Life’s been crazy here lately. That happens in most families, but since I’m pregnant I’m really feeling it. This got me thinking about ways to take just a quick break from the stresses parenting sometimes causes.

The goal here is to think of things that can be done at home, although breaks can be taken more easily if you can get away from the house. But any stay at home mom can tell you that for much of her day that just isn’t practical.

1. Fix a favorite drink.

I don’t necessarily mean alcoholic. My own preference for relaxing when the kids are awake is hot chocolate. I’ll often make it for them too, as it means they will ignore me in the hunt for marshmallows melting in their drinks.

And they don’t fight over whose cup is whose.

2. Take the kids to the park. Just sit and watch.

My kids don’t make this one easy. My son in particular would rather I follow him. But if you insist, you can get the kids to let you relax and watch them play at the park once they’re old enough.

3. Leave the dishes, laundry, etc. alone.

Just let them sit for a while. You can’t do this if things have been piling up for a while, but sometimes letting things pile up can allow you to relax.

4. Have Daddy put the kids to bed at night.

If the day has just been that rough, have your husband put the kids to bed while you relax. For some this may be routine, but for other stay at home moms this may be quite a treat.

My husband and I share the job, but on those nights that I’m extra tired he takes over. It’s amazing how much lying down in a quiet room while someone else puts the kids to bed can help matters.

Daddies can take over at other times too, but if he’s had a rough day too it can be nice for him to not be responsible for the kids alone until bedtime.

5. Turn on the TV or computer for the kids.

At the age my kids are, letting them play on the computer most times gets me more peace and quiet than the television. They’re only 6 and 3, but there are plenty of kid friendly websites they can use without my help. I have a page set up so that they can easily click to the sites they’re allowed to go to.

Similarly, TiVo is a huge help. They always know their favorite shows are available, and my 6 year old can easily use the remote to pick one.

6. Take a nap with younger kids.

There’s a reason why so many people tell new moms to nap at the same time as baby. It’s one of the few times you can get away with it.

Even children who aren’t much on napping may be willing to fall asleep if they get to snuggle with you. My son gave up naps shortly after turning 3, but even now, with his 4th birthday approaching, I can sometimes get a nap by curling up with him in my arms.

7. Turn on some of your own music.

Even the best children’s music gets wearing after a while. You can use your MP3 player and headphones if you want it to yourself, or let your kids listen along with you.

8. Let your husband bring dinner home.

Not as healthy as home cooked as a rule, and it certainly costs more, but nice for a treat. My family is rather fond of the fried chicken our nearest grocery store offers. Much cheaper than ordering anywhere else.

Alternatively, he can cook, but that assumes he gets home early enough for this to be reasonable. It can be awfully hard to wait extra long for dinner if your husband isn’t home all that much before the time your family usually eats.

9. Trade time with other moms.

A classic, but so very nice! Get to know the other stay at home moms in your area, especially if they have kids in the age range of your own. Sometimes you take their kids; sometimes they take yours.

What other ways do you take a break? What do you do with your break time?