To all those out there with babies or young kids, raise your hand if you’ve reached the stage where you’ve given up on making an effort to eat healthily and exercise regularly? Where you will leave the house in what many would deem pyjamas, complete with a greasy top knot? If your own hobbies and interests have been replaced by finding the best nappy prices, driving the kids from one extra mural to another, and cutting chewing gum out of your five-year-old’s hair – again!
As moms, I’m sure most us have experienced all of the above. Having a newborn is the most challenging job on earth – or so we think. However, being a parent to multiple kids has got to take the cake. Let’s get real – where are we supposed to find the time and energy to look after ourselves?
You may be wondering why caring for yourself is so important. Little people notice and absorb so much more than we realise. As parents, we need to be healthy role models to them so that when they mirror us, we don’t regret the choices we’ve made.
Parenting is tough, and sometimes we need an hour or two during the week to reboot our emotional systems – time to put our feet up without any distraction, to eat well, exercise, catch up on our social lives and to invest in our relationships with our partners. The biggest mistake that we make is feeling guilty about doing these things. For some reason, we work ourselves up to believing that taking time out will mean we’re bad mothers but, really, it’s the exact opposite!
Parenting is a job. A 24-hour, full-time job. We don’t get to escape it on weekends, after 17:00 or on public holidays. Unlike a general office job, we’re always on call. Think of taking time out for yourself as ‘taking leave’. We need to energise and to reboot emotionally – to catch up on our friendships and relationships. This is what will literally keep you sane. It’ll also help you realise that there are hundreds of thousands of parents around the world who are going through the exact same things as you are.
If this article hits home for you, pick up the phone and organise a babysitter, arrange a dinner date with your other half or hang out with a friend. Lace up your running shoes (which are most likely starting to get dusty), and go for a jog. Make better choices when you’re next at the grocery store so you can make your desire to eat healthily a reality. And love yourself by taking time out for yourself. Your kids will be there when you get home – just the same as when you left them. However, you’ll return as a brand new version of yourself! ‘Me-time’ really fuels your Super Mom powers. Making the effort to make it happen is really worth it… and you are worth it.
By Lisa Harrison