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Making Time for You

by Maxine
Posted August 19 2010 12:20pm
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One of the major challenges for new parents is to find any free time at all! However, when you do come up with some specific strategies that fit your schedule, you’ll quickly reap the benefits. Taking a break helps keep you from becoming too overwhelmed and helps preserve your mental health.

Here are some things that you might try:

  • Give each other spontaneous gifts of personal time. Both of you can benefit from mutually supporting each other in taking breaks from parenting. Whenever you think it's needed, send your partner off for a relaxing bath, a workout at the gym or to call a friend for a nice long chat—while you take over. Remember, for it to be a gift, offer up this personal time with a smile.
  • Set aside a regular time each week where the two of you trade off personal time in exchange for baby care. For example, every Saturday morning, one of you takes complete charge of your baby while the other sleeps in, showers or reads the paper; then switch places.
  • Trade babysitting services with other parents. They are in the same boat as you are with the same tight budgets. If you can find the right people, this is a good strategy.
  • Hire outside help to buy a little time for yourself. This will only work if you and your baby feel comfortable with the caregiver. There is no benefit to you spending your personal time worrying about how your baby is getting along with the caregiver. Be sure to ease yourselves into any new caregiver situation.
  • Make some outside commitments to get you out the door. Follow your instincts. Whatever you need to do to relax and stay in touch with the inner you—play hockey, sing in the choir, take a fitness class or play bingo—just sign up and make it happen!
  • Turn commuting time into personal time. Listen to your favourite music, read or plan your next project. If you're driving home, take the back roads for a few extra minutes to calm yourself and transition back into parent mode.

Setting up regular routines and activities that allow you to enjoy your own interests and needs can go a long way to improving family connections, reducing stress levels and decreasing parental burnout. While life as a parent is busy, it’s critically important to not give up on your quest for personal time.

 


Do you have any suggestions to add to our list? How did you find personal time when your baby was young? Leave a comment below and share your story with other parents just like you!

 

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