"4. You have permission to take care of yourself. Your own need for sleep, quiet, uninterrupted adult conversation, lovemaking, a leisurely bath, a walk around the block, and time to complete your own projects is real and legitimate. It is not a sign of failure to ask a friend for help, to hire a sitter, or to allow relatives the opportunity to build a relationship with your child while you take a break. When you fulfill your needs you generate the energy to meet your child's needs."
I could cry, or laugh hysterically.
Permission is one thing, but actually doing something about it is another. Lately, I've been trying to build in several mini-breaks for myself. I've found it works better if I'm totally focused on Raccoon for awhile, with very involved imaginative play or physical activity, then I let him watch a little TV while I check my e-mail or prepare a meal.
It's an ongoing skill I think, balancing self-care with family needs and parenting responsibilities.