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Growth Spurts: Gimme a Break!

All I wanted was for her to put the crayons back in the box. Is that really too much to ask of a two-year-old? It’s been seven years since that event, but I remember it vividly. My daughter Callie and I were having a battle of wills–or won’ts, in her case. She had dumped all the crayons onthe kitchen floor, and I expected her to clean them up. Meanwhile, my infant son Caleb was crying and wanting to be fed, so I wasn’t exactly teeming with patience at the moment. Callie, who seems to have inherited my stubborn streak, had no intention of cleaning up those crayons but had every intention of making me really angry right before I was to leave the house.

Did I mention the fact that my husband was due to arrive home any minute so that I could go get a pedicure? My friend had given me a gift certificate for my birthday, and I was anxious to use it, especially since I had never before had a pedicure. The thought of having someone rub and scrub my feet and make my nails beautiful sounded amazing. The stress and constancy of mothering my two tiny tots had been taking its toll on me physically, mentally, and emotionally, and I thought I was going to explode! Kevin said he had never seen me so ready to get out of the house as when I whizzed by him that day with a quick hand-off of the baby, muttering something about his headstrong daughter and my desire to grind crayons into microscopic fragments.

Obviously, I needed a break. I loved my children dearly, but in order to love them well, I needed the hiatus. Over the now nine years of motherhood I have experienced, I have found that these breaks are not luxuries; they are necessities. I’m not talking about regular pedicures, for that is a luxury, I’m talking simply about having time away from my children.

We all know how overwhelming motherhood can be. It is a consuming, non-stop job. And although there are millions of fun and tender moments that we will treasure forever, there are also numerous moments that wear us down and make us feel drained. This is why it is so important for us to make sure we have regular time for renewal.

Even if it is for just a couple of hours each week, this time is invaluable. It is both sweet and sacred. And my husband will enthusiastically concur with this, for he has seen the positive effects of my little sabbaticals. I always come back much more refreshed and ready to be Mommy again, and my perspective is much more balanced.

I am also less likely to pulverize crayons.

About The Author

Carrie Partridge

Carrie Bevell Partridge grew up in Memphis, TN with her parents and four siblings. She attended Mississippi College, where she met her husband Kevin. They have been married for 20 years and have five children. They live in Ridgeland, MS. Carrie has written the “Growth Spurts” column and managed social media for Parents & Kids Magazine since 2011. You can read more of her work at and

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