The Importance Of Taking A Break



Right now I’m sitting in the passenger seat of my own car, riding shotgun as my 16 year old twins take turns driving from Cairns to Townsville. It felt like only a moment ago that I was forever driving my kids around and only knew the view from the driver’s seat, now 80% of the time I’m travelling on the opposite side of the car. Life can change so quickly and time stands still for no one.

I think the more kids you have, the busier life can get and the faster time seems to fly by. It feels like such a short time ago that my boys were entering high school, now they are driving, have girlfriends and have just over 1 year left before they finish school and are old enough to leave home.

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Keeping Busy, Feeling Productive

For the last 8 months or so I’ve been keeping myself frantically busy. Finding myself single once again and with 5 kids, all with individual needs, it has meant that parenting is my more than my full-time job. Various outside influences and my own insecurities and fears told me I needed to be more than this though and so I began spending every spare second I had, and then some, on creating a home business. I’d read that in order to be successful one needed determination, perseverance and dedication. Procrastination and an “I’m too tired” attitude was not going to cut it.

So began, the balancing act of work and family life. Rest and relaxation was something I squeezed into short intervals over the weekend with my older kids. Watching one movie with them on a Friday or Saturday night was my break but I would be nervously tapping my foot half the time, thinking about how I needed to get some work done and as soon as the movie finished, I’d be doing just that.

Keeping busy to me meant I was being productive. Watching Netflix or spending time on social media (if it wasn’t business related) felt like a waste of time and any time that the little ones were gone with their Dad was an opportunity to get some work done. I did spend time with my older kids too but a part of me always felt guilty that I wasn’t working, even though I knew time with my kids was important.

As the months went by, I became more and more exhausted. I’d stay up tapping away at my computer till 1 or 2am some weekdays just to get something finished, then be up with the little ones not long after dawn. If I kept busy I didn’t notice the fatigue too much but I was seriously starting to feel the Mum Life Burnout. The notion of taking a few days off seemed like insanity but I decided to book a few days away with my three older kids over the school holidays, planning to get some writing done while we were away.

Sometimes our plans don’t quite work out the way we expect though.


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Forced To Take A Break

Each day over the last week and a half, I’ve had a pang of anxiety about how unproductive I’ve been. For the past 10 days I haven’t written or posted anything on the blog, not because I didn’t want to or because I had writers block but because I was forced into taking a break. It was unexpected, awesome and despite my anxiety about being unproductive, just what I needed.

I got the best surprise ever last Friday night the 13th. There I was, at 10pm sitting on the couch chilling out for the first time in a week, with my 3 older kids and the boys girlfriends, when I heard a knock on the front door. I freaked out a little as it was rare to get unannounced visitors at all, let alone late at night. I cautiously opened the front door and heard a familiar voice say “hello” from the darkness of the front porch. I couldn’t believe it, my sister whom I’d not seen in a year and a half had flown across the country to spend time with me and my family. I was beside myself with joy that night.

I’ve always been close to my family, we’ve lived together on and off throughout the years, or always lived close by and spent holidays, birthdays and special occasions together. The Last couple of years since we moved away from WA have been difficult. Life has taken some testing twists and turns and flipped me upside down and I’ve done my best to hold it all together but it’s been hard and I’ve failed at times. I’m so blessed to have my kids but sometimes I just need that adult conversation, a shoulder to cry on, some encouragement from someone else who’s lived life and come out the other side. My family has just been a phone call away but nothing beats having them there in person.

Naturally I wanted to spend as much time with my sister as I could. Writing went on hold and life got lived. It was an amazing time of catching up, reminiscing, filling up on family support and not being the only adult in the house for a while. All in all, it was great. Of course it was sad to see her go a week later, but the next day the older kids and I were off on a few days away, which we were all looking forward to.


