Depending on your personality and the personality of your kids, everyone has different levels of adjustment when becoming a parent for the first or second or third time. One of the biggest adjustments I didn’t realize I would make after having kids was the change of life pace. I assumed and thought I knew what it would mean to be a parent 24/7. After the initial 3 month daze wore off with my first born, it really began to sink in: “I am never going to be able to sleep in on the weekend and do whatever I want ever again.” I may have been a bit exaggerated in my thoughts, but when you first have kids everything feels exaggerated!
I worked part-time until my second was 6 months old, and for my personality this really helped me structure my day and feel productive in and outside the home. Once I decided to resign from my job and stay home full-time, it took a few months to figure out a rhythm of life that worked.
What I learned was that it was okay for me to do chores around the house while the kids were awake – even if it took five times longer because they were “helping” with the dishes or laundry or cleaning up.
I learned that if I didn’t get at least 45 minutes of uninterrupted “me” time during the day, I REALLY felt it emotionally, physically, and mentally by the time dinner rolled around. This became intensely obvious when my daughter refused to sleep for longer than 20 minutes for naps the first four months of her life unless she was in a baby wrap or carrier. This forced my husband and I to get creative with ensuring I did get some regularly scheduled down time.
I learned that playdates and library times and routine outings are SO important. It’s important for my kids. They need to see the world and engage with other kids and adults. It’s important for me. I need to talk or at least be in the presence of other parents. I found that all the energy, effort, and sometimes seemingly impossible strength just to get out the door was SO worth it even if I was just out for an hour.
I learned that I needed to embrace the time that I did get to myself while my kids napped doing something rejuvenating. Sometimes that meant taking a nap; sometimes it meant reading or taking a shower. And sometimes it meant watching a TV show on Netflix on my laptop while I cleaned the kitchen.
I once found myself in an intense debate with someone about living a lifestyle of rest and intentional relaxation. They argued that one should live life in such a way that vacations and times away from your everyday routine would not be necessary if we truly maximized our reflective and relax time and minimized the busy. I saw his point, but I had to argue that once you have kids, sometimes the ONLY way to fully reflect and take a break is to break out of the routine and your environment to see things from a fresh and new perspective.
Whatever your season of life, with or without kids, take some time to step back once in a while to reflect and gain a new outlook. Happy weekend, everyone!