It's all about having balance!
It doesn't matter if you're an older or younger parent, middle class or wealthy. One theme is constant: Parenting can be seriously overwhelming and stressful! Being a good parent is a balancing act, but the message of our current culture is that parents are to sacrifice everything (even their own sanity) for their children.
Where's the balance in that? Taking care of your children and attending to your own needs should not be on two opposite ends of a spectrum. Here are some surefire ways that you can avoid the stress that comes with family life and start having fun!
1. Take Mini-Retreats.
While five to ten minutes for yourself doesn't sound like much time, it can really lower your frustration. One way to do it? Give yourself a short break by finding a short meditation exercise video online that'll help you relax.
Or you can even just read a chapter from your favorite book or flip through a magazine you've been meaning to read. Trust us; even though it may not seem like it, you're actually setting an example for your kids by actively managing your anxiety and stress.
2. Make Your Needs A Priority.
What activities did you give up when you had kids? Find those hobbies and friends again. Did you enjoy dates with your partner? This is a great time to start getting that time (for yourself and each other).
It is healthy for the whole family to prioritize parent plans once in a while. Have at least one date night (or a weekend off) a month to either enjoy with your partner or a "just me" hobby.
Trust me, it'll do wonders.
3. Get A Grip On Outside Activities.
Most of us are overscheduled, and this includes our children. So many of us try to have kids involved in so many different activities to expose them to different types of culture, music, and sports. Parents do this with the best of intentions; however, children need time to themselves to just play.
Playtime is when our kids work through their emotions and simply have fun. The other advantage of not having a busy schedule for your children is that their playtime is also parent's free time. Take it and use it wisely.
4. Get Individual Therapy.
Can you really expect your child to stay in control of their feelings when you feel constantly stressed? Endless self-sacrifice makes a parent feel worn down and exhausted, which leads to resentment. If you are in control of your emotions and cope with them in a healthy way, it is modeled for your children.
Also, being in control helps a parent be perceptive enough to notice and reward good behavior or respond aptly to inappropriate actions. Individual therapy can help with the guilt of self-care that parents often feel when they are not 100 percent focused on their children.
It is understandable that in this age of everyone constantly on the go that a parent forgets his or herself in the stress of being in several roles throughout the day and night. However, there is a time and place daily for self-care, and even parents—especially parents—need to take this time for optimal health.