It can be hard to know how to find time for yourself when you’re a parent! Parenthood brings a lot of changes in your life. Well, actually, that’s the understatement of the year.
Parenthood turns your life upside down and shakes it a little bit so nothing sticks to its place anymore. Such extreme changes usually take us by surprise – we knew it was going to happen, but none of us expected it will wreak so much havoc to our lives and daily routines.
None of us expected it would be so time-consuming and energy-draining. It is an extreme “out-of-your-comfort-zone” experience you cannot escape.
However, it’s good to remember that what’s good about stepping out of your comfort zone is that it always makes you develop.
Tired mom = angry mom
How often has it happened to you that you snapped or yelled at your child and then felt sorry, but it was too late? It is very common, simply because being a parent needs great loads of energy. So great, people don’t even realize.
You do household tasks while watching your child. This kind of multi-tasking sometimes is a must, but in the long run, it makes us more tired.
Your basic needs are not met. You cannot sleep enough, eat a proper meal, pee in privacy without a toddler crying for attention. You are on watch all the time and don’t even have the ability to relax anymore.
This is because our brain is hardwired to be alert when we hear our baby cry. It is vital to re-learn how to relax and understand why a tired parent cannot take good care of anyone, children or other family members.
You are not a “bad” parent. You are just a tired one and you need to learn how to find time for yourself!
If we only give out our energy and don’t fill it back up, we become angry and irritable, we feel tired, overwhelmed or even guilty for being a bad parent. We need to accept the fact that our body needs to regenerate, too.
How to make time for yourself as a parent
Be good to yourself just as you’re trying to be good to everyone else. Even more: be better to yourself than to others.
Have you noticed how easily one angry person can change the mood of the entire room? Or an elated person can bring joy to everyone around?
The same way you can help others feel better just by making yourself feel better. In order to do that, you have to take care of your needs first.
Ask others for help. You don’t have to do everything on your own. If both parents share the daily chores, that’s just perfect. If not, why not try to talk to your partner about it?
You can also ask around the family or even neighbors. You may be surprised to find out that some people around you will be happy to help, just to stick around your kids (see: grannies and aunties!).
I just discovered that my neighbor is glad to have my son (2.5yo) at her place as then her own boy doesn’t get bored and she doesn’t have to come up with new activities for him.
How to make time for yourself when the baby arrives…
When I first became a mother, many people tried to help me and took my baby away so I could rest. (They also adored him since he was the first grandchild for both grannies).
However, he cried most of the away time. When I heard him, I couldn’t relax a bit. But I quickly learned some tricks which allowed me to rest while he was close to me.
You can use these techniques as well to learn how to find time for yourself when your baby arrives.
First of all, I discovered that it was much easier for both of us to have a nap during breastfeeding. There is a saying that a mother should sleep while the baby is asleep.
Some people add that she should cook while the baby cooks, but this leads nowhere. You can ask the dad or the granny to cook instead of holding the crying baby or just order delivery.
Another thing was babywearing. You can use woven wraps or specially designed carriers. With a baby on your chest or back, you can do most of your chores while keeping the little one asleep or entertained.
Plus, it helps create a deeper bond between you and the child. Just make sure to contact a certified babywearing instructor if you want to wrap a newborn so that you won’t harm his fragile spine.
How to find time for yourself while looking after a toddler…
As your child grows, his daily rhythm becomes more consistent. This allows you to make some predictions and prepare ahead of time. You can use these techniques as well to learn how to find time for yourself when your child becomes a toddler.
I decided to try to wake up earlier. I consider myself an owl so it was really hard for me to get used to being woken up early in the morning.
My husband usually took “the night watch” as he comes home from work around 10 pm and likes to stay up late, so I took the mornings.
The fact that the baby destroyed my morning routine made the start of my day even worse. However, it changed when I decided to wake up ahead of time. It doesn’t make me any less sleepy, but at least I can have the morning pee without spectators, wash my face and teeth, have breakfast and a coffee.
The way you start the day often has a decisive influence on how you feel until your bedtime.
How to find time for yourself with older children
When the child goes to school or kindergarten, we usually sign them up for various extra classes, be that sports, music, arts, languages or whatever you deem necessary for their development.
This is fine if not exaggerated since one of the parents often ends up a part-time chauffeur.
If you struggle to keep up with driving your kids to all of their activities, you may want to follow these steps, so that you can know how to find time for yourself in between:
- Look at their schedules and decide which classes are really, REALLY necessary. If you have 3 kids or more, you may have them decide on just one kind of class each.
- Try to find out what fun things you can do with them. It might be e.g. going to a swimming pool, having a football practice together, joining a choir, etc. It would be best if all of your children enjoyed that activity so you could make it a family event. Put that in the schedule and never skip it. It will allow you to not only save time but more importantly, to create a bond with your kids and also to enjoy yourself. Enjoying yourself always brings your energy levels up.
- Set your me-time in your schedule and don’t skip it. This is vital as everyone needs some time alone. You can do whatever you feel like during that time, e.g. soak in a bath, read books, go for a walk or for a run. Since you take care of everyone else’s special activities, make sure you don’t leave yourself out.
I hope these tips help you in all stages of parenting to so that you can know how to find time for yourself! It is incredibly important for your mental health and well being. Be sure to be mindful in all you do!
About the author
Hi! I’m Natalia Wiatr. I’m a Polish state school teacher and a parenting blogger. As a mother and blogger, I realized that the most common issue underlying behavioral problems in families is not understanding and not accepting emotions. The problem concerns parents as well as children. I want to show others how noticing, analyzing, and accepting your own emotions can help you improve your relations and general well-being. I myself use mindfulness, anger management strategies, and relaxation techniques. On my blog, I try to teach others how to do that. My mission is to help parents manage their emotions so that they can build an atmosphere of love and acceptance for their children to thrive.
I am currently working on a free ebook in which I’m going to elaborate on how to find the time for yourself as a busy parent. You can read more about it here.
Also, please check out my blog website www.nataliawiatr.com.