01/27/2014 10:04 am ET Updated Mar 29, 2014

How I Know You Need a Break

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest one of all?

Wait, don't answer that.

I'm looking at you, reflection, and I hope you don't get offended, but... you look like you need a break. It's nothing to be ashamed of. It happens to the best of us: After giving your all at home, work and school, day after day, you're bound to run out of steam sooner or later. Take your own advice: It's time to bed down and rest up.

Besides, I think I smell hot cocoa.

It's clear you need a break, self. Here's how I know:

Looking in the mirror right now is scary and probably best avoided.
This isn't par for course. Normally, you look less repulsive and more fashionable. I don't want to be rude or anything, but -- raccoon eyes. Ratty hair. Unidentified food stains on your shirt. Unidentified mass stuck to your shoe. Unidentified toddler stuck to your hip. Go to sleep already, would you?

You put the milk in the cereal cabinet this morning.
Also, the Mini Wheats are in the fridge. So don't forget to pick up a gallon of milk on your way home from your super long and exhausting day at work, OK?

The thought of making dinner makes you want to take a nap that doesn't end in the near future.
In fact, the thought of all chores makes you feel this way. So does the thought of exercising, but I think that's pretty normal.

You want to take a bubble bath the way most people want to be millionaires or the owner of a luxury yacht.
I mean, you'd like those things too, but you'd probably just end up using the million dollars to buy the luxury yacht, which you would then take a bubble bath in. After you took a nap, of course.

You may not think I've noticed, but lately, in the rare moments you have "free time," you just stare into space, mouth hanging open, with no real thoughts being formulated for obscenely long amounts of time.
It's not the best or most respectable way to spend your time, but then again, it's not the worst. Still an indicator that you, my friend, need a break.

There's no getting around it: if you're a parent, you're on full-time duty. Even when you think you're off-duty (to grandmother's house they go!) you're still on-call. You're filling the role of mother, nurse, chef, teacher, maid, handyman and personal shopper -- all day, every day. It makes perfect sense that you're tired and grumpy and maybe a little frazzled.

I'm writing you a note to stay home from work tomorrow. Be lazy, order take-out, stare into space, and by all means, take that bubble bath.

You can thank me later, after you've done something about that hair.

Debra Carpenter is a novice mother, wife and college student. She writes about the parts of parenthood you didn't expect when you were expecting. Like her fan page at or visit her website at