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Enjoy being a parent as much as you can, but relax as well.
All too often we hear about parents who are so burnt out from parenting that they’re ready to give it all up. They’re sick of being a parent all the time, and they simply want to be done with it all. If you find yourself in this situation, then you need to take a step back and figure out what really matters in life and how you can find a balance between parenting and taking care of yourself - it may save your family.
Being a parent is a lot of work. You’re responsible for the well-being of another human being, and you have the job of safely guiding them into adulthood. There’s no question that parenting can be a huge drain morally and emotionally on a person. While parenting can absolutely be very rewarding, it is also likely to be one of the hardest things you will do in your life - don’t expect a cake walk.
Too many people go into parenting without this realization. They simply hear or see about the good parts of parenting, and they think that the good will far outweigh the bad. Unfortunately, for many that is not the case. Losing your free time, being sleep deprived, and having to deal with someone that never listens will drain you. Be prepared to have many long and hard days while being a parent.
In order to survive the grind, you have to find a balance between engaging with your child in a meaningful way and spending time on yourself. There’s no question that you should give as much as you can to your child - they will realize if you’re a disengaged parent and if you simply don’t care. However, if you never take time for yourself, you’ll also come to a place where you no longer care either.
Spend time on things that you enjoy doing. Relax at least twice a week for 30 minutes. If you’re not spending that much time doing something that you truly enjoy, outside of parenting, you’re going to burn yourself out. An hour a week is the minimum you should be spending on yourself. More ideally, you’re spending 30 minutes a day doing things that you want to do that don’t involve having to be a parent.
This will be much easier for some people. Namely, if you have two engaged parents, finding 30 minutes per day to yourself should be relatively easy. One parent can watch the child while the other relaxes and does something they want. Both parents should get a turn, so don’t plan to take a bunch of time to yourself without letting the other parent also have a break for parenting as well.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of scenarios where this isn’t realistic. Whether you’re a single parent, or your partner simply won’t take care of the child alone, you’ll have to get a little more creative. Don’t be afraid to look to friends and family for help a couple of times a week. Similarly, putting something on for your child to watch while you do something you want is an option that you should consider, even if you don’t like your child watching screens.
Take time for yourself while being a parent. Be engaged with your child, and be a great parent, but don’t forget to take care of yourself as well.