Becoming a parent involves a certain amount of sacrifice, there’s no doubt about that. But the “mom life” culture, while often hilarious, is a strange one — we’re often expected to put our children’s needs ahead of our own at all costs. But if you take some time to take care of yourself and do what you love, you’ll actually be a better mother in the long run.
We’re not suggesting you neglect your children or put them at risk, but do give yourself permission to take breaks and “be selfish” now and then. Here are a few of examples of scenarios where it’s perfectly acceptable to do just that.
When you need to exercise
A lot of moms give up their workout to focus on their kids, their careers, their marriages, and their homes. And while it may be unrealistic to spend hours and hours at the gym when you’ve got a busy life, the fact is, exercise makes you happier. Whether it’s a weekly yoga class or a 20-minute workout video in the basement, taking that time for yourself will keep you healthy in every way.
When you need help with housework
If you can afford it, there is absolutely nothing wrong with hiring a housekeeper — yes, even if you don’t work full-time. Having someone else clean your home, whether it’s weekly or just once a month for deep cleaning, frees up plenty of time you could be spending with your children (or relaxing).
When you’re sleep-deprived
One of the first lessons you learn as a parent is that sleep deprivation is the actual worst thing ever. When you’ve had enough and you need to rest, don’t be a hero. Leave the kids with your partner, a trusted family member, or even a hired babysitter. Then close your bedroom door and hit the pillow.
When you’re dying for a date night
Staying connected to your partner is very important, and sometimes it moves to the bottom of the priority list of parents with young children. The benefits of monthly date nights are real, so don’t have guilt about hiring a sitter or trading sitting services with a trusted friend.
When your career is important
Being a stay-at-home-parent is wonderful, but it’s just not for everyone. Some women develop careers before they have kids that they don’t want to (and shouldn’t have to) let go of. Some moms love their jobs and consider them part of their identity. If you want to, or have to work, that’s perfectly fine — you’ll find a way to make it all balance.
When you need a break
It is not selfish to want, and even need, some time away from your children. Taking the occasional break allows you to reconnect with yourself, recharge, and return to your life feeling refreshed and ready to parent. So go ahead, book a weekend getaway with your friends, and don’t feel guilty about it.
When you need to break ‘parenting rules’
It seems that the moment we announce our pregnancies, we’re bombarded with advice. Sleep train. Don’t sleep train. Breastfeed, but not “too long.” Never do this, always do that. Every child is different, and quite frankly, some rules are made to be broken. As long as your child is healthy and happy, there’s nothing wrong with doing things your own way.
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