Gimme a Break!
More ways to catch a break
6. Ditch tv guilt. Yes, the experts might tell you that more than a half hour of television a day is too much for young children. But if the only time you get to shower, make a phone call, put in a load of laundry, or simply go to the bathroom is when you pop in that videotape and sit your baby down to watch, then forget the guilt and just do it.
7. Plan an outing -- for someone else. When Fred Gabriel, a West Newbury, Massachusetts, work-from-home dad of two young sons, needed a break, he bought three tickets to the circus and told his spouse, "Honey, I know how busy you've been, so I thought you and the boys might enjoy some quality time together." Emily DeNitto of Croton-on-Hudson, New York, suggested that her husband and their daughter, Alexa, have a special "date" each week by themselves -- a clever idea that gave Emily a regular night to herself.
8. Ride the gift horse. The next time a friend asks what you'd like as a baby gift, don't miss the opportunity to tell her that what you need most -- more than that precious little infant sweater set -- is the gift of time. Explain that you'd love it if she could sit with the baby for a couple of hours someday, not only so that you can get some down time for yourself, but also so that your baby can get to know one of the most important people in Mommy's life. Your friend will probably be thrilled to be an honorary "auntie."
9. Embrace mama drama. She might be your mother, mother-in-law, or next-door neighbor. But chances are, somewhere in your life, there is an experienced mom who dispenses more than her share of "advice." Use her. Once in a while, let her take over while you get some R&R. Renee Thomas-Woods of Florissant, Missouri, says her mother has never been short on criticism. So Renee, a mother of three young kids, was more than a little apprehensive when her mom began helping out while Woods's husband traveled. But "it's been working out remarkably well," she says. "My mom has been less criticial because she knows I'm really vulnerable right now and need her help."