Becoming a parent changes you in ways you can’t imagine, and most of those ways are for the better. You grow as a person, learn to put someone else’s needs ahead of your own and generally become more selfless. But becoming a parent also comes with some drawbacks, including sleepless nights and limited time to yourself. If you’re feeling like your new role as parent is taking up too much of your energy, you’re not alone. Many parents struggle with finding that balance between personal time and parental responsibilities. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to adjust without sacrificing your child’s best interests. Whether you’re feeling stuck or simply want to be an even better parent than you already are, here are some helpful tips on how to become the most supportive parent possible…
Create a support system
If you find yourself feeling like you’re drowning in the role of parent, you should consider building a support system. Whether this is a group of friends, family members or a professional, having someone you can turn to in times of need will help you keep your own needs in mind. And remember: Your partner has just as much right to this support as you do. Consider the various kinds of support you need. Do you need help caring for your child? Do you need to talk about your feelings? Do you need some one-on-one time? Whatever it is, you deserve to get it.
Find specific moments of solitude
Sometimes, when you’re parenting you feel like you don’t have any time to yourself, let alone alone time. If you’re feeling harried, stressed or like you simply don’t have the energy to be a great parent, it’s important that you carve out some time to yourself. You don’t have to go all out and book a day trip to an exotic locale. You can simply sit quietly, read a book or meditate. As a parent, you need to be able to recharge your batteries, otherwise you’ll end up short-changing your child. There’s nothing wrong with having a bubble bath now and then.
Cultivate your own interests
It’s important that you don’t give up on hobbies and interests that are important to you. After all, what good is a parent who lacks identity? You can still be the parent you want to be and pursue the things that matter to you. Some of the best parents are people who have a rich and full life outside of their child. That said, you do have to be careful not to neglect your child. But cultivating your own interests helps you find your identity again, and your child will benefit from this.
Set boundaries and don’t be a martyr
One of the best ways to support your child is to set boundaries. This doesn’t mean you never do anything for your child. It means that you don’t do everything for them. Having a strong sense of self as a parent is important. If you’re constantly doing things for your child without saying no, they could grow up without knowing how to take care of themselves. Your child has to have a chance to be independent, so don’t be a martyr. Make sure that you have time to yourself, too.
Take care of yourself physically and mentally
You have to take good care of yourself physically to be a good parent. If you’re eating an unbalanced diet, the nutrients for growing a healthy baby may not be there. And you have to take good care of yourself mentally as well. It’s important that you have time to relax and unwind so you’re not stressing all the time. Make time for self-care, even if it’s a quick bubble bath or a 10-minute meditation. This also means that you don’t neglect any health issues that you may be experiencing. If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, don’t hesitate to get help.
Becoming a parent is a profound event, and it will change you for the better. You will become more patient and selfless — as long as you remember to take care of yourself and your own needs, too. Don’t forget to create a support system and make time for yourself. This will help you stay balanced and enjoy your experience as a parent.