Exploding Kittens Card Game

Taking A Break Vs Laziness

I don’t know when it happened but at some point in my life (I’m pretty sure it was within the last 10 years) I became conditioned to believe that taking a break meant I was being lazy. If I wasn’t constantly moving or being productive then I wasn’t reaching my full potential and my future was sure to reflect my inability to persevere and be successful. I felt like if I stopped pursuing success for my business even for a moment, then I may have to start all over again or ruin my chances of success all together. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

The first night after we drove all the way to Cairns, me being the passenger instead of the driver for a change, I felt completely exhausted. 4 hours in the car had meant that I was forced to be still, to stop being busy and just relax. My body didn’t seem to know how to handle it and I finally noticed just how worn out I truly was. My body almost completely shut down and I couldn’t even think about writing.

I ended up in bed earlier than usual and woke up with a migraine, a stiff neck and feeling completely drained. I refused to let it ruin my holiday though and we spent the day exploring the rainforest on the skyrail. I’d been pushing through for so long, my busyness distracting me from the shockwaves of fatigue that never had a chance to subside before I hit my body with another long day or late night. Now that I’d stopped, it hit me like a 747 in mid flight.

I ended up with another early night (no writing) and didn’t wake this time until 9.30am the following morning. I felt more refreshed this day, no migraine, no exhaustion, even the sore throat I’d had from a viral infection for the last month, was feeling better. Seems that getting to bed at a decent hour and sleeping through the night actually makes a difference to how I feel, imagine that. I realised that staying up late to get more work done was probably becoming counter productive. I might get more done in that moment but I was setting myself up for a bad day the next day which would in turn make it harder to be productive.

Taking a break isn’t being lazy, it’s part of taking care of your family, because if I don’t take a break sometimes, I will get burnt out and then I (the head of my family) am no good to anyone. If I don’t function to the best of “my” ability, it affects everyone’s mood, perspective and ability to function. I have to look after myself in order to look after them plus taking a break is part of the creative process that will help me become a better writer and business woman.


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The Benefits Of A Break

Sitting in the car thinking about the last 10 days, I realised that I had gathered a tonne of ideas about what to write. Getting out into a different environment, away from the routine of life had cleared my head of all the noise that was beginning to block my creativity. Stress was starting to become my life “uniform” and that’s not something I want attached to me in any way. Letting go of all the things I felt I had to do, opened up opportunities for me to spend time with my family, to grow in relationship, to rest and restore my energy and motivation and to see things from a different perspective, gathering new ideas that would refresh my goals and direction.

I’ve learnt that taking a break is not only ok, but it’s necessary, to my health, my peace of mind, my family relationships, my success as an artist/entreprenuer and mostly my success as a Mother. Being a mum is my most important role and if I keep failing to look after myself, then I am failing to 1. look after my children and 2. teach them how to look after themselves. They learn by my example, not only how to work hard at chasing their dreams but how to balance that with their family commitments and their own physical and mental health.

Now I am home again, I’ve collected my little ones, they are finally asleep and I’m sitting at my desk finishing off this blog post, staring at the clock that reads 10:52pm and telling myself I really should go to bed now so I can get 7 – 8 hours of sleep. I’m hoping my new resolve to get more sleep, take more breaks and balance everything better will last more than a few days, so do me a favour? Check in with me next week and I’ll let you know how I’m going.

What kind of things do you do to re-energize and get that break? Let me know in the comment section below.


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How To Accomplish More In A Fraction Of The Time eCOVER WHITE

The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave many of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness — too much to do and not enough time.

With this ebook you will learn to approach your days in another way, reducing stress and getting results through prioritizing, leveraging and focus!


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MUM LIFE BURNOUT: 10 ways to cool down

Mum Life Burnout PT 2 cover

So here’s a story most mums can relate to. I told my 3 year old and 20 month old the other day that I was just going to the toilet for 2 minutes and would be right back. Now I always leave the door open a crack so I can hear what’s going on in the other room, in case I need to bolt out to rescue a toddler under attack (see ‘Big Brother Syndrome’) or one that is under a ‘toddler attack’. Literally 10 seconds after I sat down to do what I needed to do, my adorably chubby toddler, barged his way in and presented me with a book which I was supposed to read to him. I was about to lose it (I mean can I not get just 2 minutes of privacy to do my business?) but he smiled at me with his precious little dimples and puppy dog brown eyes and I couldn’t help but laugh.

