Taking A Break

For 45 days I faithfully posted every single day on the Living With Juvenile Arthritis blog. It all started with Nablopomo, and then I was on a roll. Since I was getting lots of views, and great comments, my older son urged me NOT to lose the momentum, and I didn’t for another 2 weeks. Then I realized I really needed to be taking a break.

Life is complicated period. Life with JA is doubly complicated. Then when you add in a week at the hospital, 3 out of the 3 of us being sick with the C.R.U.D., travel across country for clinics, the holidays, a book signing and a nasty, messy, divorce…..

I knew I had to step back and recharge for a few days. As much as I wanted to share some of the amazing things I learned on our trip, as much as I wanted to encourage others of you going through rough spots with your JA (or chronically ill) kids, I knew that if I didn’t back off somewhere, I wouldn’t be any good to anyone.

As the primary caregiver to medically fragile children, I have heard it over and over again… that if you don’t take care of yourself, that you will be unable to properly care for others. This is true, but not in the way that the uninitiated (usually the ones giving the advice) think. I can never take a break from taking care of my kids, from making sure their medications are on time, from responding to the doctors in a timely manner, or from getting up in the middle of the night with them when they are sick. I can’t choose to go to the nail salon for just an hour for me, when my kid really needs to get a walk in appointment to check on some crazy medical side effects. In times like these, my time is not MY time, and it can’t be. It’s not an option, not right now anyway.

This also doesn’t mean that I can’t do some things to take care of myself, without sacrificing the care of my kids. Its not so much taking “me” time, but making sure that I am taking care of me. There are some things that I can take a break from, things that I have considered to be important, that CAN slide a bit. I can let the laundry pile up a little more than usual, and take a nap when my exhausted, sick-with-the-crud kids do. It’s not a luxury, it will make me able to get up at 2 am if they are up worshipping the porcelain god, needing me to give them crackers, ginger ale and a little sympathy. I can sleep in the extra hour in the morning (when I usually write my blog post for the day) so that I am rested and not grouchy, and better able to handle what the day gives me. I can pick up soup in bread bowls for everyone once this week instead of stressing about cooking every single meal. I can allow myself to take some of the pressure off, in the areas that aren’t directly related to my kids medical care, at least for a few days.

While we can’t live our lives lounging on the couches every day, while everyone is a bit under the weather and a little overwhelmed, we CAN take a break from some of the normal life stuff, things that can be put off for a day or two without severe consequences, while I recharge my batteries and recover from recent events. It makes me a better mom, and a more effective caregiver, and that is more important that getting that last load of laundry done today, or keeping my “post-a-day” run active.

This is why I have been so quiet this week. I was taking my own advice that I outlined in Living WIth Juvenile Arthritis: A Parent’s Guide. I recognized my limits, prioritized the must do’s, and the not-so-pressing responsibilities, and then took a break.

But now I’m back, recharged and better able to give both to my kids, and to you.

If you have been running too hard for too long, I urge you to take a look at your life and consider taking a break, in the areas that you know you can. You will be a much better caregiver for it.

 

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Comments:

  1. Kim, so glad to hear you took time to recharge yourself. I so appreciate you sharing all of what you know and sorry about the divorce on top of it all.
    Suzanne recently posted…Family Centered Care & Chronically Ill kidsMy Profile

  2. We all need to take a break and recharge our batteries once in a while. I have been posting at least 1 post per day for a while now, but I am planning on taking most of next week off and just enjoy Christmas by disconnecting!
    Paula -Growing Up Bilingual recently posted…Christmas Wreath Holiday PizzaMy Profile

    • I know exactly what you mean! It looks like after posting daily for a month and a half, I’m only going to get one, maybe two posts up this week! I really needed the time to get some extra rest though, and instead of getting up 2 hours before the kids to write, I used that time to catch some extra zzzz’s, and it has made a huge difference in my recovery from the C.R.U.D., and my ability to take care of everyone else! Have a great Christmas!

