On a bit of a personal tip I’m really going to hit this subject quite deeply. Parents need time for themselves. I don’t know who put it in a rule book that once you become a parent you go in to the background and lose your identity. Everything becomes about your kids, step kids, or blended family. I’ve learned this lesson HARD.
Believe it or not last week was the first time in my that I ever packed a bag and went away totally on my own – I hear you laughing or saying oh my goodness Angie what’s wrong with you? Morggan and Kamarane are now 17 and 20 and I was as nervous as hell. The thing is I don’t know where I learned this! For some unknown reason I used to feel really guilty if I went away and I didn’t take my girls with me.
Parents need time to themselves and boy did I find out. So what is the right age to leave your kids and take a break for yourself? Let’s seriously talk about this.
It’s easy to become socially isolated from the outside world when your family life is hectic, but it’s really important that parents throw away their mommy and daddy guilt and take time for themselves. Whether it’s working on yourself, the relationship between you and your partner or connecting with your family, setting aside that time not only benefits you but your family as well. Self-care is not selfish; it’s one of the best things you can do for your kids. Taking a break from family can cause guilt and anxiety in mothers and fathers alike.
We’re supposed to want to be around our kids all the time, right? Going to work is a hardship because it takes us away from our families. Same with exercise. Same with any commitment that might distract us from our children.
Wrong. Wrong. WRONG. It’s absolutely VITAL that we as parents take time to recharge, refresh and get re-engergised! Here’s how…
Say no. You’ll have less energy taken from you in the first place if you learn to set limits. “Say no to things that don’t serve you,” Aimee Danielson says. “Say yes to things that are fulfilling and replenishing.” For instance, it’s okay to say no to another volunteer task at school but yes to a nice dinner out with a friend you enjoy.
Ask for alone time in the house. There are some women who really feel like what they need is solitude. You don’t always have to step away to find your space- this home is as much yours as anyone else’s in the family. So for one day every week send the children off (with a responsible adult) on a fun daytime adventure, while you take time out and enjoy the house to yourself.
Step out WITHOUT an Agenda
Take a stroll through the park, head to the seaside, or just walk around your neighborhood without anyone or any agenda to drive you. You don’t need to grab a shopping list every time you step out- this is your time and your time alone. Not having a plan can be completely liberating; instead just follow your heart and let the hour ahead unfold organically in tune with you.
Amid the scores of things to do and demands to fulfill, do you even remember what your morning cup of tea tasted like? It is quite common to switch into autopilot mode and go about your day focused more on the action than the experience in order to get most done, but this is a recipe for stress. So de-stress by slowing down being more mindful of the moment; slip you tea slowly or take your time getting dressed- slow down to rev up!
Bring Back the Rebel in You
Being a parent never meant you had to completely forget who you are; pure conformity to the expectations a role brings without paying any heed to our own individuality can sap us of enthusiasm and backfire in the long term. Try and integrate more of who you are without shaking things up for your children. You could whip out some old records or pick up that guitar again, create a home studio or try something different with your wardrobe- even the smallest gestures can go a long way to cheering and inspiring you.
Early Morning Quiet
Making ‘me’-time a habit is the best way to make sure you get some. My favorite time of day to slip some in is early morning, before the remainder of the family has even begun to stir. The house, the neighborhood, why the whole world is quiet, and here I can really connect with my inner thoughts and feelings.
Take a ‘Me’-Time holiday
It isn’t as implausible as you might imagine, and not every holiday needs to be a family one. Take a low cost holiday for yourself at least once a year. You could just drive down to the coast for the day or spend a night at your favorite spa, or just check into a swanky hotel nearby for a change of pace. It’s not how far you head, but how different your time and space away is.
Stay inspired with the best ‘me’ time activity that is guaranteed to keep you inspired- be creative! Whether you bake a cake or whip out your sketchbook, indulge in a little DIY or trim the hedges, being creative keeps your juices flowing and your feel good hormones topped up all while affording you some silent and productive time with yourself.