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It is extremely important to take care of yourself when you become a parent. Nurturing your unique self becomes quite the struggle once you become a new Mom or Dad, but there are ways you can connect with yourself; spiritually, mentally and physically. When we become parents, we tend to put our personal needs, goals, and dreams on the back burner.
What we need to realize is that we can only be a successful parent to our children if we nurture ourselves along the way. Children don't want a parent that is exhausted, depressed, or stressed out. They want you to be happy within your own life as it contributes to their daily family experience.
The more you remember who you were before you had kids and realize that you are still that individual, the happier your home life and children will be. Here are some true blue ways to take care of your own needs during the great lifelong journey of parenting.
Keep Up with Your Fitness Regime
If you used to go to the gym three times a week or go for daily runs, keep doing it after having children. Too many new parents put their lives on pause once their little one arrives and this could present a big problem. Before having my son, my husband and I said we would always keep up with our regular lives and do things like going to our gym (which has child minding services) and taking long hikes and strolls. We kept our promise to ourselves and we were back into exercising within two months after our baby arrived.
Take a Mental Escape
It isn't easy to find time for yourself anymore, away from your kids, where you can work through challenging thoughts, problems or take time for reflection. Let's face it, being a parent means busy, busy, busy. However, if you stop what you are doing for a few minutes a day, you might be able to keep your sanity. Simply stop what you are doing and breathe in deep and exhale. Try to do this a few times before resuming normal activities. Put your kids in a safe area and lie down on the bed or couch for a few minutes. We must keep our mental self safe and protected, which means taking time for mental rest and rejuvenation every now and then.
Do Something You Love
Remember when you used to play the piano, sing, or paint? Believe it or not, you can still do what you love! This is where baby wearing and playpens come in handy. Keep your little one close and include them in the experience. If they are older, you can set them up with their own paints while you work on a masterpiece, or you can just let them enjoy your piano playing and singing. Don't stop doing what you love when you have children, let them see you happy and enjoying what you are passionate about in life.
Spend Time with Old Friends
One thing that can always bring us back to our unique selves is spending time with an old friend that has known us since we were young. Talking about memories and re-connecting with the person you were before having kids can be truly beneficial for you. No one knows you the same way that the friends you had when you were teenagers or in your 20s do. It can also give you great confidence as a new parent to be reminded of the various challenges you have overcome in your life and to be reminded of your accomplishments. Lifelong friends are great for that!
How do you connect with your unique "before-the-kids" self? We would love to hear!