Let’s face it, you probably won’t find a single mom or dad in the world who would describe being a parent as ‘easy.’ Amazing, yes, but taxing and exhausting, hell yes. And in a world where we’re being praised more and more for being able to “do it all” and multitask to the max (especially women), maybe it’s actually time to take a step back. A big one.
Why is it that parents sometimes feel like they have to sacrifice their entire life in order to give their kids everything? After all, can we really take care of our children if we aren’t even taking care of ourselves? There’s actually a study that shows, mothers in particular who spend time with their children while stressed, sleep-deprived and anxious, can actually do more harm than good. So the next time you’re thinking about how guilty you feel for taking some time away—don’t.
To encourage both moms and dads to make sure they’re getting the time they need for themselves, here are a few things you can do.
Gyms with daycare
One of the biggest things parents struggle to find time for is exercise. Before kids, it probably didn’t seem impossible to make it to the gym a few times a week, but now that you’re in neck deep, you clearly see that the struggle is real. This is where gyms with daycare options come in. If your gym offers this, take advantage, and if not, time to find a new one! The cost is usually covered in the monthly membership or is a small additional fee.
Individual parent time
Some parents, especially in homes where one of them stays home, make day dates with their kids a regular thing. It gives the other parent time do whatever it is they’ve been wanting to do but can’t with the kids around. Getting some independent mom or dad time can also make your kids feel special. No need to go on a guilt trip if you’re the parent who gets a little time off!
Having friends to talk to that understand what you’re going through as a parent is crucial. Just like any situation in life, having support and even a shoulder to cry on always makes things a little easier to get through. If none of your friends have kids, ask one of the moms from daycare to go to lunch (sans kids). Or, use social media to find mom groups in your area. Resources are usually more accessible than you think, you just have to seek them out. Also, wine nights are a must!
Accept help when it’s offered, and if it’s not, seek it out
It’s really easy to wave off someone offering to help, but the next time someone pipes up, take them up on it! Friends and family are usually dying to help but don’t know how. All you have to do is accept. Or, if no one has specifically volunteered—ask! The people who care about you are more than likely eager to assist in any way they can.
Being a parent is hard, but being a constantly exhausted, anxious, moody parent is even harder. Take time for yourself! Both you and your kids will see the benefit of it. Chances are, a little time off is all you need to get back to being super mom or dad.