While being a parent is the most fulfilling role we have ever had, sometimes, we look at our old pictures, and we assume we have lost ourselves. Raising a child sucks up all the time we have; we no longer are capable of doing everything we used to do. We live the same routine every day, putting off our needs, and feel tremendously guilty when we face a self-care opportunity...until we reach a stage where we believe we've lost ourselves for good.
The truth is, we change our personalities and priorities to accommodate this new life, but we never have to lose ourselves. The parent version of us can still have some “me-time” -- It will be tight, of course, yet valuable and refreshing. Keep in mind that our kids are our worlds, but this world should include us as well, for a happy and healthy family.
No need to feel guilty for wanting some alone time, parents love and self-love co-exist. Recharging through our self-care time will make taking care of our kids and supporting them less challenging! 😊 -- Here is how:
1- Letting our kids know us.
Not just as mom or dad, but sharing our passions and stories with our kids is one of the best ways for them to understand us and our needs, too. Imagine sharing with your kids what life was like before you had them or what you loved to do most as a kid or a young adult? It gives them perspective and puts them on notice in advance for when you need to step away to do those things you just shared with them and kids can be cooperative when we bring them along the journey and include them in the plan. For instance, if they know you have a talented artist inside you, they'd suggest doing more drawing or crafting activities together.
Sharing your day and asking for advice encourages our kids to discuss their stories with us, so we get to know them even more (It's a win-win!).
2- Schedule me-time.
I know what you’re thinking; easier said than done :). However, if we are not considering it, we won't have it at all. With the support of our partner, a close family member, or a friend, we can have some time for ourselves every now and then and use it however we wish.
One of the helpful pieces of advice I got was: bring the child into your world; don’t let the child pull you completely into his world. If you like sunset walks, take your kid outside and walk together. Want to do some workouts or get a new haircut? Ask a trustworthy family member to watch your kid for an hour or two. Don’t feel guilty stepping away and most importantly when you step away, be mentally present and focused on you and not the kids you just excused yourself from.
3- Their nap time is our relaxing time.
Instead of obsessively cleaning and worrying about our tasks as parents during our kid's nap time, we need to let go of perfection and relax (We deserve it). Reading our favorite book, preparing our favorite smoothie, or taking a deep-relaxing bath is a bright step to restore our energy and keep going throughout the day.
4- Ask for or hire help.
If you are a stay-home parent, it might feel that you have to handle every single thing on your own -- that's not true. We can hire a babysitter or cleaning service whenever we feel burnt out and need some precious time. We always teach our kids to ask for help when they need it, so why can't we?
Remember the proverb "It takes a village to raise a child"? It's time for the village to get involved. 😄
5- Noting our triggers.
Planning ahead of the most challenging times of the day helps us manage and know your triggers. . When things get even more irritating and out of hand, simply take a step back and relax.
Raising a child is never meant to be overwhelming; enjoy this delightful journey and embrace your aspirations.