“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”
I had a busy summer. I use “I” because many of my plans did not involve my wife, my child, or my dog. A bachelor party, a wedding, a guy’s weekend, I did them all this summer. The thing is, part of me felt guilty at first. Part of me thought I was being selfish for leaving my wife, daughter, and dog alone while I went out and had fun. The more I thought about it though, the more I felt like that feeling of guilt was misplaced.
No matter how you slice it, parenting is hard. There are ups and downs, fights, exhaustion, short-tempers, stubborn children, accidents, messy houses and lessons learned. Let’s face it, there are times you just want to get up and run away, at least for a little bit (admit it, you do, it’s ok). There are times you feel like you are at your end and need a break from it all, but then you feel guilty because this is your child and family you are talking about getting away from! This is supposed to be the love of your life, perfect little angel, love them through good, bad, and otherwise! No one is supposed to know how hard it is!
Well, you aren’t alone and you certainly should not feel guilty for feeling like that. Alone time is a completely honest and necessary thing to want and to have as a parent. Most of your time is spent around your children and significant other, possibly friends and family also. When you think about it, for the most part, you put everyone else’s needs before yours. As good as that is (and as good as it feels sometimes) being selfish and wanting and having “me” time is also good! In fact, it’s pretty great!
Everyone should strive to get a few minutes here and there throughout the day for some time to themselves. This is what is called self-care. Self-care can come in many forms, but the bottom line is finding time for you and taking care of yourself. A few minutes to read, watch a tv show, write a blog, cook, whatever you fancy (fancy?, who do I think I am using that word? Is that even used correctly?). When it comes to bigger blocks of time, those are perfectly fine as well, and if I do say so myself, healthy!
You should never feel guilty about going to spend a weekend with your friends, or heading to a wedding or event without your children, or even without your children AND your significant other (this is called the double-double; if you also have a dog and leave that behind as well, it’s called the trifecta, or maybe that’s just me who names these things).
Being a good parent is not all about solely focusing on your children. Being a good parent is focusing on your children, your significant other and yourself (self-care for the win!). Having time for yourself, and doing things for yourself is part of it. It is my belief that this will actually strengthen who you are as a parent, significant other and person (I speak only from experience, not any actual scientific experiments or anything).
When I was away doing my alone things, I did miss my wife, daughter, and dog. When I returned, I was happy to be home and was better off from the time away. Anytime I go away, I learn to appreciate what I have waiting for me at home more. I appreciate that being a parent is special and that being able to have time with my family and without is also special. I encourage my wife to take time away when she needs it and I encourage everyone else to do the same. You are not being selfish and you certainly should not feel the least bit of guilt. Just know that every ounce of dedication you put into yourself, you are most likely going to turn right around and put that right towards your family also. That is what really counts. When you are your happiest, those around you are happiest too. Sometimes happiness can be at home or away.