Being a parent is a job we willingly (sometimes more than others!) take on 24/7/365. The number of hours in any given week is fixed, but the schedule that fills those hours can change in an instant. In between the play dates, sports activities, birthday parties, and countless other items your child can be a part of—we as parents need to remember to carve out hours throughout the week to take care of ourselves, and our significant others.
Remembering to take time to care for ourselves is crucial, and if we lose sight of who we are outside our role as ‘parent’, the dynamics of our life can change, and sometimes not for the better.
These few tips can help us maintain the balance between ‘parent’ and ‘person’:
Your health matters
In between the wellness, dentist, chiropractor, eye doctor and any other visits you regularly schedule for your child, remember to do the same for yourself! While you may feel like a superhero keeping them healthy, stop and remember that you need to have wellness visits, as well. Parents don’t get to take sick days, so doing regular maintenance on you is just as important.
Your adult relationships matter
For many stay-at-home parents, the adage “Unless Dora sings it, Bob builds it, or Dr. Seuss wrote it, I have no idea what you are talking about.” hits closer to home than we’d care to admit. We need to remember to take time to call a friend for coffee or dinner, and have an actual adult conversation. It will help your sanity as an adult, and will help make your child telling the same story for the 300th time not as exasperating.
Your significant other matters
When a child is born, they become the new center of the household. Their wants and needs become first priority, and oftentimes, significant others take the back burner. Be sure to take time to spend with your significant other, just the two of you. A meaningful conversation once your kids have gone to bed, a periodic date night, or even spending time doing a hobby you know that they love—taking the time to remind them they are a priority in your life—is crucial. At the end of the 18 years, when your child (hopefully!) moves out and heads off to college or other bigger/better things, your significant other will be your only other companion, and your relationship will need to have stood the test of time to make it when your home is now ‘empty’.
Your lifestyle matters
Children are imitators of those they are around the most, and as their parents, we need to make good choices for them to follow. By showing your children that eating healthy, staying active, and spending quality time with friends and family is important to you, it will become important to them. Showcase the type of life you want your children to live, and they will begin to naturally integrate those things into their life, as well.
Remember that even though you are likely part of a parenting team, you as an individual still matter. Remember your identity as an individual. Your hobbies, your likes/dislikes, what matters to you. Remember to take time to enjoy the things that make you uniquely you, and don’t lose sight of them.