Parenting; Making 'me' time.
The first two to three years of having your first child can go by in a blur. Sleepless nights, teething, toddlerhood, juggling parenthood with day to day tasks. Somehow it all seems to take over. Maybe you and your partner feel that you have been so busy coping with being new parents, that you have got out of the habit of having couple time. Or perhaps you are a single parent, who can't remember the last time you had a relaxing shower or soak in the bath without a little one for company. These realisations often start to creep when your child is between the ages of two and four, (but it’s ok if it’s sooner)! often along with a desire to start trying to get back a bit of 'me' or 'us' time.
If you are the main carer, who stays at home, it may be that you and your partner have got into a pattern of routine. It can often be assumed, that because someone is at home full time, and they have the whole day to do everything, that they don’t need support. When actually, just having your partner take care of your child for a short time before they go off to work, meaning that you can have your shower in peace, can be enough of a difference into how you will cope with your day. Or equally the same can apply in the evening, if you are a soak-in-the-bath kind of person.
Ask for and accept offers of help. This can be really hard for some new parents to do, as they often feel that they ‘should’ be coping with everything, and asking for help will reflect on their skills as a parent. Frequently parents can be very good at offering to help others; looking after their toddler while mum gets her hair done or goes to the Doctors for example, but not so good at accepting help, so that perhaps they can just go and get some shopping on their own. Look at how you are with others. Are you always offering to help out other parents? Time to be as caring towards yourself. If it helps, think about the fact that others may well be more likely to accept your offers of help, if they feel that they can return the favour.
The same applies to getting back some couple time. Utilise any offers of help from friends and family, even if it’s just so that you pop out for a coffee together for an hour. Add to this a trip out once a month for a film or a meal, and you will find yourselves starting to re-connect again, on a level other than as parents.
However much you love your child, it’s OK to start wanting to get some time back for you. Whether that means looking at going back to work, or just having a shower in peace!
Counselling sessions can be a good place to start; just to start working through some of the things you may be feeling, without any fear of judgment.
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