I have discovered that one of the most crucial elements to maintaining sanity as a wife and mother is time alone. Time away from all of the demands of a family and of just being a grown up in general. It doesn't have to be an expensive vacation or an extended trip.
I have recently been having my time alone on Friday afternoons. I am lucky enough to work at a place that allows us to condense our schedule on Friday and go home as soon as the last patient is treated. Because our patient load is a bit low right now, we have been getting out around noon every week.
This works out perfectly for me, because school doesn't let out until 3:30 and if I go get Gracie from the church any earlier than 3:15, she will still be taking a nap. So, I stop on the way home and get lunch at a real restaurant. I've been on a Johnny Carinos kick recently, but I go different places. I've never been one of those people who are uncomfortable eating in a restaurant alone, or going solo to a movie. I just pull out my iPhone, open up the eReader application, and read while I'm eating. I actually prefer to have a real book it my hands, but it's nice to always have a book with me.
It's so relaxing having someone else cook exactly what I want and bring it out to me. I don't have to do word searches and mazes with a stubby little crayon, and I don't have to leave my half eaten lunch to take anyone to the bathroom. I don't have to hide the condiments and I don't have to say "Shhh" and "Inside voices!" between every sentence. I just sit and read while I enjoy some quiet time alone. (Another bonus is that reading at the table during family meals is a no no, so it's nice to be able to do it when I'm alone.)
It's one of my favorite things about the whole week.
It's just one hour, but oh what it does for my soul! I think we all need to step back and take a few minutes to regroup each week. It doesn't even have to mean leaving the house. It could be a long bubble bath with no interruptions. It could mean lingering over a big cup of coffee outside on the deck with a good book. Whatever works for you and your situation. Just do it. You will not regret it, and your family will (eventually) appreciate it.