The Serial Guide To Explaining Parenthood
#10 Taking A Hiatus
Parents need a hiatus every now and then.
It’s for our mental health.
I know this just as well as any parent. It has been almost 3 months since I’ve published anything on Medium. I broke my own rule that no matter what I should publish something regularly. Unfortunately, life can so easily get in the way of those little things you love doing.
Between a medical scare and my husband deciding to change carreers we faced a host of uncertainties and a great amount of strain both on ourselves and our relationship. I also had a slight bit of depression but not clinical or severe that I couldn’t work through it.
I didn’t write anything because I was wrapped up in everything else. I felt I just needed this little hiatus to focus on other things. In any event my mental state prevented me from just being able to write a few sentences let alone productive writing.
The problem with taking a hiatus from what you actually love doing is that you don’t end up feeling better or less stressful. In contrast you feel more stressed, you deny yourself that one thing that actually helps you calm down and reflect. The one thing that can also help you work through your emotions without having to focus on all your problems.
In stead of realizing that my writing was my hiatus from life’s problems I took a hiatus from writing to focus even more on those problems.
I basically did what so many other parents do to themselves. Particularly parents of babies and very young children. We think we need to stop our own lives completely for the benefit of our children.
In a sense this needs to happen. If you have a little baby you need to spend a great deal of your day focused on that baby. Babies are completely dependent on their parents, so granted you can be forgiven for placing you life on hold to focus on him. But you shouldn’t place it on hold indefinitely. Sure you need to make compromises. I can’t sit for a few hours writing or enjoying any of my usual recreational activities and ignore my daughter. Aside from the fact that she will look for unimaginable mischief to accomplish she is still very young. She can entertain herself, but I can’t expect her to basically look after herself either.
It sounds like a difficult balancing act, doesn’t it?
You should still be able to spend time on what you enjoyed doing before having children, but you probably won’t have nearly as much time doing them. You will be exhausted and will have to see to your children first.
But as a parent you will need breaks.
You need a hiatus from life, a space or an activity that you love and can retreat to when you need it. Otherwise you will just start feeling more depressed. You need that one thing that you can tell your partner “I need some time” for and you can retreat to it and finally relax a little bit. Screw the laundry, the cleaning, or any other activities that seem so pressing and just relax for a bit doing something you enjoy.
Every parent needs this.
Some obviously won’t agree with this and will even say spending time with their children is their way of relaxing and having fun. I get that. Spending time with my daughter is very enjoyable. I just don’t agree that your only way of relaxing lies in spending time with your family, great though that quality time is. Most of us obviously had hobbies before and it would be a disservice to us if we didn’t carve out some time every so often to pursue those hobbies again.
After all, it’s for our own sanity.