Why I’m a better mom when I have time away from my son!
Yes, scroll up and read that again.
This may not be the reality for all of you parents, but it is for me. Time away is vital.
What does this mean and why is it important?
For some of you reading this, you may love every waking moment you spend with your child. I consider you unicorn parents and would love to know your secret!
But for me and so many others; the little breaks away, the time for ourselves, our passions, our work, etc. relights my fire that allows me to be MORE present for Ryaan when I am able to spend time with him. You will hear me talk about the importance of quality time versus quantity of time with our kids. You see, our kids sense when we are mentally not there. when our mind is thinking of a thousand other things. How can we not when parenthood and life (especially now in a pandemic), has such a heavy mental load?
That is why the moments away matter. That is why time away is vital.
That is why I hope by following PedsDocTalk you are empowered to take time for yourself. Because, your mental health matters.
Sometimes, it will seem impossible to find this time. There is a misconception that it has to be long periods away. In reality though, it can be short moments where you have time for yourself without any mental load (no decisions, no questions, just you alone for five minutes to breathe and do things for YOU uninterrupted). This can happen when a partner, hired help, or a loved one is available to watch the kid(s). Or maybe somedays or for many weeks, you don’t have any help at all (I have been there many times), then it means finding the balance in those days to give you mental peace.
Sometimes, it may mean being quieter during play time than you normally are.
Sometimes it may mean just recognizing you are having an off day and not feeling guilty about it so you can move through these emotions.
Sometimes it may mean noticing when these days are happening more often than not and verbalizing this to a partner or loved one and talking to a professional to process these emotions.
Or, sometimes, it may mean that time away is vital.
Whatever you do, you need to take care of yourself: Your emotional self.
I have a theory that the outlook of a child is largely impacted by the outlook of their primary caregiver. If the primary caregiver looks at the world as glass-half empty. So will their child(ren). If they look at the world with optimism, so will their child(ren).
The primary caregiver is the person who spends most time doing normal routines with the child—and many times this person is mom.
So, whether you are the primary caregiver or not—your mental health matters.
Your mindset matters.
Your outlook on life matters.
Not only for you, but for your kiddo as well.
You will be the best parent for your child if you:
- Prioritize your well-being (physical and mental) alongside your child’s
- Remember it’s okay to not be perfect at everything
- Pick and choose your battles as a parent trying to balance it all
- Celebrate quality time with your child versus quantity of time. Example: I rather have a mother of a two-year-old use screen-time for 1 hour if it means she can work out FOR HER and come back ready to engage and play with her child than a burnt out mom who didn’t and is half-assing engagement with her kid.
Your goal in life as a parent is to find that balance where you can raise you kid, but remember that who YOU are and how YOU feel matters too.
If this blog spoke to you, also check out my post about “How to be the perfect mother”
PS: Do you also have guilt surrounding play-time? Do you hate it? Do you feel guilty for hating it? YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I discuss this with @lets.talk.tots on my Podcast on why we have play-time guilt and how to overcome it