We all know that once kids come into the picture, our lives change dramatically. What time used to be spent in the company of friends and family, vigorously pursuing career paths, or engaging in various personal pleasures is curtailed by sleepless nights, dirty diapers, and bill-paying worries. Assuming the role of a parent at first never seems like an entirely natural process. But eventually it totally eclipses our lives. For good or ill, we become parents 24/7. Still, attempting to fashion a life that transcends the parental role is of the utmost value. If it accomplishes anything, it keeps you sane, and sanity is a necessary, but all too hard to come by, commodity in effective parenting.
Here are a few reasons you and your partner need your own time.
1. Kid-free time enables you to form a stronger bond with your partner (or yourself).
Kids are essentially a full-time job, so the more help you can get, the better. If you do parent with a partner, having some kid-free time with your partner will help strengthen your bond such that you work better as a team when parenting. Parenting isn’t always fun, so being closer to your partner will help both of you withstand the trials and tribulations of raising kids. If, on the other hand, you parent alone, spending time with yourself with help you develop greater self-esteem. In this way, you can coach yourself through the process of parenting once you have enough time to cultivate your own interests beyond your children.
2. It helps your children develop a sense of independence.
Of course, this is not to say that you should leave a young baby for long periods of time. Still, when your child is at an age when he or she can cope with a babysitter, it’s a good idea to take at least a few days out of every month to be away from your kids. Although the first time that you go out without your children may be an anxiety-inducing experience for them, it will help construct a sense of independence, something that is instrumental psychologically for every growing child.
3. It helps you develop a sense of independence.
Although we don’t usually think of it this way, parents (mothers especially) are just as dependent on their children as they are dependent on us. Since mothers and children share congenital connection, being away from your child may almost make you feel like you are away from a physical extension of yourself. While this is a completely natural feeling, learning to accept the fact that you and your child are separate entities is a necessary part of self-development. Spending some time away from your child will help you develop this independence.
4. It gives you an opportunity to relax and reinvigorate your limited reserves of energy.
Aside from being an emotionally harrowing process, raising children is physically exhausting. In order to sustain that energy needed to properly care for your kids, you absolutely need a time out every so often. Being able to relax by having a quiet night where you can read a book, watch TV, take a luxurious bath and otherwise rest is a great way to reinvigorate yourself.
Of course, even if you know that spending time away from your kids is a good idea for you, your partner, and your kids themselves, it’s still difficult. But if you force yourself those first few times, you’ll find how taking some occasional “me time” will make you a better parent overall. Good luck!
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.