Becoming a parent is a rewarding (and challenging) period in your life. As a new parent, your life is upended and centered on this brand new being. But while you’re caring for your child through diaper changes and feedings, who takes care of you? The answer is you.
Although it might feel noble to give up everything to raise a child, your life still matters. Raising a child is a labor of love. If you find yourself in need of a break or unable to accomplish the physical tasks required of you, then it’s time to start practicing self-care. Use these tips from SleeplessMom to do just that.
How to Turn Off Parenting When You’re Always On
Make Preparations When You Have Time
Once the baby is down, the night is yours. Maybe you want to catch up on your own sleep, or maybe you want to catch up on work or personal business instead. When you have a few hours to yourself, maximize it. Do activities that you enjoy or tasks that you need to do, such as finances or cooking. Binge-watch your favorite shows, prepare meals that you can reheat later, read a book, exercise, work, or invite a friend over.
Although you can do it on your own, you shouldn’t have to do it all. Few people have the time or patience to be a full-time parent, make a living, and keep the house in order. You might be lucky enough to have a nanny or relative to help you and your partner during this journey, or you might not have any help because it’s not a viable option.
It’s times like these that you should consider outsourcing help for things that you can’t do yourself. Whether it’s a babysitter for your kids or a house cleaner to tidy up the messes, you’ll save your sanity by letting someone else pick up the slack. Routine house cleanings typically cost between $140 and $170 per visit, which is a worthwhile expense considering it takes one item off your to-do list.
You might also consider hiring someone to help you keep your self-care routines on track. For example, a health specialist who can help with meal planning, exercise goals, or your overall wellness can help you build in time to focus on your most basic needs. If you can find space in your budget for this type of service, then you’ll find it much easier to get through those difficult parenting moments.
Sneak in the Little Moments
With diaper changes and feedings happening around the clock, sometimes the only time to get things done is during the baby’s naps. If you can keep your baby on a sleep schedule, then you can schedule in your own needs during those naps. Let’s say you have one hour of naptime to get things done, but you have three hours of work to get done today. Divide your workload into three mini sessions that you can attempt to squeeze in while the baby is sound asleep.
Naptime is also enough time to fit in important acts of self-care, whether it’s a workout, calling a loved one, online shopping, or reading a few chapters of a book. It could also be a time to wash your hair, give yourself a facial, or even don a full face of makeup just because you want to feel great.
You can also use naptime to take steps toward your work-life goals. For example, if you’re ready to start your own business. You can use your baby’s sleep time to start on your business plan or take care of other start up tasks outlined here by ZenBusiness, such as coming up with a name for your business, forming an LLC, applying for an EIN, and more. You’ll be surprised what you can accomplish in these short intervals of time!
Take Time Off
Never underestimate the healing effects of taking time for yourself. Having a baby doesn’t mean that you must be glued to your child 24/7. It’s normal to have someone else watch your child so you can take a break. Hire a babysitter for the evening so you can have a date night. Trade shifts with your partner so one of you can socialize with friends. Ask a relative to watch the kids while you take an overnight trip nearby. Even if it’s just a few hours to run errands by yourself, take that time to be alone when you can. Chances are you probably need the freedom and autonomy.
Your baby is a life changer in many ways, with some give and take. You get to experience love like no other — but you also experience sleep deprivation like no other. You get the joys of watching life grow — but you also put your own life on hold as your attention goes to another. You get to witness the “firsts” — but you also witness the struggles. You have to always be on, but sometimes it’s important to turn it off.
Guest Writer ~ Marissa Perez