If he’d come in and started unravelling the toilet paper or tried to run off with the toilet brush again, it may have been a different story. My Mum Life Rage may have burst out of it’s metaphorical straight jacket and left a trail of smouldering debri in its wake, because it wasn’t the first frustrating event of the day, or week for that matter. I had been scooping him off the dining table at least 20 times throughout the morning, not to mention giving him numerous ‘time out’s’ inside the house every 2 minutes for continually throwing the sand pit toys into unreachable places. He’d been hitting his brother with wooden spoons stolen from the dish rack and turning his toys into projectiles, bashing both his brother and I in the head more times than I could count. To say I was at the end of my tether would be a gross understatement.

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The Effects of Mum Life Burnout

If you read the previous article ‘MUM LIFE BURNOUT: 5 Ways It Can Effect You & Your Family‘ then you’ll understand why my patience was thin and why I felt a second article was necessary. In the last article I talked about 5 effects Mum Life Burnout can have on you and your family, here’s the very condensed version of the list:

  1. Your more likely to get sick: If your so busy that getting a chance to rest is as rare as finding a matching pair of toddler socks in the clean washing, you could find that it takes much longer to recover and you could be more susceptible to recurrent illness.
  2. You can become less organised and productive: You just go with the flow, going into autopilot or survival mode and not putting effort into sticking to a routine or schedule.
  3. Your more likely to suffer from stress, anxiety &/or depression: Being overworked, under pressure and suffering Mum Life Fatigue can lead to all sorts of physical symptoms, from racing heart beat to fainting, palpitations, nausea, migraines, stomach problems, etc. A trip to the emergency department could be your Friday night out!
  4. Your at a higher risk of family separation and divorce: The unintentional pressures from family members, especially spouses can add to the burnout and if not dealt with, it can sometimes feel like the only option is to ‘get out’ of the relationships.
  5. You can lose confidence in yourself and your ability to be a good mum: When we put too much pressure on ourselves to be everything to everyone we will inevitably fail and this can lead us to feelings of discouragement and unworthiness.

So the effects of Mum Life Burnout are not at all insignificant and require some major changes to bring us back to a balanced, positive place.

Why are we getting burned out?

I saw this video on CNN that talks about “the good old days” of parenting, when things were a lot simpler and we didn’t have the internet with it’s plethora of information about what parents “should do” and it really resonated with me. As I talked about in my article “Mum Life Guilt: A Breakdown (Literally)” there are far too many opinions out there about what a good parent looks like, not to mention all the perfect pictures on instagram and Facebook that give us a very false ideal to live up to. Our heads are filled with constant noise telling us that pretty much everything we are doing is not good enough.

On top of all that there is constant pressure on women these days to ‘have it all’, the perfect marriage, the perfect family and the perfect career. You need to be a professional housekeeper, nanny, chef, taxi driver, teacher, nurse, accountant, social media expert and the financial provider all rolled into one and do it without dropping a single ball.

As mums we are expected (including by ourselves) to be physically, mentally and emotionally available for every member of our family 24/7. The more family members you have the more time and commitment is required, and every member has different needs dependent on their personality, their emotional and mental development stage, their physical and mental capacities, etc etc. The role of Mum is so complicated and diverse that it’s like a thousand jobs rolled into one. Even the toughest, strongest Mums have moments where it all just becomes too much.

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10 Steps to cool down and get your sanity back.

