For busy parents who are juggling work and childcare, it can be difficult to set aside time for themselves but when was the last time you really put yourself first and listened to what you wanted? We’re always being told about how important self-care is and though it might seem impossible to carve out a bit of time in your schedule for yourself, taking time out can make all the difference to your family.
Parenting is tough.
It can be fun, it is definitely rewarding, but it is tough. Making sure the children are fed, that they’re clothed and washed, that they’ve had enough sleep, that they’ve done their homework, all that on top of maintaining your living space and getting yourself ready and out the door for work keeps you busy. Far too busy for a night out with friends or an evening to yourself in the bath with a glass of wine or two on the regular.
Feeling busy without the chance to have a break can leave you feeling overwhelmed and isolated, so just like how your children need to take a break when they’re tired, so do you. Rather than thinking of alone time, either with your partner or solo, as a luxury, start trying to make it a priority. Not giving yourself time to de-stress and relax can have serious effects, not just on your mental health, but also your physical health, which in turn, can impact your family relationships. Surely, the first step to looking after your family, is to make sure you’re fit for purpose by looking after yourself?
It is important that you don’t look at creating ‘me time’ as another task to add to the never-ending to-do list, but more collecting a series of brief pauses in the day that involve little planning and can leave you feeling refreshed. Whether its taking half an hour to do some yoga while the baby naps, or walking for the school run giving yourself some time to breathe fresh air on your walk back home without the children. The littlest things can make the biggest differences and leave you happier, healthier and better able to enjoy your time with the family no matter how chaotic it is.
The next time you find yourself reaching breaking point as the children scream around you and every piece of crockery you own teeters dangerously in the sink, think about what you can do to yourself happy, healthy and relaxed. If you have a partner sharing the childcare duties, allow them to have some one-on-one time with the children and take yourself off to learn a new skill, wonder around the shops or just have a nap. If you’re a single parent, find a local club or group that the children can participate in while you spend some time clearing your head. Feeling like you’ve lost your old identity and taken on this new persona of being a parent is one thing that many people start to miss as their interests take a back seat to their children’s wants and needs. You can maintain your hobbies without neglecting the children or stressing yourself out and learning a new skill or keeping up with your old life can be a real confidence booster.
There are plenty of reasons for taking time out and looking after number one, but it’s important not to stress out about it but to rather set aside time and stick to it. It’s for the good of the family and most importantly, for you and your relationships.