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Why It's Okay to Not Want to Be Around Your Kids Every Minute

Updated on December 30, 2016

I Adore My Kids

When I'm not working, I spend most of my waking hours with my children. Certainly, they spend most of their time with me when they're not at school, and that's a normal part of life.

I want to make sure I'm a presence in my kids' lives‚—not a stifling blanket, and certainly not an overly strict dictatorial authority figure. I don't do well at finding a balance between the two some days, as my kids remind me at times, but I like to think that as a parent, I'm always in a state of flux and hopefully growth. I like spending time with my children most days, too, which is awesome; they are funny and clever, and they are genuinely good people, too. In all of that, I really can't complain, because they truly are good people.

But.

They are also 12 and 7, and they are strongly independent and very definitely know their own minds. They seem to enjoy battling with each other regularly until I basically snap at them both to quit fighting. It's a rapid escalation of volume to see who can make their voices heard and ultimately, I'm the one who bellows.

I hate feeling like Mean Mom, and unless I bellow, there's no peace. As a result, I've slowly learned that if I put myself on time out, it ends up being a lot more helpful and healthy for both girls and for me. The first time, the kids looked at me like I was insane when I told them I was going on time out, but it was absolutely the best thing for everyone involved.

I spend my days teaching teenagers, and I enjoy kids, a lot. I especially enjoy my own kids, but there are moments when I'm basically at my wit's end and I know that unless I tuck myself away on my own for a short while, I won't be as effective as I should be as a parent.

It's Not Always That Easy

If you find yourself bogged down in "Mom's Taxi" schedule, or plagued by kids who are glued to your side even when they are claiming they want time to themselves, it seems impossible to get that time alone.

It's OK to want that time to yourself. You're a grown up and you don't always need to be around your kids 24/7, although that is your first instinct since you're a mom. Sometimes, though, mommas need a break from duty. There's a lot on our collective shoulders, from cleaning, to cooking, to homework duty and, of course, ensuring your kids get to where they need to be on a regular basis. If you balance that with your job - and some of you have full-time parenting as a job - you're generally running at all ends, and likely keeping yourself dosed with caffeine to ensure you keep yourself going.

I am by no means an expert parent or a therapist - but I know what I've needed from time to time, and I've had to convince myself to be OK with that over the years. It's taken quite some time for that to happen, and it's still a struggle. Unfortunately, my kids have had to deal with me being a little more terse than I'd like to be, but they have come to be incredibly understanding about the days when my anxiety might be high or I may have had a rough day at work.

They have come to realize that I need some time to myself in order to be able to have time for them. Is it always easy? How about never? It's always a matter of us working together to negotiate where we're at emotionally and me trying to be as open as I can (within reason, of course) to let them know that I do need a little bit of space, just as they do at times.

It's never come easy, but I've learned that on occasion, it's finally OK to not be around my girls constantly. Do I feel guilty? Yes - definitely, but in the long run, I feel like a better person for it.

Time To Yourself = Time To Be Better

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The Bottom Line

The bottom line is, communication is key to everyone involved. You're human, and without telling anyone that you need some down time to yourself, how are you going to stay healthy?

How are you going to be effective as a parent if you don't tell your kids that you need some time for yourself?

OK - so you don't (and can't) tell your 2 and 3 year old to just hang in the living room while you go take a bath. You've got to be age appropriate for your kids, and that's important, because you want them to understand something of where you're at.You should be able to be human with your kids and not just be in the role of parent all of the time. They may not always get it, but that's OK - they will eventually come to see you as a real person who needs some time to yourself after a while.

After all, you're modelling the behavior that will set the stage for their later years, so why not start it now?

You Are Good Enough

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      Donald Tenn 7 weeks ago

      Hey! I have an idea! It is recognized the world over and proven to benefit all, especially those which we should care more about than others, OUR children.

      The plan is called, EQUALLY SHARED PARENTING. I can fully relate to your article and the necessity of needing a 'time out'. I was a stay at home daddy, 100% of my day revolved around the needs of my daughter for about 24 of the 34 months we were together.

      My now ex-wife went to school during the day and I stayed home with our daughter. I woke her, fed her, bathed her, took her to pre-school where I usually stayed with the other children then we would go home, maybe take a nap and a snack before heading to the park and then home in time for mum.

      Mum of course loved our daughter but had homework and the stress of school all day. But... I too needed a break so we shared the evening time and I helped with mum's homework.

      Unfortunately, one day mum just decided she wanted to do something else and abducted our daughter Madison Nicole Tenn. That was 10 years ago...

      Personally I did not believe that such an injustice against our child would perpetrated by my then wife and certainly did not believe the courts would allow it. No reason! The police had never been to our home, no she did not beat me, she was a little heavy handed with our daughter but that was only because she knew not how to be a parent. My ex was allowed to abduct our daughter because of my gender and we should all be ashamed that we even consider or allow such abuse upon our own children.

      Either way, I believe she did love our daughter and EQUALLY SHARED parenting would have been the best resolve for all concerned.

      The statistics for children growing up in Fatherless homes are shocking on a good day. 16 year old girls are pregnant by 35 year old men, why? They are out seeking that father and family they never had. 16 year old boys,it's just the same, they join gangs, go to prison and the cycle repeats.

      Is this in the best interest of our children? Is it in the best interest of our society? No, our children need, want and deserve to have both of their fit and willing parents sharing an equally active role in their lives.

      In the USA 84.4% of all non-custodial parents are the fathers. Really... Are there that many bad dads? OR, is there a gender bias in family law? Today is Christmas Day, I have not heard from my own daughter, even though I have a so-called court in over 10 years. a full 40% of all American children woke up today without a father in the house...

      Rulings made in the so-called FAMILY COURTS are based on Federal Incentive funds from the Social Security Acts Title IV-d program. There are others as well, false allegations of abuse generate $660.00 million dollars for VAWA and the list goes on and on.

      "Destroy the family and you destroy society"

      Why was my daughter allowed to be abducted? She told Judge Thomas Cecil, "I fear him" he then asked, "Why" and she said "Because I took our daughter 6 states away from him" Judge Cecil granted her the ability to break a federal and state law with no proof just an allegation of fear...

      It's time for a change, the TRUE best interest of our children is their human right toshare equally in the lives of boith of their fit, willing and loving parents.

      Still a Daddy

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