Between projects at work, soccer games, dance lessons, and getting dinner on the table, it’s hard to find time as a parent to relax and recharge -- let alone do the things you used to love. When you become a parent, it’s easy to get wrapped up in doing everything with your kids. But sometimes it’s important to take time for yourself.
According to a Pew Research study, 55% of full-time working parents don’t get enough alone time to reconnect with friends or pick up an old beloved hobby. For married or cohabiting couples, 42% say they don’t get to spend enough time with their partner, which can lead to unhappiness and/or issues in the relationship.
It’s not horrible to take time away from your kids! It doesn’t make you selfish—it’s actually healthy for your relationships. Still, it can be hard to separate yourself from your lovable little ones. We put together a few reasons why you should make the effort to have mommy or daddy time.
1. It’s essential to find time to recharge
Time to de-stress and recharge, either through alone time or socializing, is important for your mental and physical health. You can easily find different activities that help you do this—whether it be reading a good book, attending a yoga class, or going to dinner with friends. Negative stress accumulated from everyday chaos is overwhelming and damaging for your health. It’s also detrimental to your kids’ stress levels and temperaments. By taking time for yourself, you’re benefiting not only you but also your kids.
2. It strengthens your kids’ relationships with others
Time away from your kids gives other important figures in their lives a chance to bond with them. Relatives such as aunts, uncles, or grandparents don’t get to spend much time with your little ones. Letting them hang out for an afternoon or weekend will strengthen their relationships. It’s also great for your kids to see their parents as separate people, and get to know mom or dad separately by spending one-on-one time together.
3. It makes your kids self-reliant
By leaving your kids with a babysitter, you foster the growth of your child’s self-reliance. This gives your child the chance to trust themselves and learn it’s OK for mom and dad to leave them. Your children will get a self-esteem boost by handling a new situation while you get a deserved break.
4. It nurtures your other relationships
Time with your partner, best friend, or sister shows that person they are valued and the relationship is still a top priority for you, even after having children. Time spent with your partner also helps develop your relationship as a unit and increases the shared sense of support as well as restored sense of identity outside your parental roles.
5. It sets a good example for your kids
Taking time with your partner or another treasured relationship will set a good example of healthy relationships for your children. Showing your children you love another person enough to make time for them will encourage your child to do the same in their relationships. Even when you take time for yourself, you are also teaching them the importance of self-care, an important lesson for everyone.
While it might seem selfish to take some mommy or daddy time, it’s necessary to maintaining healthy, happy relationships at home. So the next time you take an hour to yourself, don’t worry! Enjoy yourself-- there will be plenty of family time later on.