When Burnout Hits, Go Dance with Canadians

Friday’s “What the frak…?” moment (WTFM) is brought to you by………..

Stay at Home Parent Burnout: For over four years I’ve been a stay at home mother. I love it. I do. I wouldn’t dream of missing this time with my children. Yet, I’m burnt out.

What to do?

I love my children.

I love the mini moments. The big moments.

I love how my daughter uses her drool as moisturizer, coating me in it then rubbing it around for good coverage.

I love how my son’s eyes twinkle with pride when he’s accomplished something.

I love listening to my son learn to read.

I love each new word out of my daughter’s mouth. I even love hearing her gleeful “PUPPY!” for the millionth time. In a day.

I love the perfection of watching them both play in harmony with each other – for the few minutes it lasts.

I love seeing them change from day to day and the challenge of capturing each priceless face to film.

Don’t even get me started on kisses and hugs.

I’ll turn into a mushy pile of mommy goo.

Yet in the pool of all this amazing awesomeness, there is a thought, lurking beneath the playful chaos above, slowing tainting everything around it.

I want to be free.

It contaminates every interaction with my children. With my husband.

With my friends in life.

I was always a “homebody”, preferring the comfort of my couch and family over the outside world.

Now I want to flee.

I want to walk out of the house with only a purse and not have to worry about having enough wipes or snacks for the thirty minute errand.

I want to eat without stopping every other bite to cut someone else’s food – while the food is hot.

I want to shower whenever I please.

I want to stay up late, stay out late, sleep in, watch an R rated movie during the day…

I want to escape the laundry piles of blueberry drooled clothing and the clutter that exponentially replicates on my counters.

I want the damn dishes to wash themselves.

And I want to do it all in a place where it isn’t over 100 degrees every day of the summer.

I am sick of the Groundhog Day monotony of being a Stay at Home Parent.

My house teases me mercilessly with the 1,042 things needing to done. That likely never will be.

I am burned out and feel a giant neon FAILURE light flash above my head for daring to admit it.

So I want to leave and not deal with it.

I want to be free.

I have never gone 24 hours without seeing my children. Not once.

I’ve had mini-dates with my husband.

I’ve had the rare event where I’m gone most of the day.

I use my two hours of gym child care like a life preserver and praise the days my son is gone to his Mother’s Day Out program.

Sometimes I even escape for a few hours of girl chatΒ  – but rarely before the children are in bed.

And it isn’t enough.

I’m not happy.

I want to be free.

Normally the wish is a whisper.

Lately it’s a scream.

Maybe it’s the heat.

Maybe it’s the hormonal time of the month.

Maybe it’s because somehow I didn’t shower for three days.

Maybe I’m depressed.

I don’t want to workout, something I once loved.

I want to drink my Mountain Dew, inhale a pan of brownies, and eat popcorn coated in butter.

And write. I really really want to write. All day. Without distraction or interruption. Until the thoughts and ideas brewing over the last four years spill onto the screen.

This is selfish – I know. I feel like the petulant child, stomping her foot in anger, whining to the world about a life that in reality, is pretty damn good.

I love my family. I would do anything for them.

But I’ve hit Mommy burnout – and all I want to do is be alone, or be in the company of those who know exactly how I feel.

Just for a while.

I need a break, so I can miss what I have, and truly appreciate it.

I need to recharge.

I need time to be just… me.

And finally, I’m doing something about it.

I’m going to Canada.

Everyone who knows me, is saying, “What the FRAK, Kelly?!” Right about now.

That’s right. I’m flying to Canada.

I applied for my passport on Tuesday (my other one expired long ago, and I had small children when the Canada/Mexico/Caribbean rules changed).

In seven weeks.

For five and half days.


I’m going to see friends I’ve never met in person, who somehow understand me in freakishly psychic ways.

I’m going to the mountains – I’ve never seen the Canadian Rockies.

Actual image of where I'll be staying.... Sigh...

Hell, I’ve never set foot in Canada.

I’m going to write.

I’m going to talk. And talk. And talk.

I’ll laugh.

I might even cry. Hopefully from too much laughter.

I’m going to do outdoorsy things without worries of child care.

I’m going to just be me – with no demands, chores, or worries.

And while I’m sure they’ll have to shove me onto the plane when I’d rather relocate my entire family there for the summer to escape the heat, I will be so glad to have my babies back in my arms.

And smell them again.

And see their smiles.

Because I am a mommy. Not a perfect one, but a good one.

Who is just burnt out.

And desperately in need ofΒ  a vacation.

So don’t be surprised if you see me counting down the seven weeks.

When my blog will temporarily become…..

……wait for it………

Dances with Canadians.

Happy Friday all.

