When we become parents we learn the true meaning of being proud. A large percentage of our time is spent admiring our children, poking them (just to check, not only that they really exist, but that they are still breathing) and feeling a deep sense of satisfaction that we have created an absolutely incredible person destined for success in this difficult world. Admittedly our sense of achievement does seem to drop significantly when they are throwing themselves on the floor in public. Then we question whether they will ever survive in the world without us!
But how often do we take the time to be proud of ourselves, for our efforts and our achievements, however big and small? We are often very tough on ourselves and critical about what we are doing. How many times have you thought yelling at your child will scar them for life? Chances are it didn’t and they will be just fine. After all, no matter what we do, it’s got to be expected at some point they will think we ruined their life!
Shortly after the birth of my second child, my whole routine was completely thrown out of sync. What had been an organised life tipped right over. I knew deep down, that just as before it wouldn’t be for long, which helped when I was knee deep in dirty nappies, comforting a screaming baby and helping a toddler onto the toilet (which was progress…afterall he’d stopped pooing over the floor). But as expected life has become slightly less hectic and finding just a little time to myself in our busy day is appearing. So recently I took that step to be proud of myself. I took the time to spend a few hours doing something for myself. Yes me!
It wasn’t easy, after waking at 5.30am to feed my baby, shortly followed by the pitter patter of my toddler’s feet which bunny hopped right into my bed, I just wanted to shift all responsibility to my husband for a while and catch up on some sleep. I wanted to lounge around in my bed just like I used to after an all-nighter! My heart strings were really pulled as I got ready. A little voice called me from my bed, as I looked over I could see my toddler with his beaming smile and big eyes out over the duvet, insisting that I didn’t need to ride my bike today. At that point it was really hard to accept that what I was going to do was ok. I had agreed to join a group of cyclists to explore the surrounding countryside and that meant taking a few hours away from the whole family just for myself. I felt like I was being selfish, abandoning the family to concentrate on an activity I enjoyed.
The truth is, I needed to do something for myself for a short time. So after explaining that I would be back, I took off out the door, feeling nervous and apprehensive. But 50kms later and 3 hours of the wind running through my hair and a few laughs, I knew I had done the right thing. Although I couldn’t move for most of the day I felt so good inside, I was proud that I had taken the steps to find some time for myself and wow did I feel better for it.
So in those early years whether its taking a moment to go to the gym, to the hairdressers or just spending some time alone doing something you love, do it and be proud and remember small steps lead to big accomplishments!
If you are ever in doubt, remember the below:
Don’t set your expectations too high
Be realistic. For example, if you set the goal you are going to go the gym 3/4 times week, accept if might not be doable and some days you just aren’t going to make it. If you realistically set your expectations you won’t feel like your failing when you don’t make it.
Try not to feel guilty about leaving the children
It isn’t selfish. They won’t be scarred for life. In all honesty they will probably benefit from some time away, whether its to bond with Dad a bit more, or be spoilt by someone else who loves them dearly.
It will save your sanity
There are days when parenting is just plain crazy! Taking that time out will allow you to reset and compose yourself. As hard as it is, try not to spend too much of it reflecting on whether you are doing a good job as a parent or not. We need to be kind to ourselves. Allow yourself 30 minutes (at the very least!) to think about something that isn’t the kids. I focused on what I really wanted and I know I’m steps closer benefiting from the opportunity to focus and realign myself.
You will feel better for it
Remember, the chances are you are likely to feel a lot better just by taking a little time out and investing in your own well being.
Come back ready and refreshed to rock their world
You will rock their world no matter what you do, but taking time out means you rock with enthusiasm and all guns ablazing. The chances are if you’ve been out you will not be able to wash or go to the toilet alone for a while, but it will be fine, you have had your time.
Parenting is a non stop job, which is incredibly rewarding, but there is no denying that it is tiring for all of us at times. Taking a short period to ourselves, reminds us of who we are and what we want in life. It is ok for us to still have our dreams and goals, take that time alone to re focus and nuture yourself as a person and #beproud of what you have achieved.