We all feel it – the pangs of parental guilt. It can strike pretty much at any time – when you’re on your way to work and your child is in the backseat crying about going to daycare, when you’re trying to vacuum the disaster that is your house and your child pleads with you to play, when you’re fed up and let out a swear word in front of them …
But it’s okay. It’s all part of being a parent, but feeling guilty, while normal, is really unnecessary. Taking time for yourself, however, is not. Contrary to popular belief, ‘me’ time is essential for every single mum. It can actually make you a better parent and benefit everyone in the household.
And here’s why:
1. Talking to children all day every day can fry your brain
We need adult conversation and social stimulation that doesn’t centre around wee-wee.
2. Alone time makes you appreciate the kids more
After a few hours without the kids, you actually start to miss their constant demands. And you look forward to being at their beck and call all over again.
3. Plus it allows the kids to bond with someone else
Like your partner. It will make you appreciate him more too.
4. Kids need to learn independence
And filling the backyard with a bunch of ‘plastic crap’ and water is a great way to enjoy a few beverages while the kids entertain themselves. Even better if you can convince Nana and Papa to come over and watch them while you escape to the neighbours for a few cheeky drinks.
Thanks for the tip, Hurrah for Gin.
Today we're doing one of my favourite wholesome family activities which is called 'fill the garden with an assortment of plastic crap so Mummy can sit down and get mild to moderately pissed.'
5. Kids also need to learn that your sole purpose in life is not just to be their slave
Having your own hobbies outside of your children, whether it’s playing netball, going for a run, attending a pottery course or reading trashy magazines over a bottle of wine on the beach without the need to supervise or build sand castles with the kids, allows you to keep a small ounce of independence.
Plus, it’s good for kids to see their parents participating in activities that do not revolve around them. It builds character.
6. And, finally, we all need time to reflect, relax and attempt to get our $h!t together
And it’s hard to do this when the kids are tugging on your pants and complaining that they are hungry.
So, mums, put on the television once in a while, call in Nana and Papa, drop the kids off at daycare and enjoy the quiet, preferably during the day time and preferably with a cold alcoholic beverage nearby.
And, whatever you do, don’t feel guilty. Your kids are fine. And you’ll be a better mum for it.