So how does one combat Mum Life Burnout and regain composure? I can honestly say that I haven’t as yet worked out the perfect solution, but I know without a doubt that both “getting enough sleep” and finding “me time” are 2 things that are vitally important to our ability to cope with pressure and maintain a certain level of “self identity” that we can often lose as mums. As mums we feel it’s our job to take care of everyone, but who takes care of us? We need to take care of “us” if we are to be the best “us” that we can be and therefore have confidence in ourselves to “teach” our kids how to be the best “them” that they can be. 

After researching all over the internet (yes, that place that both creates and solves our problems) and digging into the deep dark recess’ of my brain where past conversations with my sisters in motherhood are kept till such times as they are needed in a blog article, I have come up with 10 tips on how to reduce the risk of Mum Life Burnout. 

  1. Get some sleep – It is oh so tempting to fall into that trap of staying up extremely late to get some time alone, to switch off the noise of the day and drown yourself in something you find either so mind-numbing its euphoric or so exciting it returns life to your zombified brain, but lack of sleep can cause all kinds of problems, from irritability, memory loss, confusion, brain fog, anxiety and depression to physical symptoms like impaired immune system, increased heart rate, tremors, aches, dizziness, migraines and weight gain. Getting enough sleep at night could not only save your sanity but increase the quality of your life.
  2.  Just say No – Come on practice it with me “No”, “Noooooo”, “N.O.” see how it just      rolls off the tongue. If your schedule is already overloaded and you know without a doubt you couldn’t possible add another thing to it, DON’T! I know this is easier said than done, most of us like to be able to help our family, friends and associates whenever possible but sometimes it’s just not possible. If saying “yes” is going to lead you to burnout then your not only going to be less helpful to that person but you’ll be under so much pressure that you’ll dramatically reduce the quality of your help in all the other things you’ve said “yes” to. 
  3. Take some ‘me time’ – Even though a month long European vacay would only just touch the sides of the empty glass that is your personal life, I’m sure most of us would do anything to get one. It’s not exactly realistic though when you have an entire tribe of villagers reliant on you as chief life planner, so a little bit of time here and a little bit of time there, is about all you can hope for. Make a regular time each day or week that is “your time”, time when you can do whatever you want uninterrupted. Whether its nap, read, write, make some pottery, go for a run, take salsa dancing lessons or plot world domination, you need this time to feel like a human being, a human being that is just as important as all the other human beings in your life.
  4. Delegate – I was going to call this one ‘get help’ but come on, lets face it, if there were more hours in the day, we could do it all because we are all capable, strong women who can do anything we set our minds to, but there are way too many responsibilities and not nearly enough time, so lets delegate some of that work to other family members (like our partner or older kids) or even pay someone (if you can afford to) to do those things that have been sitting at the bottom of the to-do-list for far too long. I recently noticed the pavers in our back yard had gone mouldy from a lot of rain and I thought to myself, I could go get a cheap pressure cleaner and spend 2 hours doing it myself or I could use the same money to pay someone else to do it. Once upon a time it would have been a no-brainer, I would have done it myself, but in an effort to reduce my Mum Life Burnout, I hired someone instead and it felt amazing to have the pressure taken off my shoulders to get it done.
  5. Spend time with your partner – If your blessed enough to have a partner, schedule regular date nights where you can spend time with just the two of you, behaving like adults (or not) for a while, just kicking back with your bestie, not talking about work or kids or how many bills you have due in the next week or so. Make each other a priority because that relationship is the most important one you have. If your family is to function well, you need to be working well with your team mate, the stronger your relationship is, the better you’ll be able to work together to lesson the load on you. 
  6. Be creative – Now you might say to me “I do not have a creative bone in my body” but creativity is simply something that comes out of you as an expression of who you are, so whether you like doing Maths equations, re-organising the linen cupboard, gardening, baking delicious sugary treats, sewing, writing, taking photographs, revamping old furniture or flipping houses, you have some creativity inside you that is bursting to get out. Whatever makes you feel alive and gives you satisfaction is what you need to do every now and then to express yourself and keep that ‘identity’ alive.
  7. Stop comparing yourself to others – No two people are the same and no two families are the same. Everyone is different and every family has different needs. No one knows your family like you do. Stop comparing yourself to the perfect photoshopped family on Instagram, you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and chances are things are far less than perfect. You are your children’s entire world and they love you unconditionally, to them you are already perfect and they wouldn’t trade you for any one else in the world, so be the best you, you can be. Go technology free for a day and see what a difference it can make to your perspective and how much you enjoy your day without the distraction.
  8. Drop the guiltMum Guilt is all too real. We all suffer from this monster from time to time and it can be at times a great motivator to make positive change but at other times our greatest enemy, taking us down and out when we least expect it. We are never going to be able to make everyone happy, life happens and we deal with it the best we can. Things don’t always work out the way we want them to or believe they should but feeling guilty about it doesn’t help us to move on. Use the guilt as a reality check, if you can do something to change the situation, do it but if you can’t, let it go and move forward. 
  9. Don’t overschedule your families life – It’s great for your kids to have activities outside of school to develop their fitness or talents and giftings but if you have them doing activities every day and all through the weekends, then your going to be running around like a lunatic all week long with no opportunity for rest or for being spontaneous. Believe it or not, your kids will have more opportunities as adults to try all the things they didn’t get to try as kids. They won’t be deprived if they don’t have a wall of trophies by aged 12 or know how to speak 3 languages by high school graduation and chances are less activities and more rest or spontaneity will help your kids feel happier and more like, well ‘kids’.
  10. Be kind to yourself – Lastly, remember how far you’ve come. Take a mental note of how much you’ve accomplished and give yourself credit for being the amazing woman that you are. Your kids are alive, they are fed, they are dressed and they have a roof over their head, everything else is a bonus! Look after yourself and love yourself so you can better look after and love your family.