  3. Great post! I have a really hard time taking a break and its something I need to work on too!
    Cara @ Craft Dictator recently posted…Craft Frenzy Friday #18My Profile

    • I think its part of our culture: go,go,go- do,do,do…. I’m not quite to the point where I stop to smell the roses just yet, I’m working towards it, but life is still getting in the way. In the meantime, at least I can shut the laundry room door, and take a minute or two to recharge my batteries, or go to bed 30 minutes earlier so I can better tackle tomorrow.

  4. Breaks are very very good! You need one!

  5. I know how hard it is remembering to take a few for days, hours or even second for ourselves when we can. I have the same issue. When I’m on a roll I sometimes forget about me.
    Fabulous Perks recently posted…Influenster #JollyVoxBox Review (Free Goodies)My Profile

    • I agree- being a mom kind of does that to you, you put everyone else first, and take what is left over. I still can’t put myself “first” but I can make an effort to take a minute or two for myself, or push off things that really aren’t important so I can take a break and just breathe!

  6. Everyone needs to take a break at some point so I totally understand, Especially with your circumstances! I need to take a break this weekend that I’m desperately in need of!

    • You hit the nail on the head- EVERYONE needs to take a break from time to time, just for our mental health! Sometimes you have to get creative on how you can do that, and still take care of your responsibilities,so its a matter of prioritizing and letting some things go. I hope you get a good break this weekend!

  7. I am break’s biggest fan! I am screaming to have one. Just a little while ago I really really wanted to just plop down on my bed and sleep. Of course I could not afford that because dinner is not yet done and the kids would be home soon. This coming year, I am going to start loving myself more.
    Eileen recently posted…Say a Prayer for the World this ChristmasMy Profile

    • On days like that (if I know Im exhausted when I get up for the day) I get something in the crockpot for dinner to take some of the pressure off. There are little ways that we can take care of ourselves even if we he have to push ourselves further to the bottom of the list (and handle responsibilities!) I hope you can come up with some of those creative ways to make things easier on yourself this coming year!

  8. It is always good to take a step back and breath a bit. Life i short and yours has been a bit stressful from the sound of it – do not let it consume you. Take your break and try to relax.
    Jennifer Williams recently posted…Turning 17 Today…My Profile

  9. I’m a firm believer in taking breaks even if it is to do the laundry or pick up the house. For me those are my breaks to step away from work. I treasure cooking because it takes me away from my job where i want to work all the time. That’s me. Each of us is different in how we our lives are and dependent on that depends on how we feel we need to take our breaks. I’m glad you were able to find time to take a break and realize that you needed one. Hopefully you can take more soon. Happy Holidays to all you.

    • I’m glad you brought that point up! Taking a break can be different for everyone- but it is that time we take to recharge, even if it means letting something go for a bit. For me, it was letting the laundry and cooking go once or twice because I was stretched to thin, and knew I should use the extra time I would spend doing that (and writing posts this week) for the extra rest and sleep I needed to get well, and take care of my kids. For you the mental break could be cooking- it is different for everyone! Happy holidays to you too!

  10. It’s very easy to get burnt out being a blogger. That’s why a lot of people only blog once a week or so.
    Steven recently posted…Korean IT Companies Trying to Avoid Windows 8 At All CostsMy Profile

    • I think its easy to get burnt out if you do something for too long period! Especially with blogging though, your audience can feel it if you just aren’t into it. Better quality over quantity, any time.

  11. Im so happy Kim that you took that break, because sometimes things could get very hectic. we have 5 children and boy the run around, homeschool,, housewife, and everything else gets crazy
    GossipMoms (@GossipMoms) recently posted…NeNe Leakes: I Had Wine For Breakfast Before ‘Housewives’ AuditionMy Profile

    • I feel you! Even though I only have two, I am homeschooling too, and that on top of the medical stuff, with everyday life thrown in…whew. I really needed it.

  12. Awesome advice. I normally take a break during the holidays, but I don’t want to lose the momentum I have going. So I am writing and scheduling posts for most days next week!
    Jennifer @Making Our Life Matter recently posted…New Year’s Cash #Giveaway: Start The New Year Right!My Profile

    • Thank you! I don’t give any advice that I don’t heed myself (or at least try really hard to take too!) I wish I had it in me to write ahead and schedule posts. I am more a spirit of the muse kind of girl!

