When you want a break from parenting, this is what you might really need.


Last week I was spending time in the UK with friends and family. In effect I was solo parenting as my husband was still working back in Switzerland. Except I wasn’t. I spent almost every waking minute in the company of other adults, and often children. There were people to play with my daughter while I took a shower, or brush her hair while I got dressed. There were other children to play with so that I could sit and have a chat without interruption.

Living abroad means our holidays are often spent like this, catching up with friends and family. And unlike day to day life it really is like having a village; having people to share cooking and childcare.

As I travelled from one house to another I reflected on how easy it was to parent with other people around. And how happy I felt to be spending concentrated time with my daughter, along with the support of others.

Since my daughter recently started Kindergarten I’ve enjoyed my free time so that I can be completely alone, and blog and write. But during this week with other people I felt a much deeper happiness that seemed to come from being constantly connected to my daughter and with other people. My drive to be ambitious and finish another blog post or the chapter of my next book faded into the background, as play and laughter and togetherness were all that mattered.

The way we live in modern times our sense of tribe may be temporary. We have a lovely girls night out and then return to our nuclear family, or we have holidays with extended family and then go back to parenting alone.

There are lots of childcare options for when we need a break, or time to ourselves and some of those may even be free. But as I heard one mum say, we don’t just need someone to take over the parenting responsibilities for us, we also need people to support us to be the parents.

What this week taught me is that I love being a parent. I want to be with my daughter as much as I can, and often what I’m missing is not extra time for myself but emotional and practical support to make my job easier.

With Hand in Hand Parenting, we can’t cook your dinner and put your kids to bed,  but we can offer you emotional support. Listening time can refill your cup when you feel like you need to run away from your family! I can remember in the early stages of parenting where I’d feel like I needed a long break. Then I’d have ten minutes of listening time, and feel completely renewed and ready to enjoy parenting again.

The foundation of Hand in Hand Parenting is listening to each other and building a village that supports parents just as much as children. As more and more parents discover this transformative way of parenting, we can rebuild the sense of having a village around us.

For more information about listening time check out my blog post here, or my book Tears Heal: How to listen to our children. Or join the Hand In Hand Parent support group on facebook to find a listening partner and build your village today! 



14 thoughts on “When you want a break from parenting, this is what you might really need.

  1. So true Kate. Living abroad without family and our old close friends with kids is tough. It’s hard to go home to this group to make parenting easier. We know it’s only temporary, a little holiday. We have to grow our friendship groups here and feel grounded to our new country as well. It’s a process, isn’t it?

  2. We had so much family around us in Peoria; leaving grandparents, aunts/uncles, and cousins behind has been the hardest part!

    I’m really enjoying your book and look forward to setting up a listening partnership.

    1. I’m so glad that you are enjoying the book Liz! As I became a mum while in Switzerland I never experienced that close togetherness of family, but that’s how it was for me as a child and I often miss it.

  3. That’s why I like to go on holiday with other families, it makes the whole endeavor less stressful! But living and visiting are different stories, we saw our family here much more when we first arrived but now we don’t see them as frequently as the newness wore off

  4. I also enjoy spending time with other like-minded parents.. you can chat, get or give support while kids are in reach but entertaining themselves.. trick is to find like-minded parents 😉

  5. such a great perspective on things.

    I live away from my own family and love being with my sisters and the kids with their cousins, it does make parenting a lot easier. I’m very lucky to have in laws nearby who love spending time with the kids. T

    his piece makes me think about the importance of letting friends be involved too and making time for those relationships as well, because they definitely do make parenting easier.

    Very thought provoking. thanks.

  6. Very interesting read. Parenting is much easier when you have the backup of other people to take over responsibility, even if it’s only for a few minutes. It’s something we so often miss in our modern society.

  7. This is fab, I think you’ve really nailed it. I also feel this way when we visit my half of the family in Wales, it is refreshing to be able to spend time with your kids without also having to be their sole provider/occupier at all times! xx #fortheloveofblog

  8. “we also need people to support us to be the parents” – this is sooooo true – my folks are coming to stay next weekend and I can’t wait – I don’t want to handover the kids and run (tho sometimes I may feel like that) but I do love us all hanging out together 🙂 #fortheloveofBLOG

  9. I have found being a parent is so much easier when I have either hubby or another adult to assist as I feel more like me and less pressured to be the perfect mum.
    Your blog was a brilliant read and I look forward to reading more!

  10. What a lovely post. It really made me feel that warmth that comes from spending time with extended family and really relaxing with those who know you best. There’s not a lot that beats that to be honest and it sounds like you’ve had a lovely time with your daughter. Thanks for sharing this on #fortheloveofBLOG x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s