“Good parents spend time away” says Dr Becky as she reveals how getting away from your family teaches kids important life lessons

Even the expert struggles when leaving her kids for the weekend, but she promises it doesn't make you a 'horrible parent'

Mother with her two children watching the sunset
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Parenting expert Dr. Becky has revealed why spending time away from your kids as a mum is actually good for your family - and shares her very personal story of taking time out. 

Motherhood is a constant learning journey. From the emotional struggles, like navigating feelings of insecurity brought on by 'mumfluencers' online, to the practical ones like figuring out how to play with a newborn or how to get your child to drink enough water, there's always something new to navigate and it can get a little overwhelming to say the least. 

But while everyone craves a break from the day-to-day chores of running a household and looking after a family, and some may even find themselves, like many, regretting Motherhood altogether, when it comes to actually taking that break and leaving your family for a weekend trip or lovely holiday, the guilt can be overwhelming. 

Parenting expert Dr Becky is no different. “I just left my son screaming and crying when he was protesting, ‘Why do you have to go away with friends for the weekend? Why can’t you take me with you? I don’t see you enough!'," she recently shared with her Instagram followers. "And here I am at the train station about to get on a train to go to meet my friends, and I want to share with you how I’m processing this."

Like many when faced with a toddler tantrum, Dr Becky admits that her first thought was “Oh my goodness, am I a horrible parent?" but quickly set her thinking straight and didn't let herself be guilt-tripped. She explained, "We have that 'motherhood is martyrdom' narrative so deep in us that when our kids protest the moments that we’re actually taking care of our non-caregiver self—all the other parts of us—we worry we’re doing something wrong.” 

But the 'motherhood is martyrdom' narrative can actually be really harmful for your children. If they see you constantly neglecting your own needs and wants in favour of others', even if it's the children's wants, they learn that that is acceptable, healthy behaviour when it's not. Self-care is vital for health and wellbeing and learning how to set boundaries and look after your own mental health is an important life lesson we can teach children by leading by example and showing them how we do it. 

"Kids don’t need selfless martyrs. Kids need sturdy leaders,” Dr Becky explains. “Do you know what I know? Me spending some time with my girlfriends—us spending time talking about things other than our kids; taking care of ourselves and connecting about all the things that we love and all the different things that light us up that don’t have to do with caregiving—is critical to my mental health and my ability to show up for my kid. 

"I want you to remember that. You’re allowed to take care of yourself. Kids don’t need selfless martyrs, kids need sturdy leaders.”

Keep up to date with more family news like mums can often feel 'not good enough' - well psychotherapist and mum-of-three Anna Mathur asks; 'maybe it's not you, maybe the standards are out of reach?' and we share 5 steps to stop your kid from whining, according to a parenting coach. Plus, struggling to teach your kids about the mental load? This genius psychologist-approved hack could be a gamechanger - and it’ll teach your kids an important life lesson too

News writer

Charlie Elizabeth Culverhouse is a news writer for Goodtoknow, specialising in family content. She began her freelance journalism career after graduating from Nottingham Trent University with an MA in Magazine Journalism, receiving an NCTJ diploma, and earning a First Class BA (Hons) in Journalism at the British and Irish Modern Music Institute. She has also worked with BBC Good Food and The Independent.