Why Escaping Doesn’t Work


Why Escaping Doesn't WorkLast week, I left my family for three nights to attend a conference across the country. Now that my youngest (17 months) is learning to walk and my four-year-old acts more like a 14-year-old, life has been a bit more stressful. I was really looking forward to eating three meals a day in peace and sleeping until 7am! I was looking forward to returning with a feeling of newfound energy. Well, I was wrong.

Not only did I come home tired from long flights, but the girls immediately reattached themselves to my legs or hip as if I had been gone for a year. They would not let me out of their sight. The baby was just as fussy from teething as before I left. My four-year-old was just as sassy and rough (actually much rougher) than before. I had many more loads of laundry, unpacking bags, dishes, to-do lists for the week, and no food in the house. Part of me wondered if it was worth the three days of being away. My husband’s explanation was that I stay home with them most of the time and I breastfed them. That part is true.

But, why can’t I escape for three days and come back feeling rejuvenated?

Why do I come home feeling more overwhelmed and tired than before? It’s like three days of mommy time and housework were just put on hold. Waiting for me to return and condensed into one night. Instead of feeling better, I felt like I wanted to scream. I couldn’t breathe. I’m pretty sure I yelled at my daughter twice and told everyone I was seriously going to run away (or something like that). 

Was I expecting things to change while I was gone? Was the baby supposed to magically stop teething and clinging to me? Was my four-year-old supposed to stop having trouble falling asleep and calling out for me eight times a night? Were groceries supposedly to magically appear in my refrigerator with a meal plan for the week. Of course not. 

Because as moms, our job NEVER STOPS.

We can get away for a while to clear our head and revisit who we are as people. And we should take breaks often. But, it doesn’t seem realistic to expect things to be “better” or “easier” when we return. 

So, as I’m struggling through this revelation (which may not be a revelation to some of you reading this), I’m learning that my job is truly irreplaceable. I guess it’s a compliment and a struggle at the same time. I love the feeling that they want they just want their momma and I’m capable of doing many things in a short amount of time. But at the same time, it’s incredibly difficult be needed ALL THE TIME. I’m not one of those moms who can be around my kids 24/7 without feeling suffocated. I need personal space, long hot baths, prayer time, and just time to sit and think!

So, should we stop escaping? Stop traveling? Nope.

But, maybe we should change our expectations of how we are going to feel when we return. Soak in every minute of that meal that you can eat in peace. Enjoy every conversation you can have without a baby tugging at your ankles. Use your time to meditate on how many blessings you have. Expect the return home to be exhausting and confusing. 

Think of it more like a time out than an escape because who you are is just as important as what kind of mom you are. So, how do you handle the return home? What are your strategies for getting back to your routine?


  1. Super insightful. My fantasies of escaping never include coming back and drowning in overflowing laundry baskets or empty refrigerators. I also need frequent time alone without my children , just to survive. I’ve learned short breaks (walks, reading, sitting on the couch doing nothing) can be so rejuvenating. Thanks for a great read!

  2. Thanks for commenting, Chava! I need a lot of alone time too. And I think that’s why the escape feels so good, but coming home is so hard. The short breaks are a good idea so that we are not left feeling so desperate for a big getaway.

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