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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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*This post was contributed to this site and contains affiliate links*

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!

It’s natural.

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.

It’s healthy.

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.

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