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Enjoying Your Time Without The Kids, Guilt-Free

After spending hours, days, weeks, months and years of tending to the needs of children, parents can start to lose the wind in their sail. Raising children full-time can be exhausting, to say the least. Some days are better than others, but most days present new challenges to overcome. As a Parent Coach, a Wife and a Mother, I fully understand the different emotions that so many parents experience, and why. I am a loving parent who adores my son. I appreciate the different adventures that raising him bring. Absolutely no one or nothing can bring me joy the way my baby does. From his bright smile, to his enthusiastic nature, to his energetic spirit, my lovely bundle of joy has brought me more happiness than I could have ever imagined. Conversely, with all of his love and enthusiastic energy, MAMA GETS TIRED!

I recently came to the realization that I had not taken much time away from my son since his birth. With the exception of a few appointments, my regular trips to the grocery store and a few dates with babe, my son and I have been inseparable. Don’t get me wrong-being with him is always a joyous experience. My baby’s presence is infectious. He always gets me through life’s most difficult times. Still, the fact remained that I was not spending enough time away from him. Through this realization, I decided that it was time for some major self-reflection and shift in focus. I needed to examine my state of being so I could get to the root of my parental challenge, which was mother/child separation. Why had I gone so long without taking a break from my son? Did I not trust him with a caretaker? Was I nervous that an emergency would arise in my absence? Was I just not ready to separate from my baby? NOPE. None of the above, Alex. I simply FORGOT to take care of myself.

As a full-time mother and entrepreneur, finding personal time can be a challenge, albeit extremely important. Lack of self-care can lead to neglect, frustration and resentment- none of which I enjoyed. It was time to take personal inventory in order to begin living a fuller life. This past weekend, my husband and I decided it was time to go on our first “baecation”, since having our son. He encouraged me to prioritize my own happiness, and this time I happily obliged. My husband helped me to realize how much I had been outsourcing the best parts of myself to everyone else. Man, was I exhausted! I love seeing the beautiful smile of my baby boy and tending to his every need. I take pleasure in providing for my husband’s needs, too. I also love coaching parents and serving my community. Still, it was time I became more considerate of my own needs.

It makes me feel good when my man knows what is best for our family. I appreciate it when he demonstrates authority out of necessity for his loved ones. I could not have been happier at the outcome of our impromptu getaway. We were able to drive freely without any interruptions or distractions. Cruising to the sounds of loud music without being concerned with busting our baby’s ear drums was refreshing. The absence of a crying baby, who HATED being confined in his carseat was more than I could have asked for. There was no baby in sight, no anxiety to meet his needs, and it felt great! I was comforted knowing that my son was in good hands. My husband helped me to remember how much my happiness mattered. Through experiencing this parenting challenge, I was able to search within myself in order to regain control of my life. I said yes to extreme self-care, and the rest is gravy, Baby.

Somethings I learned about waiting too long to step away from mommy duties are:

SELF-CARE IS KEY
Let’s face it. Parents, especially mothers give everything to everyone, ALL.THE.TIME. It’s no wonder folks think we are crazy! Parents will greatly benefit by consistently building relationships with themselves and with one another other. This can be done by engaging in daily self-care practices. These practices can include making time every night for a warm bath, engaging in quiet time throughout the day, taking daily walks, breathing deeply or simply expressing appreciation for ourselves.

AVOID BECOMING ACCUSTOMED TO THE BURN OUT
Taking periodic breaks from my son will help to renew my energy. Asking others to step in and help before becoming overwhelmed will help to keep my stress levels down. By maintaining open lines of communication with my husband, my family and friends, I will be able to maintain the level of support I need when it is time to take a mommy break.

CHANGE THE SCENERY
Monotony can definitely set in after starting a family. While predictability can be reassuring, it can definitely take the fire out of a relationship. Sometimes, parents need to take risks with one another. Ditch the schedule and just go with it. During our drive out of town, my husband and I immediately felt more connected to one another. The change of pace left us both feeling thankful for the other person.

LET GO OF THE MOMMY GUILT
I decided not to become consumed with the opinions of those who disagree with my self-care practices. PERIOD. Parents, you do not have to explain to others, your need to take a break from your children. No one works a job 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days per year. WHY SHOULD YOU? Take a break, Parents. TAKE LOTS OF THEM! Taking care of a family does NOT equate to losing sight of your individual needs and self-worth. So long as the needs of your loved ones are consistently being met, feel free to do whatever makes you happy.

