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Do you ever feel guilty of thinking about giving yourself a break? If so, you are in excellent company. The modern mom often has to juggle parenting, work, and to look after the household, which leaves little time for anything else. The trouble is, ‘me time’ is important if you want to reduce your levels of stress, recharge yourself, and even be a better parent. Here are some reasons why me-time is so critical to your health and happiness, and why you shouldn’t feel so guilty about taking a time out every now and again. Read on to find out more!
Humans have evolved to take regular rest, but when you first have kids, it’s the start of a long process that involves losing sleep and expending more energy than you ever have before. Wakeful nights, more chores, and the emotional stresses and strains of looking after a baby or two will take their toll, and taking a break and getting some well-deserved rest is your body’s way of recovering.
Make no mistake about it, all this stress build-up is incredibly dangerous. It can lead to chronic, long-term health problems, both in mind and body. Stress can also mess up your immune system, and lead to severe conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. It leads to psychological issues like depression, too, which could prove to be a terrible outcome for your ability to look after your children.
You need sleep to function.
As with anything else in life, your ability to perform in tasks is highly affected by the amount of sleep you have. And you will lose a lot of sleeping hours when you have a baby – it’s completely unavoidable in the vast majority of cases – unless you are incredibly lucky. It’s important that you catch up on your lost sleep whenever you can, so perhaps think about what you can do about it. Maybe it’s time to buy some new bedroom furniture to create a relaxing environment that you can retreat to one or two nights a week. A good bed is imperative for adequate rest. Perhaps you can ask your parents to look after the kids for a couple of weekends a year so you can recharge your batteries. And perhaps you and your partner can share nighttime duties in the week, to spread the burden, so it isn’t all on you. With more rest, you can be a better mother – it’s that simple.
You’re not just a mom.
When you have children, it can kind of overwhelm you. You are fulfilling your natural function, after all, and will do anything and everything you can to give your kids the best life possible. However, you’re not just a mom. You are a wife or partner. You’re a daughter, and maybe an aunt, as well as being a friend and colleague to lots of people outside of the family. You might be an employee, employer, or self-employed worker, too. And most of all, you’re a person, who needs the simple things in life that everyone else needs to be happy and healthy. That includes taking some rest every now and again – so don’t feel guilty about it in the slightest.
Helping others is easier when you help yourself.
The reality of parenting – and life in general, actually – is that you are better at it if you are in good shape. And the stronger, healthier, and fitter you are, the better you can deal with anything parenting throws at you. So, don’t be afraid to go down to the gym two or three times a week, and put aside time in the evening to make yourself a healthy meal. Get into meditation or mindfulness, too, to clear your head and focus on yourself every once in a while. You will feel better than if you are just focusing on helping your kids 24/7, and you will do a better job of it, too.
24/7 attachment leads to problems.
Being a mom, you are tuned into your babies and children at all times. And while you might not hear this from the rather rose-tinted world of parenting bloggers, it can lead to serious problems. Spending time with anyone for this length of time, with no breaks at all, can lead to resentment and all kinds of other negative feelings kicking in – and there aren’t many moms out there who are immune to it. So, while it might go against your natural instincts, taking someone up on the offer of looking after your kids and giving you a break once a week shouldn’t be sniffed at. Sometimes, it takes an absence – even as little as an hour – to make the heart grow fonder. If you can loosen your grip, you’ll find you are still obsessed with your kids, but for all the right reasons.
You have talents to share.
Do you have any talents, or hobbies you have given up since having kids? If so, think about taking those activities up again. Not only will it help you feel like you are challenging yourself in other ways than ‘just being a mom,’ but you’ll also have those talents to share as your kids get older. Your little ones will love the fact you can paint, draw, play a musical instrument or create incredible DIY furniture, and will be inspired to follow in your footsteps. Kids are super proud of parents with talents and hobbies, and while being a mother should be your number one priority, you will find your creativity brings an extra something to your life.
You need to set a good example.
Finally, if your kids see you running around in a permanent state of exhaustion, how do you think that will affect them in their later life? If you don’t take care of yourself, and do everything for them all the time, it can have a negative impact. Yes, your kids are at the center of your universe, but it’s not good to teach them that they are the center of the actual universe. The result could be your kids growing up to be lazy, selfish, and perhaps even incapable of living life to its fullest. If you can show your kids that you take time to work out, follow your interests, and have a life outside of the family, it will rub off on them, too. The idea is to show them that you value yourself as much as you value taking care of their needs, and it’s an incredibly valuable lesson for them to learn.