You can only do so much, so be proud of what you have done, enjoy your family, enjoy your time alone, do what you can and delegate the rest, don’t worry about the little things, don’t compare yourself to others or take too much of what other people say to heart. Be the best version of yourself that you are capable of being and your family will thrive! 


If you like to read there are some insightful books out there with helpful advice on getting “yourself” back.



One of them is ‘Motherhood Is a B#tch: 10 Steps to Regaining Your Sanity, Sexiness, and Inner Diva‘ by the very successful business woman and Writer/Producer Lyss Stern. 

Description (from Amazon):  This guide tells it like it is and explains how women lose their sense of self once they have children and why it’s so important to reclaim it. Motherhood is a B#tch! tackles the toughest issues facing moms today and empowers you to regain your once fierce and fab self. In the end, you’ll be happier, healthier, and hotter than ever.




How To Be a Happier Parent: Raising a Family, Having a Life and Loving Almost Every Minute. Written by KJ Dell’Antonia (former lead editor of the New York Times Motherlode blog).

Description (Amazon): Drawing from the latest research and interviews with families, KJ discovers that it’s possible to do more by doing less, and make our family life a refuge and pleasure, rather than another stress point in a hectic day. She focuses on nine common problem spots that cause parents the most grief, explores why they are hard, and offers small, doable, sometimes surprising steps you can take to make them better.


Mommy Burnout: How to Reclaim Your Life and Raise Healthier Children in The Process. Written by Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, a Mum of 3 herself, this book is described as the ultimate must-read handbook for the modern mother: a practical, and positive tool to help free women from the debilitating notion of being the “perfect mom,” filled with funny and all too relatable true-life stories and realistic suggestions to stop the burnout cycle, and protect our kids from the damage burnout can cause.



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How To Accomplish More In A Fraction Of The Time eCOVER WHITE

The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave many of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness — too much to do and not enough time.

With this ebook you will learn to approach your days in another way, reducing stress and getting results through prioritizing, leveraging and focus!


