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Why Moms Walk Out on Their Families (or Want To)

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I was so judgmental when I heard stories about moms walking out on their families until the day I found myself fantasizing about it. I was sitting at a stoplight and imagined myself moving, alone, into one of the apartment buildings on the opposite side of the road. For a moment, I thought, “I want to leave my family for something better.” I shook my head and wondered what on earth was going on inside of me. I realized some things needed to change because I wasn’t happy.

Maybe you haven’t imagined walking out but instead, think about going on a one-month vacation all by yourself. Maybe you look at other families whose lives look easier and wish you could swap places. You might feel like a victim of life’s circumstances, but in reality, there are things that get moms to the point of wanting to escape. Are you risking putting yourself in that position by doing one of these 5 things?

Avoiding Conflict

When communication is hard and a resolution seems impossible, it can feel easier just to agree. But this can lead to pent up frustration and resentment. Lack of boundaries and an unwillingness to stand up for yourself can lead to walking away when you’ve had enough.

Finding tools that teach you how to communicate more effectively will help you deal with the problems now. Some resources that have helped me are Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, The Assertiveness Workbook by Randy J. Paterson, Ph.D., and Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk.

Putting Your Needs and Dreams Last

Women—moms especially—tend to serve everyone else’s needs before they take care of their own. Charles Hummel popularized the concept of the tyranny of the urgent in the 1960s in a booklet named after the concept. This is the tension between the urgent needs of today against the long term needs of the future. Many moms find themselves thinking “I want to leave my family” because they’ve lost their sense of identity as they’ve continually ignored their needs.

I found that a lot of what I believed to be urgent were things I could actually say no to. I had to prioritize my own needs like quiet time, time with friends, and building my own dreams. Shifting my priorities helped me have more to give to others because I felt fuller on the inside. Moms can’t give from an empty tank.

Not Making Time for Creativity

I remember sitting in a women’s conference listening to the speaker share how she started to paint and sell her artwork in a prestigious gallery. She extended an opportunity to come forward for prayer for creativity to be released. I went forward chuckling inside at the preposterous idea I would have time for creative projects. As she prayed for me, she said, “And let all things that are in the way be removed.”

In the coming weeks, I was voted out of a board position, a full-time pastor was installed in the church where I had been filling in, and we hired a bookkeeper for the business we owned. Suddenly, I had time on my hands and picked up some creative projects I had set aside. Overcommitting myself had robbed me of having the creative outlet I desperately needed in order to have balance, peace of mind, and joy of heart.

Allowing Yourself to Fall for Other Men

Sometimes it can feel like having a different man in your life will solve your problems. But the guy you don’t live with always seems sexier than the one whose underwear you pick up off the floor. The other guy only seems better because we tend to see what we want to see. It’s an illusion that promises joy and freedom.

Running away with him will only bring you face to face with his issues and faults while adding in a strong dose of shame and regret. Another man isn’t the gallant rescuer of your life.

Never Slowing Down

We weren’t meant to live life at breakneck speed. I believe God created us with a need for Him. When we are moving too much and too fast, we might be doing things for God but not actually spending time with God.

I needed to slow down, take time to pray, read about purpose, and focus on gratitude. When I did that, I found that God wanted to give Himself to me in a way that brought meaning, peace, and purpose to my life.

What are some ways you’ve prioritized your life so you can have better balance and peace of mind?


Can you think of a time when you felt like you wanted to run away from a problem?

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