If you want to take care of your children, moms need to take care of themselves first. Moms need some time alone to rejuvenate, not think about parenting, and to avoid a parenting burnout.
Many moms feel a sense of relief, of calm, or even of gratitude when their children aren’t around. But there is another emotion that some of us feel as well and that is a sense of guilt. Some moms feel guilty when they feel such a sense of relief when their children start school in the fall, visit the grand-parents, or go off to camp. But as parents, we shouldn’t feel guilty. Being a parent is hard work and we all need a break every now and then.
Being a parent today is harder than ever before. Society is changing so fast and we constantly have to be worried about societal dangers waiting to face our children. Some children are also involved in more extracurricular activities than when we were growing up. Add children’s activities to parents’ busy work schedules and you undoubtedly have stressed out parents. What really matters is how we treat our children when they are with us!
Some parents fail to realize that successful parenting is about the quality time we spend with our children and not the quantity of time. Instead of moms feeling guilty for being relieved as soon as their children walk out the door, they should enjoy their time alone and use it as rejuvenation time. By getting that much needed break from parental responsibility, we are able to become refreshed and that will have a positive effect on quality time we spend with our children we then return home to us.
Why moms should take time for themselves
Moms also need to realize that their children will benefit from this time apart as well. Our children don’t need to be with us to learn and explore their world around them. They can learn and laugh and have fun when they are away from us just as well as when they are with us. Time apart from parents often increases children’s senses of independence and greatly improves their behaviour upon returning home, because they too need a break from us just as we need our break from them.
Why Moms Need Alone Time
Children will take up as much time as a parent will give them, so it’s vital that a parent sets aside time to recharge and unwind to be the best parent one can be.
Being a single mom can be hard, and it can be even harder to get time to oneself. But, as the parent, it’s important to set some time aside that is free of children, not only for sanity’s sake, but to role model for one’s children that a healthy lifestyle means taking some “me” time. Here are some tips for making alone time a regular part of a parent’s life.
Have Set Alone Time Everyday
When a baby is taking a nap is a good time to take time out for oneself, although in the early stages, a parent may be sleeping as well! As a child gets older and loses his naps, a parent can use that time as quiet time where the child can read or play in his room for a half hour to an hour depending on his age and temperament. The earlier a mom starts “alone time” and makes it part of the daily routine, the easier it will be for a child to accept it. It also teaches a child an important skill, which is learning how to play and fill his time on his own.
Explain the Importance of Alone Time
If the idea of “alone time” is new, talk to the child about how it’s important for the child to learn to “use his creative juices” to fill his free time. Make it sound exciting by explaining he gets to do whatever he wants (within reason of course!) with his time and he has the power to decide what games or toys he wants to play with. Talk about how it’s important for a parent to have time alone to think and do things that are needed for the parent to be a happy and functioning person. Explain how everyone wins when the parent is in a good and happy space.
Take Time to Do Something for Oneself
It can be tempting for a mom to use free time to do laundry, the dishes or other chores around the house. Resist the urge! Let the laundry sit and the dishes will be fine for a little while longer. A parent should spend the time on enjoyable and recharging activities. It can be simple things like watching a favourite TV program, reading a book, knitting, painting or listening to relaxing music. A mom could do something more active like a workout or yoga video, gardening or even dancing to one’s favourite dance tunes. Whatever brings a little joy to a parent’s life that is a healthy and fun thing to do, so make sure to make time for it on a daily basis.
A mom needs some “me” time everyday for at least a half an hour. Make it an established part of the family routine, and if it is a new idea, take time to explain to the children why it is important to have alone time. Chores will always be ready and waiting, so resist the temptation to use free time to clean up. Do something that is enjoyable, fun and/or relaxing and just go with it!
So go ahead and enjoy time to yourself when the opportunity arises and don’t feel guilty about it. Your children don’t feel guilty about being away from you. Take this much needed time to indulge in your favourite hobby, to go on a mom’s night out, or enjoy time with your spouse. Upon returning home, most likely your children will notice that you seem different; more relaxed and happier. And that will strengthen the bond between you and your children so much so that you will relish time alone in the future without the tremendous feeling of guilt.