Spend even five minutes scrolling parenting forums on Facebook or Reddit, and you'll find many stressed out moms who are in desperate need of more time and space and energy. While missing out on all of those things might just be par for the course as a parent, there's also a case to be made for telling your partner that you need to take care of yourself. That's precisely what a mom in the Baby Bumps subreddit is arguing in a post entitled, "You CAN and SHOULD..."
The original poster (OP), writing under the handle SolidBones, wrote, "Ok ladies, it's time for a pep talk! There are a positively depressing amount of posts on here lamenting the woes of having no personal space or time. This makes sense for single parents or those whose partners are gone for long periods of time. It's also true that no matter the situation, babies are hard and stressful, and we're all tired."
She went on to share "a reminder" for "those of you with a partner in the picture": "You CAN and SHOULD... Take a shower, go to the bathroom in peace, sit down and eat a meal, leave the house sans children, take a nap. But how could these things possibly be done, you say?"
Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash
The OP listed excuses she's heard, followed by her response:
"I'm a stay at home parent, and my SO works long hours." SO DO YOU.
"Baby only wants mommy/daddy." They'll survive without you for an hour
"My SO needs time to relax" SO DO YOU.
"My SO is bad with the baby" Practice makes perfect. In order to get good with babies, you have to spend time with them.
She concluded, "YOU DESERVE TO HAVE YOUR BASIC HUMAN NEEDS MET. If you aren't clean, fed, and rested, please talk it out with your SO today! Do not wait!"
The "pep talk" inspired some Redditors to praise the OP and share their related experiences. Shayna9787 wrote, "This is amazing advice and came at a perfect time for me. I realized it has been months since I’ve done something alone, for myself. I cried on Sunday because I was jealous that my husband was always going for runs or running an errand, but it wasn’t that simple for me. I’m a SAHM and nursing our 4.5 month old round the clock. We also have a 2.5 year old toddler, and it’s exhausting sometimes. Today, when my husband gets home, I’m going to get a haircut. By myself. I will feed the baby, and then go have some 'me' time. Take an hour for yourselves people!"
Streetcarnamedstchar wrote, "I have never been unable to shower, pee/poop, or brush my teeth as a mom. The crib is a perfectly safe place to leave baby for 20 minutes. I’m a better mom when I’m clean and comfortable."
Others pointed out that the OP's advice is often easier said than done, especially when you have more than one L.O. A Redditor who goes by FineSureWhatever wrote, "My partner is my equal partner: When he's home he's with one of the kids doing something to help or support them. But there are only so many hours in the day and with breastfeeding and caring for multiple kids, getting 15 minutes to myself can be near impossible. So it's not always a 'can' situation. But that time will come again, when this tiny baby can go more time without me and my oldest can entertain herself for longer, etc. We're not all in the same stages. This kind of post can make people feel like they aren't 'doing it right' if they don't have time for themselves at the moment."
Hazbelthecat agreed, writing, "If this is so doable, I'm really not sure how. This post makes me feel like I must be doing something very wrong, but I don't know what. It's not partner's fault. He's great, but if he's watching the baby then I'm sleeping. Really don't have time for myself and now feel like even more of a failure." To that, the OP replied, "You are doing it right, though! You get those naps! And it's not a failure at all to just say 'spouse, I'm off to take a shower' and go. You can do it!"
Redditors also pointed out that single parents and any full-time parent (whether or not they're a mom) deserve to have their basic human needs met, as well.
And just like no two families or child care arrangements look exactly alike, every parent's self-care game plan will be unique. But the OP's point that every parent deserves one is something we can't hear enough.