Happy Parents = Happy Kids: Why You Need To Look After Yourself
As parents, the number one aim in our life is to raise happy, contented, well-adjusted children, and give them the best possible start for a rewarding life. But in many cases, parents can sometimes take this to an extreme, and fail to look after ‘number one.’ There are huge issues involved when you go down this route, as in the vast majority of cases, unhappy parents mean troubled kids. You have to look after yourself if you want to raise contented children, and it’s easy to take your eye off the ball of self-care when your ultimate aim is to do everything you can for your kids. If this sounds familiar, don’t panic: all it takes is a little bit of thought about how we go about our lives – let’s take a closer look.
Look after your relationship
Whether you are married or with a partner, it’s important that you set aside time to do things together. Your relationship is the glue that holds everything together, and just like everything else in life, the more you tend to it, the better it will be. It’s too easy for parents who work and look after young children to stop finding time to spend together, and there could be a lot of problems in the road ahead of you shortchange your relationship. Yes, you have to put your children at the center of your life, but you should also be aware of the many pressures this can place on a marriage or partnership. When you aren’t spending time together, you will end up taking separate paths, becoming distant, and losing the central core of your family altogether. So, take some time to enjoy each other’s company once in awhile. Go out on a date, or arrange some childcare to go away for the weekend once or twice a year. And always talk to each other – never let negative thoughts bubble away in your subconscious – they will explode eventually.
Don’t rely on the ‘rule books.’
There are a lot of guidelines on how to raise the perfect child, with many different parenting styles and theories to choose from. Ultimately, however, it’s important to remember that none of these books are written about your kids or lifestyle – they are all someone else’s ideas. Sure, there will be valuable information in almost every one, but a technique that works like a charm for one mom may not suit another. The key to parental happiness is to find your own way. Never use these child care books as Bible – take the advice you need and if it works, great. But if it doesn’t, you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it. No single book is going to teach you how to raise your kids Instead, take inspiration from everywhere, whether it’s suggestions from friends or medical professionals. You can even find good parenting lessons from Disney movies or your favorite TV shows. At the end of the day, you need to know what works for you and adapt your techniques over time. Trust your instincts, too. Parents have a natural inclination for what is working with their kids – and what is not.
Routines for kids, not for parents
The vast majority of child psychologists and health professionals will rightly tell you that a good routine is vital for your children. Going to bed and eating meals at the same time every day and being consistent with your communication is, of course, vital. The trouble is that when that routine starts to impact your relationship with your other half, things will quickly get stale. Total domesticity and routine of a guaranteed relationship killer in the vast majority of cases, and it’s important that you are always finding new ways of reconnecting with each other. Don’t forget, the reality of having children is that they aren’t young for long. In ten or fifteen years time they won’t be around as much – and you will be left with your partner. And if the previous decade has been dull and boring for the pair of you, it’s going to be difficult to rekindle the fun times, and your relationship will suffer. So, try to do things off the cuff. Take up a shared hobby, for example, or try playing a sport together. Find a reliable babysitter that you can trust and don’t be afraid to go out at night on a complete whim. You will find you will never be short on conversation ever again, and you will still have passions for each other, as well as your children.
Admit that raising kids is difficult
Watching other parents effortlessly look after their children can make you feel useless at your job! There are countless blogs and parenting writers whose work makes us feel like we aren’t getting things right, but the simple truth is that parenting is tough for everyone. Behind every ‘happy mom’ selfie on Instagram lies the same sleepless nights, tantrums, and self-criticisms that you experience, so there’s no need to develop an inferiority complex. There’s also a huge problem with moms and dads trying to make out that everything is wonderful when it almost certainly isn’t. Don’t be afraid to vent your parental frustrations – you might just pick up some great advice from family, friends or colleagues on how to deal with any of your major problems. It’s OK to struggle when you are parents – it’s an entirely new role for everyone, and we all have our different issues to deal with, and despite what you might think, there are no parents who bring up their kids perfectly.
Anyone that says bringing up children is easy is likely to be bending the truth a little. Or, most probably, they are unaware of the problems that their children endure. Raising kids is tough, and the more you can take care of yourself and enjoy your life, the better you will be able to do your job. Kids can pick up on your feelings, and if you are unhappy in any way, they will be the same. It’s vital to take some time out and look after yourself, and doing so will give you an all-important break, recharge your batteries, and help deal with the many challenges and responsibilities of being a parent. Share your thoughts in the comments section below!