This topic is especially important to me since I just had my second son in March. I categorized this under fitness and health because this is a mental and physical health topic to me. I strongly believe that finding time for yourself after having kids is very important. A lot of my friends started having kids before me so I witnessed what having kids can do. All my friends are wonderful parents. Some made sure to stay true to who they are by keeping their identity while others became wonderful all-encompassing parents whose lives revolved around their kids. I love both of my kids but for me, I feel that kids should enhance your life, not be all consuming.
I would like to make it clear before people are up in arms. I’m by no means saying you should not be a stay at home mom. I think it’s fantastic if you can be there for your kids because I would love to be each day. I’m only saying that that finding time for yourself after having kids is very important. Too many of my good friends forget to take care of themselves. They need to find ways to take 10 minutes here and a half hour there. Yes, I know there are parents out there who don’t need a break from their kids and that’s fine but most of the people I know do need a break. If you don’t take one then you risk losing your identity and who you are. When your kids are finally in school you may be left picking up the pieces you let fall away.
Finding time for yourself doesn’t have to be a weekend away with the girls. While that would be a lot of fun, you should do things that you can regularly do. I listen to MY music when I’m in the car. The kids get to experience what type of music I like or they are stuck listening to my podcasts. If I have to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and PJ Masks and Special Agent Oso and Sheriff Callie and Paw Patrol over and over again when we are home then in the car I get to enjoy my music. Later they will thank me when they can sing a little MC Hammer.
Here are other suggestions for ways you can get a little time to yourself and find your happy place:
- Go to the gym
- Listen to those podcasts or your music
- Have a monthly girls night out
- Join or create a book club (one of my many joys each month)
- Have conversations with an adult – call your best friend weekly and take 20 minutes to chat. Your hubby will need to be on child duty – 20 minutes won’t kill him
- Find a hobby – even if it’s crafting and the items you make are for your kids- if it makes you happy do it
- Write – write a blog or keep a journal
- Exercise – while this may sound like torture to some (me!) I’m finding it’s a nice escape to be able to go for a run (or a slow jog if you are just starting out) and get a few minutes to listen to music or a podcast and get a little release from stress
- Read a book – it doesn’t have to take a lot of time. I read one chapter each night. I don’t have the energy or time for more but that one chapter relaxes me and makes me happy
- Sit outside with a cup of tea or coffee before your kids wake up and enjoy the silence of the morning
- Get a pedicure
- Get a massage
- Do a yoga or meditation class or maybe get out some aggression in kickboxing is more your style
You get the picture. You are on call 24/7 with children so you need to be kind to yourself and take care of yourself. It will make you a better person and mother. I think it also gives you inner peace. While we all love our children we do need breaks from them to recenter and relax.