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I believe parenting in the modern world is a hard task. It is an almost constant point of worry or stress. Here are just a few reason why…
- We don’t have the village to help. Less and less there is a community surrounding us to help.
- We often find both parents work. Leaving all the chores and house management to be forced into the limited free time, along with all the other things we want to be doing.
- We have to contend with a long list of modern risks and issues in protecting and raising happy children. Whether it is social media or levels of crime.
- We are constantly bombarded with external information setting expectations around how we parent.
For all these reasons and more we can easily get lost in a world of parenting and forget who we are, or see an impact to our mental health.
There is a ton of expectation and advice thrown in our faces about how kids need our time. Don’t get me wrong time with our kids is essential but it needs to be balanced with happiness. If it makes you truly happy to spend all of your time with your children do. If you find your happiness is less than it could be, perhaps you need some time, just on you.
With my first child…
I would spend every waking minute with her, I would take her to the kitchen when I was cooking, sit her in a baby bouncer in the bathroom when I showered and carry her in a sling around the flat when I had to clean. I would take her everywhere with me. I wouldn’t let her out of my sight.
I expect part of the reason was that she never took to a bottle. The one time I tried to go out to an exercise class I came home to a baby screaming her eyes out. I was heart broken. I felt like I had left her to starve.
That coupled with the general expectation that I was a mum now and my life should focus around her was enough that for the next 12months she never left my side.
Being honest it was hard going. On top of the usual struggles of becoming a parent I felt a massive pressure from someone being so dependent on me. Yes of course I also loved all the cuddles and the time together. However when I had to go back to work I was ready.
Since having my second I have learnt a lot, here are some of the things I have learnt parenting is not about….
About giving up on your dreams.
To be fair I gave up on my dreams long before having children. My children helped me find them again. Still I see so many of us set aside our dreams in pursuit of being the perfect parent.
Having dreams is part of being a great parent, it shows our children they can have dreams too. That they should strive for makes them happy.
Taking no time for yourself
Yes time means a lot to our kids. As someone who has no more time to spend with either of my parents I know how important it is. And yet I also know how important time for me is.
It allows us to recharge, to come back better, to invest more in our children. It sets an example for them that it is healthy and important to look after you.
Always putting someone else first
This is an interesting one. In relationships throughout my life I have taught the importance of putting someone else first. In fact I remember being told over and over…You must learn to put someone else first. Your relationship won’t last unless you put them first. Love is putting someone ahead of yourself. Love is always putting someone else’s needs before your own.
I have tried this and at least for me it does not work. Yes I can’t always come first. Sometimes I need to and in fact enjoy considering the children or my partner ahead of myself. But when I tried to do this all the time I lost myself. I failed to be me and actually I stopped being parts of the person my husband fell in love with.
Now I try to recognise those times I need a little space, focus, care for me. And guess what I am better in all my relationships for it.
I would give anything for these pair, except for myself, because without me where would they be then?
I hope you find time to focus on you and what you need so you can better support those around you.