Being a parent is the most rewarding job in the world (I know everyone says this, but it’s true!), but it’s also one of the most thankless and exhausting jobs in the world as well. There is no other job that requires you to be on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and that alone is enough to wear anyone out.
With such demanding little “bosses” it is important to find ways to recharge so that we don’t get burnt out. Finding ways to take a little time for yourself will make everyone happier – baby included – and help you be the best parent you can be.
Here are 10 ways you can recharge your “parenting batteries”…
1. Schedule yourself in
Just as you would schedule in a time to have coffee with a friend or a time to go to the gym, schedule in time for yourself. Use your time however you like – it can be used for something big or something small, but simply making yourself a priority is the first step.
2. Get away for a short time
Go to coffee, have a girl’s night, or even just take 30 minutes to have some iced tea on your back porch in the summer time. A simple change in scenery and time to take a deep breath can do wonders for your attitude toward parenting.
3. Get away for a bit longer
If you can swing it, send your little ones over to the grandparent’s or a good friend’s house for the evening and just enjoy the peace and quiet of your own home. You don’t even have to do anything exciting. Maybe just order take out and watch a movie, but it will be wonderful nonetheless and by the time your littles return you’ll probably even miss them!
4. Do something novel
Take a new class at the gym, or try a new shade of lipstick, rock a pair of heeled ankle booties – trying something new can be fun and can inject life into a daily routine that has become stale. Especially if you are a stay-at-home parent, it can be easy to fall into a rut of doing the exact same things day after day. A little bit of novelty will go a long way.
5. Do something to pamper yourself
Treat yourself to a spa day or even just give yourself an at-home manicure, but whatever it is, make sure it is something that leaves you feeling truly pampered.
6. Treat yourself
Buy that bag you’ve been eyeing or have a scoop of triple fudge chunk ice cream, whatever it may be, so long as it feels fun and special.
7. Don’t be afraid to say “No”
I am the queen of overcommitment and have such a hard time saying no to people, but it often leaves me feeling overextended and exhausted. Lately I’ve been learning to say no and it’s made a big difference in my entire outlook on life. Less stress = a happier parent.
8. Try out role reversal
Are you usual the meal planner while your partner is on dish duty? It’s easy to fall into certain roles and over time grow to get burnt out with the tasks we’ve taken on. Something as simple as switching up your day to day chores can liven things up and give you a fresh perspective.
9. Throw out your to-do list
I don’t know about you, but there are days when my “to-do” list seems like it’s ten miles long and even though I know there’s no possible way I could ever complete everything on the list, I continue to look at it and stress out about it all throughout the day. Recently though, I’ve taken to just throwing out the to-do list when it gets to overwhelming. That’s not to say that it’s ok to shirk your responsibilities, but sometimes we overburden ourselves with things that don’t really matter. Do the windows really need to be washed every week? Meh…probably not. Let some things go and you’ll be happier for it.
10. Take the time for fun
Sometimes it’s easy to get into task-master parent mode: “bath time routine, meal time routine, bed time routine…” It’s easy to fall into the trap of doing all the daily tasks, but forgetting to stop and truly spend time with your children – actual time where you’re not meeting their basic needs or helping them get tasks completed. Lay down on the floor and play cards with your child, stop to sing a song, walk to the park, swing on a swing, give them a snuggle. When your children are grown they won’t remember all the gourmet meals you made for them, but they will remember the times you spent together and you’ll feel more refreshed when you refocus on the little things that really matter.
How do you recharge your parenting batteries?
Lauren Hartmann is the founder of The Little Things We Do, a blog about life and adventures in Portland Oregon. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram or catch up on all of her posts here on Babble.
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