When you become a parent, suddenly everything is focused around this little bundle of poop and laughter that needs your attention all of the time.
With this change and the general lack of time you consequently find yourself with, it can be very difficult to find any time for yourself. Most of the time you find yourself de-pooping or cuddling or feeding or playing. Sometimes you can get to the end of the week and realise you haven’t actually done anything for yourself that week.
Don’t forget about yourself!
Without time for ourselves, we can end up turning into a stir crazy, baby-talk talking mess. If you are anything like me, you love spending time with your kids but can end up feeling unfulfilled and bored if you don’t do something to stimulate your mind. I start to find that all I can talk about is the house and the kids when we have company – because that is all I do.
Despite the fact that most of our time is taken up by looking after the kiddies it is really important for us to allocate some time to do what we want to do. This could be in the evening once the kiddies are in bed, or in the morning before everyone gets up. It could even just be taking ten minutes to have a cup of tea and read a magazine during nap time.
Whenever it is, make sure whatever you end up doing is exactly what you want to do – not what you need to do, or what you feel like you should do. Make this time completely yours.
I know a lot of people can feel guilty if they actively try to spend some time away from their children. I know I do! Just remember that the best parent is a happy parent – if you spend a small amount of time away from your kids but feeling happy and stimulated, it can be much better for them than a miserable parent who just needs to take a break.
Be the best you, so you can help them grow into the best they can be too.
Do you make sure you get some regular “me-time”? What do you do during that time? What suggestions would you give to those who don’t?
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“There is no such thing as a perfect parent. So just be a real one.” – Sue Atkins
For those times that you need a gentle reminder of how much you are worth as a parent, remember this quote.
Ignore the social media, ignore the people scoffing and “offering advice”, ignore everything on the internet that says you are doing something wrong, and just remember this.
Spend time with your kids, make time for them, help them to grow in to fully functioning adults. Be daft with them, protect them and teach them. Do everything you can to help them make it in this big wide world and don’t go hard on yourself when you cannot achieve everything.
This is what parenting is all about – doing your very best and being there. No one is perfect.
So, just remind yourself of this, in the times that you need it.
As people, we are all different. We like different things, dress, think and act in different ways and generally live our lives differently. In the same way, we all parent differently.
Some people breast feed, others bottle feed. Some people use disposable nappies, some use cloth. Others buy noisy toys for their kids, others stick to wooden… the list goes on!
But, at the same time as being uniquely different from each other, we are also all going through the same thing – finding our way through parenthood.
We will all experience that sense of self doubt and worry that we are doing the right thing by our children. We will all feel guilty about some aspect of our care – whether that’s due to working full time and being away from the children, or even the feeling that your child is not developing as quickly as the websites on the internet say they should be.
I, myself, have been experiencing quite a lot of “mum guilt” lately. Since going back to work, I have found that my time with the children has been significantly reduced and I am missing out on things that I would not have if I wasn’t out all of the time. I have also found that comparing my family’s life to others makes me feel like a bad mum – even if I cannot always pinpoint the reason why.
But we shouldn’t feel guilty.
As parents we are all doing our best for our children and we are all pushing ourselves to make their lives as full and as joyful as possible whilst trying to teach them the ways of life and help them grow into functional adults.
When you are feeling frustrated due to lack of sleep or a growth spurt, remind yourself of the time you have dedicated to relaxing them, making them feel calm and loved and helping them to drift off at night.
If you are feeling guilty for choosing to going to work – remind yourself of the money you are bringing in to the family and what you would have to do without that money.
If you are having wobbles about choosing to bottle feed, or not going down the baby led feeding route, remind yourself of the questions and arguments that went through your head before you made this decision and why you decided this was the best thing to do.
You are a wonderful parent, and you are doing a fantastic job. Don’t compare yourself to others and beat yourself up because you are not doing what they are doing. Don’t look at their social media feeds and feel like their life is so much better than yours because there is no sign of difficulties or arguments. They are there, they’re just not recorded.
Remind yourself each day to just do it your way – the way you feel is best. No one is more qualified to make decisions on behalf of your little ones as you are.
And don’t forget that! Have a little self belief and you might just surprise yourself!
What tips would you have for parents experiencing feelings of guilt or doubt about their parenting skills? How do you help yourself?
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