Have you ever had at least 24 hours away from your children after taking that procreating step? Either with or without your spouse? Or had parent burn out?

About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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42 Responses to When Burnout Hits, Go Dance with Canadians

  1. mairedubhtx says:

    I think all parents at some point suffer from burn out. Go on your trip to Canada and enjoy yoursellf. Come back refreshed and ready to be a mom again.

  2. There’s nothing at all “selfish” about what you’re feeling. I don’t know how we convinced mothers that they are supposed to enjoy being slaves. In the work-a-day world, no one on earth thinks that you’re never supposed to take a day off, but mothers (not fathers mind you, nor women who are not mothers) feel like taking a day off–wanting a day off–is a mortal sin and a reflection on the quality of the love that they have for their children.


    Take a vacation from your unrelenting job, and ENJOY it. You deserve it, 10 times over.

    • Wow.

      Just. Wow.

      You just made me feel so much better.

      Typically the response I get is “You wanted children, but nobody wants to work.”

      Being a mother is the hardest job, but the best. It is.

      But I do sooooo need a break.

      I plan on enjoying every second, I don’t care if it pours rain every day.

      It won’t be 104.

      And I’ll have amazing company.

      Thank you for your commenting. Really.

      It made my day.

    • Deborah the Closet Monster says:

      DARN IT! I wrote a beautiful comment about the importance of taking time out, but pasted over it . . . and no ctrl-z success. 😦

      Here’s the gist of it:
      (1) I love what Bruce wrote!
      (2) I’ve experienced burnout. With full support from Ba.D., I spent my birthday weekend at the Rally to Restore Sanity in Washington, D.C. That trip was important, because it (a) gave me a chance to remember who I was before and why I want to keep in touch with her and (b) reminded me how blessed I am in my life now. I think life is happier when it involves both (a) and (b). πŸ™‚
      (3) ROCK ON, Kelly! Have a blast!

  3. Mama, I totally, completely get it! In August of 2009, I fled the bliss of stay-at-home life for four GLORIOUS days in Iowa, visiting friends I’d never met before. It was salve for my soul and I laughed so hard, I cried. We talked. We danced and I came home a better wife, a better mother. Blogged before I went:


    Enjoy every. blessed. moment.


  4. Iowa???

    It’s not often the words “glorious” and “Iowa” are used together. I should know as I lived there most of my life.

    I’ll have to read your tale.

    Thanks for the words, Belly. πŸ™‚

  5. I can’t wait! I’ve been away and I enjoy every minute of it. I enjoy flying by myself (you mean I can read?), actually finishing a conversation, and taking care of me. I also enjoy coming home.

    And I can’t wait till August! Woohoo. Texas invasion! Love. It.

    • I’ll have about 7 hours (each way) of travel time.

      I have plans.

      No children to entertain on a flight means I CAN READ A BOOK!

      Do you know how long it’s been? I used to read several each WEEK.

      It’s been months..

      I already have it plotted out. I’m going to read The Hunger Games.

      I cannot tell you how the simple prospect of uninterrupted READING thrills me.

      I can’t wait to see you guys!

  6. Shari Green says:

    Kelly, I’m so excited for you! This is awesome! And you will be so refreshed in those 5 1/2 days, I’m sure of it. What an excellent plan.

    It was years before I managed to get away. I was a SAHM for 18 years (!!) before my youngest hit school-age. Oy. It was a long haul, and I don’t regret it at all. But for sure it would’ve been good for me and my sanity to have semi-regular ME time. Thankfully, it’s much easier to get away occasionally now that they’re older. πŸ™‚

    • I think what makes it so difficult is the lack of family around.

      I remember as a child spending the night at my grandparents, who just lived down the road. My grandmother baby-sat me during the day while my mother worked.

      I don’t have that option with family living so far away.

      I do have fabulous friends, however, and we’re all just waiting for our kids to be slumber party age so we can trade the occasional weekend away…

      We’ve only just had our first family vacation for fun (versus for visiting relatives) this January, when we went skiing in Colorado and good ‘ol Murphy decided to throw a wrench at us.

      It was still awesome.

      Also? I’ve always been in love with mountains.

      The issue will be leaving them to return to 100+ degree weather….

      • Shari Green says:

        I would NOT do well in 100+ weather! ugh! Yes, enjoy the beauty and cooler temps in the mountains… πŸ™‚

        I never had family nearby either, and was a little jealous of people who did, lol. But I think we can still figure out ways to keep our sanity and refresh our spirits — but it does take a lot more planning and being intentional about it!

