Ask Kari: Am I a terrible mother if I want to spend some time away from my children?

Dear Kari,

My children were just home for a week off from school, and I wanted to send them away somewhere else, just to have separate periods of time away from them. I love them dearly, but when we are stuck in the house together all week, I feel worn down. I end up feeling guilty that I want alone time. Is this going to affect them long-term, are they going to think I was a terrible mother?

Terrible Mom

Dear Terrible Mom,

First, you are not a terrible mother because you appreciate having predictable down time from your children. Such desires are perfectly normal and healthy. We do not have to be with our children 24 hours a day to prove that we love and care about them, or that we are the best parents in town. The most important thing that children need each day is predictable love; that includes a predictable schedule like having dinner together on most nights, and predictable healthy interactions in which connection occurs. Real connections occur when parents pay attention to their children being in the room and love them completely and purely as they are. What you are seeking is healthy behavior for both yourself and your children. Just make sure to explain to them that sometimes you will all be together as a family, and sometimes your will each do your own activities away from each other. Such diversity in actions benefits everyone.


As published in the April 2017 issue of Connections.


About Kari:

Kari O’Neill, MSW, LICSW, is a licensed independent clinical social worker and a resident of Issaquah Highlands.

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