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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!

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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Have you ever noticed, that before you became a parent you were so much more relaxed than you are right now? Hopefully it’s not just me, because I feel with the more children you have, the more your parental anxieties rise. Most women – and men – ha*ve heard of postpartum depression and even antenatal depression. And while they used to be taboo to talk about, being outspoken about PPD is more and more common nowadays. What most mothers haven’t heard of is the anxiety symptoms that crop up after your baby is born.

Anxiety is something that both men and women can experience, and for women, feelings of anxiety can develop as a direct correlation of their child being born. The idea that this crying, beautiful little creature is suddenly their full responsibility invokes fear and anxiety, even if you have managed to bond and form a deep love for the baby. It’s very normal to be anxious about whether you are doing the right thing as a parent and whether you can even protect your child. The key is to know when your anxiety is crossing from normal worries about how to protect your child, to an obsession over all the things that could hurt your baby.

Motherhood wires your brain into a highly sensitive state. It’s both empowering and overwhelming, the protectiveness we feel for this vulnerable human being that has come screaming into our lives. We worry about our children regardless of whether they are under our watchful eye in that moment. We worry about them at school, during activities away from us and when they become teenagers who require freedom to flourish and spread their wings. When you’ve just had a baby, the idea that you are essentially raising that child to live without you is inconceivable. However, we have to get them from babies to adults with the least amount of damage as possible, both physical and emotional. The need we feel to protect them and make life as safe as possible is one that never goes away, and there are a lot of things you need to consider when it comes to the safety of your children.

Home Safety

House renovations are fun for someone who wants to make upgrades and changes to their home, but it’s all fun and games until your building site of a house causes an accident. Ensuring that repairs across the home are done in a timely manner is important, and using a company like coastalcontracthardware.com/ for your garage door repair is a good idea to get the job done professionally. When you have children running around the house, you can never be too careful about getting repairs done promptly. While you’re at it, you need to ensure you have child-proofed your home. You don’t need to use plug socket covers, and you can read more about that in this article. But you do need to consider how a slamming door can affect your child and whether you need to add door stops or door holders to the doors to stop little fingers becoming trapped. Parental anxiety plays to your advantage with your home, because you can instantly hone in on the dangers that could upset or hurt your baby and can be quick with your safety choices.

Internet Safety

We live in a digital world full of iPads and touch screens and the internet, which means our children are going online on social media younger and younger. Children are impressionable and a big part of keeping them safe isn’t just physically taking care of them, it’s looking after their self-esteem and confidence. The saying about sticks and stones is entirely wrong, as words CAN hurt, and they can have a lasting effect into adulthood. If you aren’t looking after your children online, you are going to end up having to deal with children that have their own anxiety and confidence issues. The internet is a magical invention, but it’s harming to those who are immature and not able to cope with the online bullying that inevitably happens when life is spread on social media. The biggest and likely best thing that you can do for your child is to keep them off social media until they are at an age where they can cope with the pressure a little better. A thirteen-year-old is not going to have the same confidence as a sixteen-year-old, and it’s up to you as a parent to stop playground bullying in its tracks at the playground and not allow it to carry on at home.

Stranger Danger

Children are impressionable creatures, which means that if a kind person talks to them or offers them sweets, they are inclined to dive right in and accept the gift. When our children are playing out of sight, we want to be confident in the knowledge that they are able to say no to strangers and not get into that strange car. Children need to know their name, your name and their address as early as possible, so that if there is an emergency, they know how to get help and how to direct someone to them. Starting them young with the rules about dealing with strangers is not a bad decision to make, and if your child is under ten, they shouldn’t be without you in busy places. Children are not capable of making thought out decisions, even if they do seem incredibly smart. Your anxiety as a parent will shoot through the roof if you know your children are not at home and they are in a place you cannot reach them. Avoid this situation as much as possible.

Parental anxiety has a lot to answer for when your heart is beating hard in your chest and you feel afraid. The thing is, this anxiety is going to keep your children safe and well. Protecting your child is ingrained in your very heart and the veins connecting it. Saying no to your children in the name of safety should never invoke guilt – these are your babies. Their safety is the most important thing in the world.

