Gather around me and listen closely my fellow parents, I’m going to tell you a story. It’s a legend about a mythical time when human beings could do things they enjoyed without munchkin screams shattering the peace. It was called me time. Yes, this does exist…
Seriously, time to yourself should not be a joke. It’s a hilarious thought… but should it be?
I think most parents believe they’re doing something wrong if they take five seconds for themselves. Like they are bad parents if they’re not doting on their child’s every whim and fancy. What is this actually doing to our children? What is this doing to us?
I went in search of answers to those particular questions and found some pretty shocking revelations. Turns out, me time is an essential part of being a GOOD parent. Take a look at what can happen if you don’t find time for yourself every once in a while.
What Is Me Time
Let’s get this straight first. Me time is NOT time spent hiding with a bag of Oreo’s because there were only a few and you didn’t want to share. It’s NOT spending five extra minutes in the bathroom because, for once, nobody is breaking down the door. It’s time you would spend doing something you enjoy doing without stress or anxiety.
Reasons Why Parents Need Time to Themselves
Depression in Parents
There’s no sound link between depression and a lack of me time, but logic suggests that parents who never take time to do things they enjoy may start to feel sad or unhappy. They may lose the desire to get out of bed in the morning because they feel like they don’t have anything to look forward to.
Lack of Adult Interaction
Before we had children — we had lunch with our friends, went shopping or talked on the phone for hours about nothing-in-particular. Now that we have kids — we avoid restaurants like the plague, live on a strict budget and, honestly, who has time for meaningless conversation anymore?
It’s common for people to pull away from their friends after having children, but social interaction is an important part of our daily lives. Children learn by watching the adults around them. When children watch their parents acting withdrawn and unsocial, they will learn the same behavior. Finding time to socialize with friends or family is important for both your mental health and your developing child.
Pushing Our Children Away
People almost instinctively seek out entertainment. We get addicted to our favorite shows or games and try to find little slices of time to indulgent in these things. Our children often prevent that from happening. Sometimes we push them off into other activities just so we can have a moment to ourselves, and when they have other plans, we get upset. This causes children to act out for attention. Nothing good comes from that …
Obviously, we would never purposely blame our children for something that was beyond their control. However, sometimes our brains have a mind of their own, and we feel resentment towards people even when they don’t deserve it.
If you give up everything you enjoy doing, you might subconsciously blame your children for the feelings that stem from that choice. It’s not their fault that being a parent is a full-time job, but our feelings are not always so rational.
Introduce Quiet Time Into the Agenda
Obviously, if your child attends school or daycare, you can find peace during the hours they are gone. However, it’s a good idea to start introducing the idea of “time alone” while your kids are still young. Besides saving your sanity, it teaches them independence and imagination when they have to engage in activities alone.
Set aside a small amount of time each day for “quiet time.” Make it understood that this is a time when both of you find something quiet to do. That doesn’t mean they have to disappear, and you may decide to include them in your activities from time to time.
It’s not a crime to want some time to yourself, and it doesn’t make you a bad parent. Spending every single moment of the day with a young child can be wonderful, but it is a job, and just like any job, we all need a break from time-to-time.
Take care of yourself so you can be your best for your babies.