  7. Elena Aitken says:

    I can’t wait till August!
    I loved being home with the kids when they were little, BUT it’s so easy to lose yourself amongst all the diapers, laundry, snacks, playgroups…etc.
    Good for you for realizing what you need AND doing something about it! A bit of a break always makes me come home ready to be a better mother, wife, friend etc..
    It’s going to be a blast hanging out with the wordbitches and I can’t wait to share my favorite place with you. My (yes, I have ownership) mountains are amazing and I’m thrilled to share them with you and the sense of peace and inspiration that they provide.
    Let the countdown begin.
    P.S. Dances with Canadians?? LOVE it!!
    And in that pic there was still ice on the lake. I promise it’s gone now. I’d take another picture but it’s currently raining and there’s a cloud hanging over the lake.
    BUT…the hot tub is fired up!
    See ya soon

    • Mountains have always put me at peace. Always. There is a reason they are in my blog header.

      I wouldn’t mind ice on the lake. I have no plans on swimming in it or any other Canadian body of water that is not heated without a wetsuit. πŸ™‚ My blood has thinned.

      I want to see more photos! I’m so excited.

      I wasn’t kidding about the dancing part, even if it’s just in the cabin with the iPod…

  8. OHMYWORD! I want to dance with Canadians, too…

    Do you think they know The Hustle?

    My repertoire is somewhat limited. eh.

    • I make up my own dance steps.

      Most people believe I’m drunk because I’m the person dancing by herself way too early on the dance floor. πŸ™‚

      Perhaps some day I can dance with Californians too… Sounds like a great summer trip, but one too expensive until I know people there…

  9. Annie says:

    So completely jealous! But so excited for you!! I totally “get” the burnout thing. Many nights my husband has pulled into the driveway to see me standing in the door with my purse on my shoulder. I dash off to no where. Any where. The house can feel so suffocating sometimes.

    Every mommy needs to recharge her spirit on a regular basis. πŸ™‚ You really deserve the get-away!

    • I have those nights too – it’s so good to hear I’m not alone.

      Most often on days when my children were cranky or in Push Mommy’s Buttons mode. But any day will work.

      I’m so excited. I don’t do things like this. Ever.

      A sure sign something snapped.

      45 days…

  10. What a GREAT idea – never occurred to me when I was drowning in diapers and tantrums for 3 kids under 4 nearly 40 years ago. We did manage to get away as a couple twice – for 2 weeks each time – only because of the gracious generosity of my parents, who moved into our home and shouldered the very intimidating schedule of each of our by then school age kids. LOVED being free for that stretch each time. GO FOR IT – enjoy it. It will make you a better, more patient and loving mommy. And you’re right – it would be easier if your family lived closer and could spell you once in a while. We had one set of grandparents 5 minutes from us and the other 30 minutes away. That helped. A WHOLE lot.

    • I would love it if my parents would do that. Sadly, with the kids at this age, they just don’t have quite enough energy to watch both of them for a full week. Maybe in a few years???

      Is it wrong I look forward to the day I can stick them on a plane alone to visit for a week?

      I lived close to my grandparents and it was so nice.

      I’m TRYING to convince them to winter here. HINT HINT (more of shove, really).

      I think this is what I need.

      Although I did have a funny nightmare this morning about meeting them in person… Oy.

      Thanks for commenting!

  11. PJ Kaiser says:

    I love the idea of getting away. The closest I’ve come to a solo trip was when my girl was around 2 and my son was 4 and I took my girl with me to visit my mom for a week. I thought I’d lose my mind without my son there. I have never had steady childcare and my husband works long hours during the week. The short periods of time when I have access to a babysitter, I find that having a babysitter one afternoon a week makes such an enormous difference for my sanity. I think I benefit more from a once a week babysitter than I would from a solo trip away. But that’s just me. It’s not being selfish AT ALL for you to want to have a vacation – you’ve more than earned it and hopefully it will help you see some ways to work balance back into your routine. My husband and I are going on our third date-night EVER since our son was born. He’s five and a half and we had our first date night around three months ago. I still have a long way to go on this balance thing πŸ˜‰

    • I’m hoping at some point I have a baby-sitter to free up some time.

      Part of the reason I’m really feeling is, is my MIL used to come over for an hour each week and entertain the kids. This allowed me to hurry and do some chores (like laundry) or write for an hour and only help out if needed. Since her physical issues worsened, she hasn’t been able to do it for months, and I’m feeling the loss of the “Get Stuff Done” time.

      I’m glad you finally had another date night. They are so important.

      I’m working on the whole balance thing too…. Good luck with that.

  12. Have fun in Canada!

    I believe that you HAVE to have time away once in awhile. My girlfriends and I got away for the weekend at least once a year. We go to a concert, or go wine tasting, or have a nice spa day. Love it! It totally relaxes and recharges me, and it makes me realize how much I love my life waiting for me at home!

