Parents often give up little pieces of themselves as they raise their children. But they don't have to. Here are simple things you give up as a mom and that you shouldn't.
1. Free Time
It's definitely true that the holes in your schedule before you had kids will virtually disappear once you have kids. The time you used to veg on the couch will be replaced with diaper changes, more cooking and shuttling everyone where they need to go.
Your free time may be limited these days but it shouldn't be squeezed out of your life forever. You deserve time for yourself and you need it. Not only will you recharge your mom meter, you'll be able to handle your many parenting challenges more easily with a fresh outlook.
2. Date Night
Remember date nights with your significant other? Our relationship with our spouse is one of the first we throw to the back burner because we're so busy taking care of the kids.
However, it's important to nurture and strengthen our relationship with our spouse. Don't sacrifice date night just because you have kids. You should schedule at least one or two date nights per month. Even if your date night is as simple as an evening together after the kids go to bed, never skip your date nights.
3. Talking to Friends
One of the first things that falls by the wayside when we become parents is our friendships. Typically, our friends who don't have children are the first casualties.
Then we overschedule our family so much that we don't even have time for our mom friends.
As hard as it may seem some times, you still need to maintain those friendships. You can't put a value on the friends who have been there / done that, will commiserate with you and understand everything you're going through.
Plan a girls' night with your friends. Start a book club (to encourage everyone to continue reading). Make time for your friends, even if it's for an hour at a coffee shop or a scheduled play date. You need it and so do they.
All that time you had to paint, sculpt, collect stamps or whatever you enjoyed doing as a hobby may have shrunk as you had kids. That doesn't mean you should give up your hobbies altogether, though.
Look for meetups based around your hobby. Re-dedicate a certain amount of your time to your hobby with no exceptions. Or take up a new hobby, even one you can incorporate into your life as a parent, such as photography of sewing. with your life as a parent, such as photography of sewing.
5. Reading Books and Magazines
Remember curling up under the covers to read a book or magazine? At first, parents usually trade novels from their favorite authors for parenting magazines. As the family grows, even the parenting magazines start to gather dust because you don't have time to read anything but children's books anymore.
But you don't have to trade your love of reading in for a baby. Open a book before bed or keep a mini library in your car for those times you're sitting in carpool.
That time really adds up and it's a great opportunity for you to continue reading something new.
6. Peace and Quiet
The sound of silence is just an old song if you have kids. There's so much noise at your house that on those rare moments it is quiet, you're not quite sure what to do with yourself.
Peace and quiet may be a rare occurrence at your house but that doesn't mean you shouldn't go in search of it. Give the kids some scheduled downtime each day. This turns into your quiet time, a perfect turbo boost for your emotional health. Whether the baby is napping or your older kids are in the next room playing board games, making "quiet time" a part of your schedule helps break up your day and gives you some peace and quiet you can count on.