How to Dial in “Me Time” and Still be a Great Parent

Time for Myself

When you become a parent, it appears that your life stops for 18 years.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  In fact, the more time you dial in for yourself and show your child that it isn’t selfish to do that, the more balanced that child will be when he reaches adulthood.

Here are some ideas to dial in “me time” and still be a great parent.

Take Care

This doesn’t just mean being careful.  It means treating yourself the way you treat others.  Don’t be hard on yourself.  Our society in America holds parents and parenting to a very high standard.  Got some dishes in the sink at the end of the day?  Don’t worry about it.

There are going to be times when parenting is overwhelming and stressful and that’s when you need to take good care of yourself.  If you like taking a bath, lock the bathroom door and give yourself the gift of time and a hot soak.

You’re going to be a parent forever.  Parenting isn’t a sprint, it’s a distance race so you don’t need to go all out all the time.

You don’t have to go it alone.  And this applies to two parent households as much as to single parent households.  Find some people you connect with who have children about the same age and make sure to get together often as a support group.

Kids Under 5

This stage of the game has parenting feeling like the ultimate 24/7 job.  And it is. Hang in there, though, because kids get older and things get easier.

Remember the question above about dishes in the sink at the end of the day?  There are going to be lots of times when your house isn’t perfectly clean and company comes over.  It’s okay.

And get a sitter and go out as often as you can afford to.

Children Aged 6 - 9

This is when you can start setting boundaries and getting your children involved in normal family chores around the house.  Teach them how to do their own laundry.  Show them how to help with dishes and loading the dishwasher.  They make some of the mess; they can help clean it up.

Have your child’s friends come over for a play date.  That will give you some time to get some of your own things done while they’re being entertained by their friends.

Teenagers

Just like when they were infants and toddlers, you will worry about your teenager as he presses the edge of the envelope of independence.  Talk with your teen about curfew and also about what you expect from them.  And, to be fair, ask them what they expect of you.

If you have a favorite activity or hobby, you can certainly get back into this in a more concentrated and focused way.

Great parenting and having time for you are not mutually exclusive.  Enjoy the gift of time and also the gift of your children while they’re young.

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