Peace of Mind: The New Normal For Parents

Her days were consumed with a sink full of dirty dishes, soiled laundry piled up to the ceiling, an energetic toddler, animals in constant need of affection, bills that were piling up and a hubby who needed his fair share of attention. “EVERYTHING IS GREAT!”, were my client’s words during our initial coaching session. I knew right away she was in distress; after all, she called upon me for help. Chaos and stress had become her new normal. There seemed to be absolutely no time for this stay-at-home mom to catch her breath.

I often wonder how much more alive full-time parents would feel if they could dedicate personal time to themselves. I chuckle when I hear others express how easy they believe it is to be a stay-at-home-parent. While stay-at-home parents are fortunate to be able raise their children by their own standards, THEY STILL NEED HELP! Being a full-time parent is exactly that..FULL-TIME!

The average stay-at-home parent does not have the luxury of taking breaks throughout the day. There is no supervisor to whom they can report their child when he/she refuses to take a nap. Parents cannot call Human Resources and ask them to take away their child’s play-time privileges whenever he/she chooses not to eat the wonderful veggies you pureed. Instead, stay-at-home parents can use these five helpful tips that are sure to help ease some of the pressures of parenting.

1- PUT YOURSELF FIRST
The moment you realize that your family members are happier when you take care of yourself, the easier it will become for you to implement a daily self-care practice. Wake up earlier than everyone and take some time to be alone before the house erupts. Sign up for a class that you’ve been wanting to take. Take yourself to dinner and a movie once per month. Start researching that new business you’ve been thinking about. Whatever you decide, do it for YOU.

2- LIVE IN THE MOMENT
It is hard for parents to stay in the moment; however, it is important to remember that there is no reward gained from worrying over the things we cannot change, nor is there a reward gained from obsessing over the things that have yet to happen. Try to remain focused on life’s most precious moments, which are happening now. You will start to appreciate life more.

3-DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
Remember to take it easy on yourself when things do not go the way you planned. You are doing the best job that you can, so be gentle with yourself. How do you expect others to take it easy on you when you cannot do the same?

4- PRIORITIZE YOUR TIME
Understand that someone or something will ALWAYS get the short end of the stick. It is impossible to be all things to all people at all times. Remember to first take care of the things that are most important to you; those who love you most will understand this.

5- COMMUNICATE YOUR NEEDS TO LOVED ONES
Involve your community of family, friends and neighbors whenever you need a break. Do not feel embarrassed when you need help. Waiting until your pot has boiled over can be dangerous. There is absolutely no victory is struggling in silence; none of us can survive parenting alone.

Deciding to make ourselves a priority can make many parents uncomfortable. With only twenty-four hours in a day, many of us are feeling the pressure of getting it all done. How can we expect parents to manage it all, AND take time for themselves? While I am sure it may seem impossible to do, I can assure you that there are many ways for parents to achieve this goal. Let’s get creative!

Self-Care: The Road Map to Personal Happiness

Self-care is missing from the lives of so many devoted mothers and fathers. As a Parent Coach, I have discovered that many parents are struggling to find the time to take personal care of themselves. It seems as though feeling drained is becoming more prevalent in their conversations. So many moms and dads feel a great deal of pressure when they are faced with having to put their own needs ahead of others. Some cannot remember the last time they spent time alone or spent time doing the things they love.

As parents, we spend our every waking moment thinking about ways to make our family members’ lives easier. Far too often, we do not add ourselves to this important list. Consequently, we are left feeling depleted of energy and disconnected from the person we should love the most-ourselves. Why is there such extreme guilt when parents are faced with parental self-care? How much longer must they suffer in silence? The big question remains…How can parents effectively parent if they cannot find the time to nurture themselves?

Simply put, parents need time to refuel and reenergize. Implementing daily self-care practices does not have to be a daunting task. For moms and dads who are eager to take time for themselves, starting small is key to their success. The goal is to make yourself a priority each and everyday, in whatever way you can. I always ask my clients a series of questions to help them find the energy that they so desperately seek:

1- Where in your life can you free yourself of negative energy?
2-Are there people, places and things that no longer serve you? If so, can you remove those negative people, places and things, and replace them with the things that fuel you?
3- Are there friends or family members who you call on to support your efforts in self-care?
4- Can you use your environment as a platform to engage in self-care?
5- Are there any spiritual practices that you would like to engage in?

Whatever you decide, be creative! There are no limits to taking good care of yourself. The key is to identify the need to reenergize and start taking the initiative to do so. If you are still unsure of where to begin, sit quietly alone and reflect on the things that bring a smile to your face. Make sure those things serve YOU! Be careful not to fall into the routine of making the joy of others the only way you reenergize yourself. Imagine what would happen if you were on an airplane and were forced to put on your child’s oxygen mask before your own. Your inability to rescue yourself first may cost you and others more in the end.

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