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Parenting is not something you simply know how to do without any experience or learning. You learn what’s involved and how to do it well by working hard and putting in the hours. It’s what all parents do. We learn by living.

Do you ever think you’re working yourself too hard and not leaving any room or time for yourself? Do you think that other parents get more breaks than you do?

It’s a common problem that parents face, and most don’t know how to deal with it. We all get overworked at times, whether it’s at our jobs or staying home with the kids. Squaring the responsibilities with parenthood with your desire to have some time to yourself is not going to be easy, but it’s worth trying to get it right because your life, as well as the lives of your children, will be improved as a result.

It’s a big balancing act, so it’s worth learning a few things about how to get it right before you set out on this personal journey. Below are some tips on what you can do to balance parenting and much-needed time for yourself. Read on, and when you’ve taken it all in, remember to spend some time implementing the ideas. Incorporating them into your everyday life will be challenging at first, but when you experience the positive outcomes, you’ll realize it was all worthwhile.

Ignore Feelings of Guilt

The first thing you need to be aware of is the fact that you have nothing to feel guilty about. Every parent needs to have time to themselves; nothing about you and your needs really change just because you have kids. You still want to have fun, you still want to do the things you enjoy doing, you still need to get your hair done, and you still need time to relax and wind down after periods of stress and hard work. So don’t ever feel guilty about wanting those things. Wanting them and having them don’t make you a bad parent in any way at all.

Work With Your Parent Friends to Share Responsibilities and Take Breaks

One way to get a little more time to yourself is to team up with parents your kids are friends with. You can have playdates and even take it in turns to look after the group of kids while the other parents have some time off to run errands. Of course, it will mean that you will also have a hand at tending to others’ kids every now and then. But, you will also have a lot more time to do things you want to while someone else looks after your child. It’s something that you can all benefit from, so it’s definitely worth giving some thought to.

When You Look After Yourself, Youll Set a Positive Example for Your Kids

Your kids need to have good, healthy, and balanced parents as role models. As their parent, you’re going to be the main role model in their life, so it’s important to consider what kind of example you’re setting for your kids. By having some time when you can relax and take things easy, you will be a more well-rounded person, and you will probably be less stressed out too. And kids love to join in on exercise, so the next time you feel like breaking a sweat, let them join you!

Say No More Often

Your time is precious; between having time to yourself and spending time with your family, you can’t afford to be saying yes to extra work. Your career should never be more important than yourself or your own wellbeing. Sure, it can be pretty hard to say no to people every now and then when they’re asking for your assistance in the office, but if it’s starting to interfere with your life, you really can’t afford to say yes. In the end, you’ll get into the habit of putting yourself and your family before those kinds of work commitments, and that’s no bad thing.

When You Get Some Free Time, Dont Waste It

Parents don’t get very much free time at all, so when you do get some, you have to be willing to grab it with both hands. If you waste the time you have to yourself, you’ll never feel fulfilled or happy. Having said that, when you’re a busy parent who’s always got something to do, it can be a strange situation to be in when you finally do have some free time and the chance to decide what you want to do. Go back to what you enjoy or simply take the chance to have some much-needed rest and relaxation. Or go to Target, alone. You’ll always feel better after a Target visit.

Spend Evenings With Your Partner

Spending time with your partner is always going to be important, and that doesn’t change just because you’re both parents now. You need to find ways to spend evenings together and have some fun. Of course, everyone would love to go out for a romantic meal at a nice restaurant every week, but that certainly isn’t realistic. Whether you choose to watch movies free online together or share a microwave meal, what’s important is that you share that time. Once your kids are in bed, make the most of those shared evenings.

Stay in touch With Old Friends

There are few things in life sadder than losing touch with friends that you used to be so close to. However, this is something that happens very commonly as you all get older and spend more time on your family and career. People don’t have the time to keep up with old friends, but it’s something you really should try to find time for. Your family relationships shouldn’t be the only relationships that demand your time and attention. It doesn’t take as much time as you think to stay in touch with old friends, and social media makes it that much easier to reconnect.

Find Solitude in Your Own Home

Sometimes, you don’t need to be doing activities or being social; instead, you just need to have some solitude and time to yourself. That quiet time is more important than people realize. Of course, we’re social creatures and we all enjoy spending time with others, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need some time to be by yourself and do nothing at all. It’s best if you can find that solitude in your own home. That could mean creating a quiet spot in your home or simply turning your bedroom into a quiet haven of solitude.

