5 Steps on How To Raise A Child While Looking After Yourself
Time to myself. Something I had in abundance when I was single and child-free. It was something I took massively for granted. and even had the audacity to say I was bored. Good lord. Looking back on this now, I laugh. Well, I kind of laugh and also cry just a little. Now, I struggle to find time for myself. Staying sane while raising kids is definitely hard.
These days, going to the supermarket to grab milk on my own feels like a damn holiday. I get excited when I look at my work roster and realise I will have a few hours to myself Thursday in 2 weeks time. I think about it daily and count down the days until I get those precious few hours, just to sit and be. And I doubt that I am alone on this.
Sometimes I use this time quite productively. Cleaning the house, washing, taking the dogs for a walk. Other times, so exhausted from my busy life, I nap. Yes, I drop the kids off at school and Kinder, I come back home and I climb back into bed for an hour or two. Crazy huh?
It is now unbelievable to think I used to be bored, when now, peeing alone seems like a distant memory. I usually use the powder room toilet because it has a lock on it. But it seems almost instant before the kids are attempting to smash through the door, little fingers are appearing under gap and dogs are sniffing and snorting on the other side. When opening the door I find two kids, two dogs and sometimes a husband all staring at me like I’ve been lost at sea for years. Oh to be bored once more.
Raising Children – Your Life Now
When raising children, you give up so much of yourself. Your life is no longer yours. Your life now belongs to these little beings, tiny little humans who depend on you for absolutely everything. Going to the gym, doing your makeup, getting your hair and nails done, having a coffee or a brunch with a friend takes so much planning its like you’re planning a 6 month tour around Europe.
Having to book in coffee dates with friends a month or more in advance, saving the date in my calendar and setting a reminder for myself the day before, all so I wouldn’t forget. This is my normal now.
Gone are the days when a quick text to catch up could mean coffee, lunch, dinner and drinks until 3 am. All without a second thought about school pick up, after-school activities or looking after screaming kids with the worlds worst hangover. Even after work drinks require careful planning, checking rosters, making sure someone does pick up, organising dinner and packing lunches all come into the fray. Life is no longer simple and staying sane while raising kids takes a lot of hard work.
Finding Ways To Stay Sane
So to many, this seems rather simple. But in all honesty, it took me years to realise I needed to take time to myself to cope and to retain my sanity. It took nearly falling apart in order to realise that sometimes I just needed to put myself first.
So, do something for YOU. You give up so much time doing things for others, you totally neglect yourself.
5 Steps To Avoid Parental Burnout
Exercise: Whatever form it takes, do it. For me, I love the gym and have taken up running. Physical exercise is great for mental health. After having children and the busy lifestyle that comes with it, I lost this passion. I usually found that I had no time or I was just too tired.
After a health scare, things needed to change. Having to find the time made me realise that I deserved this time and most of all my kids would survive the hour I needed to exercise. For you, it might be taking the dogs for a walk, swimming, walks along the beach, yoga. Whatever form it takes – do it.
New mom? Join a Facebook group and find local walking groups or mothers exercise groups where you can bring bubs along. Many places these days
Park run is also a great initiative and it is located all around Australia. Despite the name, you are also able to walk the course with the kids. Fun-run events can be good too, look up a running calendar and find a run/walk near you. They are also great for supporting good causes like children’s hospitals and the like.
Find something you like doing: For me, I have always loved writing. I started when I was 14 years old. Again, this hobby stopped after having children.
You might enjoy gardening, renovating, reading, arts and crafts. Whatever your passion, find time to do it. Give the kids a hobby or a chore and set aside an hour for yourself. Finding something you love will be surprisingly rewarding.
Be more like your husband: You know how they have boys days, pub trips, footy trips, nights away with mates without a glimmer of guilt or worry? Be more like that and do the same. Go for after work drinks with the girls, organise a dinner date childfree, go on a shopping trip or beach day with just your friends. Forget the kids. Hubby might
Do a girls weekend away: Whether you go to the city and stay in a fancy hotel and eat take away, chocolate and drink wine. Or whether you have a big night on the town drinking and dancing like you’re 20 again or spend the day getting massages and facials at a day spa, enjoy it.
Take this time for yourself, guilt free and do not think about the chaos you’ll walk back into at home when you return. Try not and stress when you get the text message from hubby saying the kids skipped their bath tonight and are eating McDonald’s for dinner, they will survive.
The best gift you can give your kids is a revitalised, relaxed momma whose batteries are fully recharged, so dump the guilt and just do it.
Find time to just be: This is probably one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Walking away from the housework, the bickering and fighting and the chaos and taking a cuppa tea outside to sit in the sunshine is easier said than done. But I do it. I need it and I own it. Take a book, catch up on your Facebook news feed or just sit and bask in the sunshine.
Whatever it is just relax and breathe. Yes, I have locked the door on my kids and told them to go away and give mommy some time when they come scratching down the door (which they will I promise!). Does this make me a bad mother? Hell no, it makes me a mother aware that I need some me time sometimes and that is okay.
Staying sane while raising kids is hard. Working and raising children, I can safely say the latter is the hardest. But one “I love you mommy” or squishy cuddle (as we call them) from my munchkins makes it all worthwhile. After all, we need to make sure we have someone around to look after us when we’re old and wrinkly. God knows we probably won’t be able to do it on our own.
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