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Being a mother is the hardest job in the world, and it’s not even a job. By definition, a job is something that you are remunerated for, and motherhood doesn’t come with material prizes. What it does come with is a very needy newborn baby that smells amazing. That coveted newborn baby turns your life upside down from day one. One moment you’re an independent woman doing exactly as you please with no one to be accountable for, and the next you are swimming in diapers and surviving on half an hour of sleep at a time. It’s the hardest thing any woman can do, and yet it’s the most rewarding, wonderful, amazing experience to go through. Coping with the changes to life, to your body, to your thinking and to your time is not always easy, and anyone who says it is, is kidding themselves. An experience so huge could never be an easy one; how could it be? Your entire life changes in a moment, and that’s bound to take some getting used to.

When you’re pregnant, you spend your time reading hungrily as much information as possible about being pregnant. When you approach the end game, you read as much as possible about labor and childbirth from all angles. When you give birth, you read as many books and articles as possible about raising a child and milestones. The problem with all this? Information overload! The books that you read, the articles you absorb and the blogs, social media posts, magazines and info graphics you take in all forget one thing: the baby hasn’t read them. This basically means that all the literature that you read means nothing, if your baby doesn’t do as they say. This information overload is not good for a hormonal new mother, as you can be made to feel bad about your choices. You can be made to feel guilty about the way you have chosen to raise your child. If you are a mom who is highly sensitive, this information overload can only cause more anxious thoughts to creep in, cause less sleep and more time to mull over how you could be doing it all wrong.

It’s time to take a step back, Mama. Take a step back, and recharge those batteries. You are raising babies, and those babies are not sleeping, are challenging and you can be often left feeling helpless with exhaustion. So, how can you learn to relax as a mother?

Stop Reading Everything

You need to put down those baby books and stop measuring your baby up to the expectations written within them. You don’t need all the information that the articles and books are giving you. What you need to do is know your baby and learn their routine and pattern. Shut down social media and get on the floor to play with your child.

Get Some Sleep!

Given the fact you’re a mother, this may seem like an alien concept. Rope in family and friends to help if you need to, and read about the best bedroom furniture from BestBedsBoutique.com here, so you can ensure your sleep space is perfect. The idea of snatching a decent block of sleep is a dream for most mothers, so whether you and your partner share the night shift or switch out for a decent length of sleep, you need to get something sorted. Give the baby to your partner or a trusted friend and get some shut eye in a comfy bed and a dark room.

Meditate

Trying to find five minutes for a hot drink is hard enough, but where you can, you should try to squeeze in five minutes per day meditating. We often run on auto-pilot and this always means being on the go at all times. Taking pause, closing your eyes and just breathing for a moment to slow the world down is the way to get through the exhaustion. It isn’t easy to listen to crying children or listen to the relentless cry of ‘mommy’ all day. You’re human; you’re allowed to feel overwhelmed and overstretched. Take a moment and just collect yourself. Sometimes, it’s all it takes to relax.

Wake Early

Your sleep may have been interrupted, but if your children are in a pattern where they wake at 7 a.m. each day, then set your alarm for an early rise. Once you do that, you can spend a couple of hours getting yourself ready for the day, enjoying a warm drink and having a hot shower in total peace and quiet. The gift of silence is not one that is often available to mothers, so take advantage and gear yourself up for the day.

Ask For Help

The one thing that you can do for you to help you recharge and take pause? Asking for help. No one around you is going to think less of you for saying that you are struggling. Asking people in your life for a helping hand doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you helpless or unable to cope as a parent. It makes you brave. Asking for a little break to be able to snatch some sleep, a shower or a meal makes you brave, because you are taking a moment to try to recharge your batteries and you are recognizing when things become overwhelming. You don’t have to be scared to ask for help.

Self-care is not always easy, nor is it top priority when you’re a parent. The people you put before yourself are the same people snatching your sleep out from underneath you and making you feel like you can’t manage on the tiny bit of rest you get. You are absolutely killing it as a parent and you should never doubt your ability to take on the tasks before you, because you are a mother and you are the strongest link for your family. Take a moment to rest – you deserve it.

 

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

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Today’s post is brought to you by pure frustration. I have given up so much of myself as a person since becoming a mom. I have given up sleep, exercise, privacy, and hot coffee to name a few. My little one will be 2-years-old in May and I don’t care if this sounds harsh, but I dislike this age very much.

