means, when it comes to his education, I am the parent), and I have a lot of experience in dealing with depression.

    Everyone needs a break sometimes to regenerate. The fact that when you know you are getting down and need to take some time for yourself and that you care enough about your kids to not want them to see you at your worst shows that you are a good father. I know parents who just IGNORE their kids needs when they get to the depressed position you feel at times. As someone who struggles with depression, I know what it is like to feel overwhelmed, to feel like you are failing or are inadequate. Even though many of your posts are in jest, it is clear that you love your kids and do your best to take care of them. I work with foster youth who would literally kill to have an adult in their life that does as much as you do for your kids and who cares as much as it is clear that you do.

    One thing I would encourage you to think about, though. As your children get older, make sure they know that they are not the ones making you depressed, that everyone gets depressed, and that, when it all becomes overwhelming, they can come to you or their mother, that they don’t need to handle it on their own. Also let them know that it is okay to take a mental health day every once in a while to regenerate. They might throw it back in your face, but if you, even briefly, get rid of them when you are feeling at your worst and don’t clearly let them know this, they may get the idea that they need to hide their depression from you. I offer this as advice not as a parent, but as a child whose mother hid her depression from me and would send my sister and I off when she got really down. Both my sister and I struggle with depression from abuse by our father. Neither of us felt we could talk about it with our parents or even with each other.

    My hope in responding to you is to let you know that you don’t have to be perfect all of the time, that I’ve seen kids with much less parental involvement than you give yours turn out great, and that depression affects everyone, not just you. that you realize the depression affects them and try to shield them from it can be a good thing, just don’t take it too far. Good luck to you.

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