As a new parent, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day living that comes with a baby or young child. Sometimes we’re so tired from our kid(s) wearing us down that the thought of doing something for ourselves is put on the back burner and long forgotten! But the thing is that our kids can’t be happy and fulfilled if we, as parents, are run-down, depressed, or unhappy. Even if it’s a few days a week for a few hours, be sure to take time for yourself to do things you enjoy. Anything from reading to yoga to checking your emails uninterrupted, try your best to “get away” for a bit and to recharge.
I remember that for the longest time with my baby that I would want to be with him all the time. I wanted to see him, interact with him, take care of him, and I didn’t really trust many other people with his livelihood and safety. (It was shocking to me how overprotective and possessive I was with him, considering I planned on working and dropping him off at daycare every day… how things change once they arrive!) But over time it led me to neglect myself and my own needs and interests. I’ve always loved cooking, karaoke, yoga, reading, intramural sports, etc and since I hadn’t done those things in months and was essentially stuck and trapped in the house, I was getting depressed and unhappy with my life. There was no light at the end of the tunnel. My mommy instincts had taken over my brain and I didn’t think of myself for one second of the day, which is quite unhealthy!
Then when the baby started to get a bit older, I came to have more time for myself in the day, like when he napped, was playing, or just content to be able to move around the living room. This allowed me some free time to do things that I wanted or needed to do. And no, grocery shopping isn’t a “fun and desirable activity” for me, it’s a necessity! Haha. But as I came to do more things for me, I became happier. I began reading more, mostly about childhood development and parenting, and I’ve learned so much from these books! My library is so extensive.
I started to become more interested in social endeavors and wanted to start going to the YMCA again, to get back in shape and lose the weight I gained post-baby when my body was healing for 3 weeks postpartum and then it snowballed afterwards. I’m already feeling so much better, healthier, and eating less in terms of quantity. I’m cooking more, making smarter choices, and being more in tune with what my body needs. My plan is to try and do yoga again 2-4 times a week ontop of long daily walks with the bub (my son) and the pup (Cocker Spaniel) to ensure everyone gets some outdoor time and that i’m not totally lazy on my “days off” from the gym.
Whatever your niche is (or even if you’ve yet to find it!), try to do it as much as you can. Explore new places, activities, and meet new people. Or start small and just explore an area on your own, talking to shopkeepers and making small comments to strangers as you pass them by while walking. Take your dog to a dog park (if you don’t fear fleas, possible bullying, and disease…. yikes!) and mingle with other dog owners. Join a playgroup or meetup for other kids the same age as your child(ren). Get out of the house! Take it from me, who was cooped up for 6 months day and night, you need that Vitamin D from the sunshine and fresh air to rejuvenate yourself!