As moms, we can brainstorm a million reasons not to invest in self-care—whether it’s lack of time, being too tired or not having anyone to watch the kids. Give us an opportunity to take a break and we’ll give you a reason why it can’t happen. It’s ingrained in our mommy DNA to make sure everyone and everything else is taken care of before we prioritize our own needs.

This lack of self-prioritization can have varying degrees of severity depending on where you are in your “mommy walk.” There will never be enough time to take a mommy break, and unfortunately there’s not an app for that. We don’t have the superpower to create more time, and we can’t wiggle our nose to make the to-do list disappear.

Over a year ago, I finally said enough was enough—and committed to taking a mommy break every week for 52 weeks. It wasn’t an easy task, but once I reached my goal, I realized it can (and should!) be done. And that’s why I started The Mommy Break Project—to inspire other moms out there to invest in self care too. So what was the secret to my success?

A sitter can help…

Finding a sitter can be another barrier to regular self-care. If there’s no time and no sitter, a mommy break is definitely not going to happen. So having access to good child care is critical for a number of reasons:

  1. A good sitter gives you peace of mind that your child is safe and well taken care of when you’re away (while a not-so-great one won’t allow you to completely let go and enjoy your kid-free time).
  2. Having a sitter on call can make it easier to maintain an equal partnership with your spouse. Say goodbye to debates about who should stay home with the kids—now you can both give yourselves the freedom to take a break!
  3. Most importantly, sitters can help you knock a few other things off your home to-do list—like doing the dishes, folding the laundry, or tidying up the playroom. It’s the assistant you always wanted but never had access to.

But how do you justify the cost?

Now some of you may be reading this and thinking, “Yes, Nicole, a sitter is critical to regular mommy breaks, but who can afford that?” And you’re right. Child care can quickly eat up your monthly budget. One way to minimize the investment is to find a responsible younger sitter who you can pay a cheaper rate. Or, share a sitter with another family and negotiate a group rate. You may not be able to hire a sitter every weekend, but allocating enough budget to take a break at least once a month is a great investment.

Pro tip: Find a younger sitter or arrange a nanny share with another family to reduce costs.

What should I look for in a sitter?

All sitters are not the same, so it’s important to find someone you not only trust but that will be able to quickly develop a strong relationship with your kids. You want to find a sitter so great that you wish you could just make her a permanent fixture in your family. It’s a good idea to find more than one sitter too—so that you’ll always have a backup plan if your primary sitter isn’t free. This may seem like common sense, but I’ve spoken with so many moms that only have one person on call, and that can really leave you in a tough position.

My kids love the three sitters we currently have in rotation. Sometimes, I even think they enjoy hanging out with our sitters more than me (but I try not to take it personally!)

There will come a time where you really want to do something fun (or just need a break), and need someone to watch your kids so that you can do it. A good sitter lets you say “yes” to more invites, or schedule more time for yourself.

Make it a priority this year to find a sitter that you love. Promise me you’ll do it! Ok? Ok!

 

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Author

Nicole Walker is a working mom living in Chicago with her two beautiful children and husband. She is a mommy blogger and author who spent an entire year putting herself first by taking at least one mommy break a year to achieve the perpetual state of "happy mommy." The result was the launch of The Mommy Break Project, to live out her mission to inspire and enable moms to be more intentional about their self care.