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How To Accept Prioritizing Yourself as a Parent Without Feeling Guilty

How To Accept Prioritizing Yourself as a Parent Without Feeling Guilty

Silvia Garcia

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First-time parents often forget that they are also persons, especially in the first months of their child. Suddenly it’s as if everything revolves around the little ones. Hobbies, friendships, and social life are entirely left out. This full-time dedication can even affect your productivity at work.

The kids will always want you for themselves – something that can last into their teens! But you also need to set aside some time for yourself while still fulfilling your duties as a parent. That is, keep going to the gym or playing sports with friends every now or then, take a weekend to do what you like, and even go back to practicing a hobby that you were forced to give up when the child was born.

Being a present parent is essential, but that does not mean you can’t take time for yourself, to recharge your batteries. Let’s look at some tips to be a parent and also an individual without going crazy.

All Parents are People First

It is easy to lose yourself as a person when you become a parent. After all, the responsibilities and shifting priorities can contribute to one feeling like they’ve disconnected from their life before having kids.

But we all have certain needs to be fulfilled. They can be physical needs (to fight a sedentary lifestyle, for example), the need for some social contact with other people, and all those emotional needs that are good for our mental health (such as to feel loved). When you fail to fulfill one or more of these needs, the result is exhaustion, stress, frustration, etc.

To prevent the situation from evolving into something worst, you need to assess how your life is now and how many of your individual needs you are fulfilling. If you are in debt to any of them, start evaluating how you can solve it, even if you need to ask someone for help (your spouse, family, friends, even some childcare assistance or babysitter).

Priorities and Parenting

You can be a role-model parent while also caring for your personal needs and interests. If you’re struggling to find time for both roles, use these strategies to better balance personal desires and being a responsible parent.

Age-Appropriate

Parents can maintain the hobbies they enjoy with their kids, as long as the activities are age-appropriate and safe.

Weather Protection

Evaluate small examples such as the child dressing appropriately for the weather outside, being careful when crossing the street, wearing sunscreen outdoors and kids’ glasses designed to protect their eyes and also make it easier to keep on and actually enjoy using.  

Keep Them Busy

Give kids little jobs/tasks to keep them busy or occupied while you get time to yourself. You can also turn this into a kind of game with a symbolic prize at the end.

Follow a Schedule

Set a schedule for your kids to ensure that they wake up, take naps, and go to bed at the same time. That way you can make room in the day for yourself.

House Rules

Establish limits and house rules to keep your kids busy and leave more time for you to do your things. For example, they will not play with you until their homework is done.

Personal Space

Establish a space in the house that is yours alone and where your children should not disturb you except in emergencies. It could be an armchair, corner of the room, or office where you should be left alone.

Saying No

Learn to say “no” and set limits and personal boundaries, but without being a tyrant.

Ask for Help

Whenever you feel you need some personal time away from the kids, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Prioritizing Personal Needs

Talk to someone (family, friends, or even a professional) about prioritizing yourself outside of being a parent. That way you learn to reduce the guilt for not being around as much if personal wants take precedence sometimes.

Family Demands x Individual Needs

We all want to be perfect parents – to emulate our parents or to try to be better than they were. But this is simply impossible. Parenting is a mission with ups and downs; no matter how hard you dedicate yourself to it, there will always be time to do more.

So you need to pay attention to those areas that matter most and be there during your children’s lives, especially in those moments when they need it most. But learn how to take a break to dedicate yourself to other things that will make you equally happy.

Making time just for yourself doesn’t mean being selfish. On the contrary, it’s worrying about your well-being to ensure that you will be by your children’s side, whenever they need you, for a long time.

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