Dont Stop Doing Hobbies and Things You Love

One of the key things that makes you the person you are is the hobby you love. Maybe you even have a few hobbies that you used to be more invested in before you started a family. It’s healthy for you to find the time to do those things because when you don’t, you lose a part of what makes you feel good, and that’s not something you should ever let happen. You could set aside an hour per week to maintain your hobby, and then everything else has to fit around that.

Let Your Kids See the Real You

The real you is not the same as the parenting version of you. It’s both important and healthy for you to let your kids see the real you in some way. It can actually be really nice for you to show your kids the things you enjoy because your own passion for something could be passed on to your children in some way.

Learn Not to Worry So Much

Many people see worrying  as an inevitable part of parenting; all parents worry too much, right? Well maybe, but it doesn’t have to be that way. You will have much more free time to enjoy if you don’t spend every spare moment when you’re away from your kids worrying about where they are and what they’re doing. When they get a little older, you need to learn how to give them some space without worrying about them too much. Doing so is good for you and more importantly for them.

Remember That All Good Parents Need Time to Themselves

It’s not simply the case that you need time to yourself because it’s good for you; it’s something that can also be very good for your children. When you’re happier, it makes for happier kids. Period. If any feelings of guilt do start to creep in, just remember that you’ll be a better parent when you have a bit of time away from parenting. Being a parent and wanting some time to yourself are not two things in conflict with one another. That’s not how it has to be because in truth, they’re both important and they can aid one another. Your parental stress will be decreased, and you’ll find you even have a little more patience. Overall, your parenting will improve… and what could be more important than that?

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I have been very anxious with the never-ending list of responsibilities I have at home, work, and life in general. If I wasn’t still breastfeeding, I would seriously consider popping some Xanax or whatever drug it is that helps with the mental angst you feel when it seems all the walls are closing in on you.

I work part-time, so I consider myself a PSAHM (Part-time Stay At Home Mom). Which means my time is divided in equal parts family and work. It sounds wonderful.  But, finding the balance in both areas of my life feels like a joke. When my workweek starts I feel gung ho and ready to tackle what lies ahead of me. Knowing I only have so many days to get all my assignments done, though, is when the anxiety kicks in full throttle.  Monday’s are bad.  Not because it is the start of the week.  I usually welcome the chance to act and look like an adult but, rather, it’s the feeling I don’t possibly have enough hours at my job to get everything done I need to.  When I get home at the end of the day, I have nothing left in me to barely shower myself. I am mentally and physically drained. By the time I put my girls to bed, I sit on the couch for a short while until I can no longer keep my head up. I tuck myself in bed and pray the baby doesn’t wake up. Which will of course wake me up and make me question:  do I go check or do I wait and let her cry for a bit? Mental angst all over again in the middle of the night. Heavy sigh.

I know I am not the only mom that works, and I am so blessed to work part-time, as most employers don’t allow it.  And most parents can’t afford it.  But, and this is a big but… I am always playing catch-up.  I feel like a hamster on a wheel.  I want to feel balanced and in control.  I’m guessing this has something to do with having some Type A personality in me.  Something, I never really considered myself to be until I became a mom.  Now I’ve noticed I never give myself a moment to relax.  I am always doing some form of housework (Type A?).  I don’t think I’ve ever gone to bed with a dirty kitchen.  That makes me anxious as well.  Even writing on this blog.  I could spend the 1. 5 hours of quiet time I get per night watching television or scanning Facebook.  Nope.  I choose to write.  It takes more mental discipline but it also gives me an outlet.  Writing is my therapy.  Especially when I feel like a friggin’ hamster.

I’m positive it also doesn’t help that my last real vacation was in 2010.  I feel very strongly that a little R & R is the cure for most mental stress.  But, that is unlikely to happen.  I would feel too damn guilty leaving my children so the hubby and I could take a “couples retreat.”  So… I will wallow in my misery and keep at the daily grind.  However, for my 40th — I will be heading to Hawaii (kids in tow).  Only 4 years to go.  Sigh

PicMonkey Collage beach chair

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