No More Guilt: Taking ‘Me Time’ Benefits Your Child
Do you ever as a parent feel overwhelmed or anxious?
Do you feel that one day runs into the next with a list of chores that never seem to end?
Looking after and caring for either a baby, toddler, or child of any age brings with it its own set of challenges.
You may remember being told in the Maternity Hospital to sleep when baby sleeps and to take gentle exercise when you can. That all sounds very good, but in reality, do you find prioritising time for yourself slips further and further down your list of things to do?
READ ALSO: Time Management & Caffeine: The Key to Good Parenting
If this sounds familiar, now is the time to start taking some time back for yourself, or ‘me time’ as I like to call it. And do you know what? It's not just important for you, but also for your child.
The foundations of your child’s present and future Mental Health are formed during your child’s first three years, just like all other areas of development. Research highlights the link between the parent and the child’s social and emotional development as being interlinked.
This link starts with the formation and continuation of healthy attachments. Healthy attachments provide the foundation and development of positive mental health for your child which will continue into adulthood.
To be in a position to positively impact on the relationship with your child, it is very much dependent on your own mental state. A positive mental state thereby impacts positively and contributes positive qualities to the attachment process with your child.
READ ALSO: Being Present: Making the most of time with your kids
So no more guilt about taking ‘me time’. You now have a reason beyond yourself to take time to yourself. By proactively ensuring ‘me time’ you are helping to place your mind in a positive frame which in turn will help you deal and manage more positively the daily challenges and interactions on a day to day basis.
So how can you fit in time for yourself?
I know that for myself when baby number one came along, this was easy. I could go for walks and I found the fresh air really cleared my mind. When number two came along, this became a little harder as obviously, I had a lot more to organise. And by the time number three came along within three years it really was a challenge to find ‘me time’.
Clear your living space of toys, clutter, dirty dishes etc as these will only distract you as you try to relax. Do something during your ‘me time’ that you enjoy. Read a chapter of your book, take a bath, do your nails. During your child’s nap times why not try a little gardening or take a little exercise in your back garden, a few yoga stretches even.
It is really about finding time for your self within your day. Realistically ‘me time’ might consist of 30 minutes, but that is ok when you do it on a regular basis. ‘Me time’ does not have to involve expense. It's all about making time for YOU outside your mom role.
Fiona O'Farrell is eumom's Baby Development and Sleep Expert. Visit her website fionaofarrell.ie for more great advice.