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Sara Impriano: A Mum Life Success Story


We are redefining the word ‘Success’ here at Mum Life Stories. You don’t have to be a rock star, a celebrity with your name up in lights and 100k+ followers on Instagram. You don’t have to have a million dollars in the bank or have the whole world know your name. “Success” to us is getting up every day and taking care of business. It’s kicking goals and pushing toward your dreams. It’s not giving up or letting circumstances or other people prevent you from embracing the future you long for in your ‘heart’.  For Sara Impriano, our latest Mum Life Success Story subject, “Success” means becoming the best version of herself. I spoke to Sara about how she achieved this goal and became an Independent Beachbody Coach!

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Small three-legged Cat planter in Orange Tabby

From Teaching to Training

Sara Impriano lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania (USA) with husband Eric and their three children, Brandon (11), Gracie (10) and Izzy (7). Sara spent 10 years as a 4th and 5th Grade Special Education teacher in an elementary school before leaving to give birth to her first child.  Sara says “For the past 11 years, I have been a stay at home mom and have loved every minute of it. I feel so fortunate that I was able to be home with my children and be there for their first steps, first words, the first day of preschool and their first day of Kindergarten.”  Once her children all began full-time school and Sara found herself at home alone all day long, she had what could only be described as an identity crisis. “To be honest, I was a little depressed. I had been rocking the wife and mom role for so long, who was I now that I didn’t have any little humans to take care of all day long?”


A New Opportunity 

14 months ago Sara was given the opportunity to embark on a new adventure as a health and wellness coach. “Coaching happened to fall into my lap at the perfect time.  I was already focusing more on fitness and my own health once I turned 40 but I knew I needed to find something to fill my cup up, something just for me outside of being a wife and mom and voila I stumbled upon coaching.”  Sara had been asked years earlier if she would ever consider coaching, but was in full-on mommy mode at the time with three toddlers and so decided to pass on the idea.  “When it came into my life for the second time I took it as a sign that this might be the very thing I was looking for.  14 months later it has turned out to be so much more than I ever dreamed.  I have been able to stay consistent with my own health and fitness goals, I am showing my children that taking care of yourself is so important and that it’s never too late to start a new adventure.”


Nintendo Switch – Neon Blue and Red Joy-Con

So Many Benefits

Not only was Sara successful in finding a business that benefited her financially, physically and mentally, but she found joy in the greater purpose it awarded her with helping others to achieve the same benefits. “I have made so many amazing friendships all across the country all thanks to coaching and every day I get to wake up and help women become the best version of themselves.  I am so blessed to have found my passion in helping other women and am excited to see where this coaching business takes me.”

Sara had this advice for other mums considering becoming a health and wellness coach. “Go for it.  I know it is scary to jump all into something not knowing if its the right fit or if you will be good at it, trust me, I felt the same way.  What if I fail? What if I can’t help anyone? What if I don’t know all the answers? But then I decided, what do I have to lose and what if this is the very thing that will change the rest of my life? If we are failing forward then we are moving in the right direction. I would rather say I tried and failed than to have never put myself out there and tried at all. So If you are ready to inspire, encourage and motivate other women while you are working on your own health and wellness, then maybe this could be for you!”

Follow the Journey

If you’d like to know more about Sara’s business ‘Team Burnin it Down’ or would like to follow her success story as an Independent Beachbody coach, you can follow her on Instagram (@sara.impriano) or Facebook.

If you’d like to be featured in our success stories, please visit our T & C’s page for more info, or send us an e-mail at

No story is insignificant. We say that if you feel like a success then you are a success! Your story could inspire and motivate others to forge a path toward their own success story. So please do not hesitate to step forward and share your journey with us and gain recognition and a community of followers at the same time.


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Read how a tragedy became Esther Rodriguez’ greatest motivation and pushed her into becoming a successful award-winning business owner.




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How To Accomplish More In A Fraction Of The Time eCOVER WHITE

The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave many of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness — too much to do and not enough time.

With this ebook you will learn to approach your days in another way, reducing stress and getting results through prioritizing, leveraging and focus!

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