As a parenting expert, I know that one of the most stressful jobs in the world is that of an air traffic controller, but there is many a mother who would dispute this.

“Mum, please will you read through this submission for my ‘varsity project? Mum, please can you help me with my English speech? Mum, I’ve lost my shoe. Mum, please can you take me to apply for my ID book? Mum, I’ve got an extra hockey match this week, please will you let my tennis coach know I won’t be able to make my lesson? Mum, your child is Bakerman this week. Please will you make 18 items to fit in with the insect theme we are doing in class for this Friday. Mum, my blazer button has fallen off. Mum, my feet have grown and my shoes hurt. Mum, I’m hungry and there’s nothing to eat in the fridge. Mum, the printer has run out of paper. Mum, I’ve got not friends. Mum, why is my head itching so much? (And then you spot the lice!)”

I am sure you may be familiar with some, or all, of the above. The demands on our time and attention are incessant, but we fit them into our busy schedules come what may. We become masters of logistics, juggling many balls in the air at once.  There are days when everything works out and we think we are supermum, and others that can turn into your worst nightmare.

As much as we love our children (and we do) the occasional moment of being able to go to the loo alone, having a quiet cup of tea, being able to read at least 20 pages of a novel without interruption, and generally not being asked for anything or having to do anything, is rare, but important. And, don’t forget all the gazillion decisions and choices you make regarding your children every single day that also chew up your mental energy.

Parenting advice: mothers need a time out, too

Having time out to think about and contemplate life for a while is a very important part of holding on to your sanity and keeping your energy up. There is a saying to comfort you: “This too shall pass,” and, when it does, the weird thing is that you will miss quite a lot of what actually stressed you out.

One of the greatest gifts you can give a mother is time out.  Mums, if you get the gift of time for yourself this Mother’s Day, embrace it and don’t feel one little drop of guilt.  You deserve it!

To all the fabulous mothers out there, and particularly my own wonderful mum, I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day. Don’t forget that you really do make the world go round.

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