My child is glued to me <literally> and what I mean by glued is: I wake up and she is attached to me from when I drink my coffee on the couch to when I try to eat my breakfast to when I use the restroom. She is at my side. She even insists on sitting on my lap when she eats – every time. I love her unconditionally but I cannot get a break, and I’m tired.

I have tried to be tough about it and not give into her demands. I have tried you guys, really tried. But I’m butt fucking tired! My husband always catches up on his sleep on the weekends since he works two jobs and guess what? Mama never gets to sleep in or have downtime unless I’m at work. And the one thing I refuse to give into is letting her sleep in our bed. I learned with my oldest if you have a young child in your bed – you never rest. And I cannot not rest and not have any bit of alone time during the day. Guess I choose my battles.

If I have to choose between sleep and eating, I guess sleep wins because I never get enough of it. I am writing this while she at the moment is sitting on my lap playing with her sister’s tablet. This is my downtime. She is not crying or demanding something, so I guess I’ll take it when I can get it.

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There is a question that lingers in my mind from time to time. A question I pray has a positive answer. At times, this question weighs on me. Especially on the days I feel like I’m literally losing my shit. Days when I ask myself, “What did I eat today?” Because I honestly cannot remember and yet somehow don’t feel hungry. Days when I look in the mirror and don’t recognize the person looking back. Those are the hard days. They are the days I often question myself, “Am I a good mother?”

Like most moms I know, I try my hardest to be a good role model for my kids. At times, I lose my cool and snap quicker; usually, it’s because my kids have taken what’s left of my energy reserves, or I’ve sat in an hour + commute, only to be met with tears when I make my way into the house. I can be inconsistent when it comes to discipline, and that’s usually based on how tired I am. This is bad, I know. I’ve read the books, I’ve listened to the pediatrician give me advice. None of that makes it easy, though. My kids have more energy in their little bodies than they know what to do with, which means they sometimes drive me up a wall. They get bored – often. My oldest will ask me to play Barbies with her and I cringe inside. Not because I don’t enjoy spending time with my daughter – I do! I absolutely do. But, Barbies are no fun at my age. I know how it all ends (sorry kid, but I do). And my daughter always makes me play Ken. I hate playing Ken.

If I don’t want to play dolls with my 5-year-old because I have a gazillion loads of laundry to do and dirty toilets to clean, does this make me a bad mom? I hope not.

There are so many mothers I know. And many mothers I follow on social media that are crafty, creative, and do cool shit with their kids. I feel like I fall in the middle of the spectrum with all that. I know it’s not right to compare myself with people I don’t know – but come on, I think we can all admit we do it. Does comparing myself to other moms make me a bad mom? I hope not.

I suppose others would name me a “helicopter” mom. I am aware this can have a negative impact on my children. I am aware my fears can become their fears. This is something I am working on. I never set out to be an overprotective mother, it’s not something I planned. My children carry my heart with them wherever they go. They are my world, and I try my damnedest to keep them out of harm’s way. Does this make me a bad mother? I hope not.

I watch other mothers with their kids and enjoy seeing the interactions. I like learning things from other mothers that I might’ve missed on my own. I get a little giddy when I am at Target and someone else’s child throws a tantrum, and thank God this time it wasn’t mine. It reminds me that my kids can be good in public, too. And I see how the mother handles the situation. Then Karma haunts me when we’re at a restaurant the same day and my children are acting like monkeys in a zoo, and the child across the way sits and eats – like human beings do at a restaurant. And I think to myself, “What do those parents do to get their child to be so good in a restaurant?” Because we never have much luck going out to eat. My kids don’t sit still for too long in restaurants, does this make me a bad mother? I hope not.

Mothers (and fathers) carry a heavy load. It’s damn near impossible to be a perfect parent. It’s OK to lose your shit every once in a while. As long as you get it back. Right? Hope so.

It’s OK to question yourself and not know the answer right away. Right? Hope fucking so.

It’s OK to get embarrassed when your kid is acting like an a**hole and you have to figure out a way (quickly) to keep it together. Right? Absolutely.

We are all just human beings raising tiny (crazy) human beings and trying are best at it. If you have to ask yourself, “Am I a good mother?” I bet you are.

If you show up and give it your all – you’re way better than you give yourself credit. Right? That’s what I tell myself anyway.

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