All parents need a break! (and that’s okay)
For some reason we feel guilty for wanting a ‘time out’ ourselves. Parenting is hard, it doesn’t matter whether you have one child or four (I don’t know how you do it though). It doesn’t matter whether you have a baby, toddler, young children, teenagers – there’s no easy age, it’s all challenging. There’s no starting parenting ‘shift’ time in the morning and you don’t ‘clock-off’ at 5pm either. Parenting is all day every day, sometimes in the night if you don’t have a child that sleeps well!
Mine are one and four years old, they’re the most rewarding ‘work’ ever but they are ‘work’. By the end of most days I’m shattered and want to crawl into my pit praying for a full nights sleep. At some point I doze off and am possibly woken around 1am, only to walk my one year old (Flo) back to bed, get her to sleep and then crash land again in my bed until around 5.30 or a little after 6am if I’m lucky!
The days and weeks sometimes blur together and are filled with nursery runs, lots of laundry loads, constantly cleaning up after everyone else, playing and trying to keep up with energetic kids, shopping for groceries, making breakfast, lunch and dinner, baths before bed, fights to get dressed every day or into pyjamas every night (not sure why it’s such a surprise when it happens every day) and the battle of getting them to bed at a decent hour!
Being a parent or guardian is non stop
It can be difficult but it is so important and not at all selfish to try and prioritize yourself every once in a while. If you’re getting run-down or close to feeling like you’re burnt out (I hope you stop it before it gets to that point) then you need to find a way to fit yourself into the busy family schedule.
With that being said I wanted to share with you a few ways I make time for myself. Starting with the most obvious…
- Get up earlier or stay up a little later than the kids. At the moment I’m pretty lucky because most nights both girls are asleep by 8.30pm at the latest. I then stay up until 10pm, which gives me plenty of time to write, catch up on some Netflix, read or just browse holidays and all things I dream about that keep me motivated. However, when we only had Freda, she would always wake up a little later in the morning so I would set my alarm for half an hour to an hour earlier so I could get up, dressed, do my hair and put makeup on. I really felt ready for the day and liked I started the day in the best way to be productive going forward.
2. If you’re kids are in school, just because you have those six hours until they finish at 3pm doesn’t mean you’re day is to yourself. You still spend that time cleaning, making the home nice, tidying, doing washing, shopping for groceries etc. Start finishing all the ‘house’ tasks by a certain time like 12/1pm so that you can then shower, dye your hair, paint your nails, go shopping for yourself; use an hour or so before you have to go on the school pick-up run to do something for you!
3. If like me you have a baby/toddler at home I’m finding plenty of activities that last long enough for me to do something that makes me feel more human! For example, at the moment my one year old really enjoys playing with water so I take the play bowl from her kitchen or the Minnie Mouse sink she has, fill it with water, a few toys, roll her sleeves up and have a towel close by. She plays with that while I put my makeup on (most days are makeup free because who has the time!) Or if I want to ‘deep clean’ something in the kitchen because it makes me feel good I will sit her at the table with washable coloring, mess free Crayola or even little painting books are often available in Home Bargains for 99p and both my girls love them! I tend to stock up on them and pull them out whenever there’s something I really need to get done. (The paint comes off easily with a wipe as well so you can relax a little.)
4. Implement some quiet time to your daily schedule with the kids. For me, once the girls have full bellies after lunch and we’ve had a busy morning playing and running around; we all need a little reset. We often have our lunch with a movie on, or they have their ‘tablets’ with games on and they’re happy to chill. Instead of doing the washing up or putting clothes away, I will be more present and make myself a cup of coffee and sit down at the same time. That way I’m doing something for myself as well as being engaged with the girls. You have to teach yourself to be okay with not getting all the ‘chores’ done at or by a certain time…if the washing up builds up a little more than you like…that’s okay.
5. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask for help. I don’t know why as mum’s, dad’s, parents in general we feel like if we ask for some help, or ask someone to come and watch the kids for an hour or two like we’re failing. Why is that? I remember when I was adjusting to life as a ‘mum’ I struggled to do anything by myself, even taking my time getting a shower, I’d feel like I had to rush everything so I could be back to my baby ASAP. Ask your partner, ask your family members…’it takes a village’ and all ‘that’. People also liked to be asked to help, you’ll be strengthening relationships as well as looking after yourself.
6. Find local parent and baby groups to go to weekly or fortnightly. This is good for babies and toddlers, they get to learn and practice some social skills and you get to have a sit and a chat with some other mum’s who will be able to relate and sympathize with your situation. Often talking with other parents and getting out of the house lifts your spirits, humans are social creatures.
I hope some of this blog post has you got you thinking about where you put yourself on the priority list for the day. Start making time for yourself and looking after yourself better than you currently do, you and your children will be better for it.
All parent’s need a break or some ‘me’ time, don’t feel guilty for that. I hope I gave you some new ideas of things to try or at least got you inspired and your mind thinking of ways you could shift things around in your day to accommodate yourself a little more too.
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