  13. Jackie says:

    I am in a realtively similar place right now- 3.5 yrs of SAHMness and hitting a wall. I need a break!
    Funny that you’re heading to Canada, because my husband is planning a trip to Montreal in Sept for just us- NO KIDS for 3 days! I guess Canada is now the land of rediscovering oneself!
    Have a great trip and hopefully you can watch that R rated movie in the daytime while indulging in a pan of brownies and not having to share one single bite!

    • It’s funny, because I’ve never been to Canada, but short of Alaska, no place sounds more inviting in the summertime. Add my Canadian pals into the mix and I’m going crazy with excitement.

      Yeah for you! I also want to do a getaway with just the husband. I’m hoping things like that will be easier as the kids get older.

      Hmmm.. I might need to make brownies now. I haven’t satisfied the craving in a while.

      Enjoy your trip!

  14. Anastasia says:

    I totally hear you, it’s hard to be with them all the time! I hope you have fun. I’d probably go on the trip and then miss everyone too much to really have fun.

    • I might have that problem.. I don’t know. I miss the snuggles and kisses. I am good at distracting myself from such things – I spent two summer away from my boyfriend with only once a week phone calls to sustain us (and any letters we wrote). It sucked, but I dealt.

      I think it’s much easier when you’re away from where you’ve spent time with them. So in Canada, I won’t have images of my kids hanging with me there, like I would if the husband took the kids away for a weekend and I was still at home.

      It’s only 5 days. If the plane runs on time, I’ll get to see them before bedtime when I come home.

  15. angela says:

    Oooh, that is exciting! DH and I went to Chicago for 2 days when we just had Abbey and just went to Vegas for 3 days. It is a true story that one of those days, I took four showers, partly because of working out and the pool and walking miles on the strip and partly because I could do it without anyone interrupting me πŸ™‚ However, I would love 24 hours absolutely alone to write and be by myself, even without my husband.

    Countdown with joy; you deserve it!!

    • Wow.. the idea of 24 hours alone to write…

      Of course, my luck I’d get blocked. Ever notice how the idea always come when you’re too busy, but once you sit down, they get stopped up?

      I think the lovely thing about hanging with other writers is if you say “Ok, I have to go write right now” they GET IT.

      It’s enough to blow my mind.

  16. Frelle says:

    the groundhog day monotony. You totally nailed it. Lather rinse repeat, lather rinse repeat. Very little variation.

    I am SO excited that youre going on a vacation!!!!! YAY!

    • Yes, the routine is good for the kids, but the monotony can drive you up the wall.

      I admit, I’m curious how well things go when I’m gone. I’m hoping CG will gain a little appreciation of what it’s like.

      I’m counting down! 5.5 weeks to go..

  17. Victoria KP says:

    Oh, I could have totally written this post… until I got to the part about going to Canada. Very jealous! I spent time in the Canadian Rockies when I was a teenager. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Have a wonderful time!

  18. Kid Id says:

    Kelly, I tried staying home with only 1 child for a year and a half and could barely make it. My job is like my daily break! I say this all the time – staying at home to raise children is quite possibly one of the most exhausting things ever. Rewarding but exhausting. So, taking a break every once in a while is literally crucial not only to your own sanity, but for your family too. They want to have a refreshed mommy. So, don’t think of it as selfish. Think of it as imperative self-care in order to continue performing at optimal capacity (as a mom, writer, whatever you undertake). In my career field, we actually have ethics guidelines we must follow that states specifically that we must take care of ourselves first before we can take care of anyone else; if we don’t, we are at risk for burnout. I’d say the same goes for moms. Have a great time rejuvenating!

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  20. Kate says:

    I am so with you in many of the ways mentioned in your post. While I would not change my choice to stay at home, I am in the midst of burn out mode as I type and I am actively seeking ways to carve out more writing time. Kudos to you for working out some time to re-charge and treat us to Dances with Canadians. I can’t wait to read.

  21. Trish Loye Elliott says:

    Hey Hot Sistah! (Hot as in TX and Smokin’ too!) I’m sorry it took me so long to get to read this. It came when I was away and I’m just going over my backlog now.
    This post totally resonated with me. I want to be free. Yes! I get that. I sooo get that. I love being a mom, I just hate doing it sometimes. Mostly, it’s because what we want is put on the backburner so often so we can be there for our family. I get it. I too want to be free.
    I’m soooo excited you’re coming to visit! We’re going to have a blast. Chats, relaxing, SLEEP (for you at least) and good food that I’m thinking Elena should cook (she’s a good cook, me… not so much.)
    I can’t wait, sistah!

  22. Paige Morgan says:

    So jealous! Good for you! Business trips are a drag, but they do give me time away and I get to read on planes!

    We all need decompress time and I am so glad you get to do this. I can’t wait to hear all about it!

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