  13. Breaks are very necessary. I’ve been going non-stop since August. Luckily after tomorrow we are going to have some much needed down time.
    Cyndi recently posted…ModCloth Revel in Rewards SaleMy Profile

  14. I agree! The holidays are especially bad for that! I find I’m more behind then ever! Thank Goodness weeks give me a breather and help me catch up!
    Jenn recently posted…Food Friday~Bacon Wrapped Asparagus!My Profile

    • Thankfully, this holiday is not as busy as others in years past have been. Maybe being sick has slowed us down, or knowing that we will move soon kept us from wanting to acquire too much stuff this holiday, but there are plenty of everyday life things that were spreading us too thin! Either way, its important for our health (and sanity) to slow down from time to time. Now to make some of that yummy bacon wrapped asparagus you posted, since my break from cooking is over… that looks amazing!

  15. It’s good to take breaks sometimes. I’ve been so busy lately and plan to take a week or two off on January, once the Holiday craziness is over.
    Malia recently posted…Pish Posh and Jane Have Teamed Up – The stroller you’ve been looking for!My Profile

    • I have found that taking a break from anything really, always gives you a better/clearer perspective than plugging through out of stubbornness! Sometimes the holidays (or vacations) are even busier than “regular life” and you need a break from your break! Hope you have a chance to recharge in January!

  16. I need to take a little break, too. Looking forward to Christmas for this reason 🙂
    Becky recently posted…Restaurant.com promo code December 2013… PLUS~ 10 last minute gift ideas…My Profile

    • The holidays always seem to make us rush around and do more! I’m glad that this year (even though it was from being sick) we could slow down and spend more time with each other. Even if it is just watching corny Christmas movies on the couch and eating takeout soup 🙂

  17. I am glad you were able to step back and take some time for yourself. Always important to get some time to refresh and think about yourself
    Carla recently posted…A Gift for Sophie Review & Giveaway US/CANMy Profile

    • Not so much taking time for myself, but taking a break from stuff that was less important! I knew I needed to get a little extra rest and be less “busy” for a few days while we were all under the weather. Back to reality (and laundry) now!

  18. Jennifer Brown says:

    Really nice from the heart article. It’s so important to take of ourselves and our family.
    Enjoy your break.

  19. Everyone needs a break sometimes; you always comeback better than you were before.

  20. Sometimes taking a break is just what everyone needs I had some time out at the beginning of this month when everything got to much and I honestly feel so recharged from it (at leas when it comes to blogging) x
    Sarah Bailey recently posted…Christmas at WilkinsonMy Profile

    • I think its a lesson we can apply to almost any part of our lives that is getting a bit out of balance. Although I can’t take a break from taking care of my kids (and I don’t really want to) I can recharge and renew myself by easing my load temporarily in a few other places. Thanks for stopping in Sarah!

  21. Erika Maddox says:

    Love this Kim. Glad you took that break. I know how hard it is remembering to take a few for ourselves when we can. Which isn’t often. Much love and hugs to you and the boys.

    • Moms tend to put themselves at the bottom of the priority list (me included) but sometimes we have to put ourselves over things like laundry so that we can recharge and be useful when we NEED to be! I knew if I didn’t let something go, that my kids would suffer for it. The blog, cooking a couple meals from scratch and some of the cleaning got moved down a few notches, just for a few days… but I’m back now!

  22. Great post! Thanks for the reminder. It is often much easier to give advice than take it for ourselves! Nice job recognizing and doing what you needed to do for you and your kids!
    Kim recently posted…My 1st Blog Contest!My Profile

  23. Yes, breaks are good. I just came back from a break. I am a parent of 6 kids, one with JA. And I just learned valuable lesson myself.

    • When you know you are needed, it is that much harder to take a break! But taking a break doesn’t have to be taking off from caregiving, it can be taking a break from less pressing responsibilities- lessening the load, even for a few days can make a huge difference!

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