Worried More About Your Kids than Your Own Mental Health? Try Getting Out Once a Week Without Them

Or are you just worried you won’t find someone reliable and trustworthy available to take care of them?

There are millions of tips out there on how to be the best parent as well as on the many types of parenting styles. What I want to bring to your attention today might be a bit surprising to you–especially those micromanaging parental types, you know who you are. This article isn’t about any of that. Actually, it’s about your self care and your life outside of your family. Often times we get so caught up in our weekly work and family lives, that we forget about supporting our own care and mental health. What I mean to say is, we neglect or completely skip out on doing the activities and things that benefit our health most and define who were are as individuals. It’s okay to neglect these things when your child is an infant because your child is dependent upon you for virtually everything. However, once they start growing up, parents should ease up and think more in terms of role modeling good behaviors. You’ve heard the old saying, “monkey see, monkey do.” According to Merry Music Makers, an early childhood educational organization based out of Chicago, IL, modeling or demonstrating the behavior in front of your child is one of the best ways they will learn that behavior.

We ought to not put our families well being ahead and certainly at the expense of our own. If we do, we can be sure, later down the line, our parenting skills, as well as our mental and physical health will most definitely suffer. According to an article from Childproofparenting.com, written in 2017, “when parents feel depleted, they cannot use their social-emotional empathizing, regulating their emotions or solving problems with their child.” Truth be told, great parents, DO care for themselves, and truth be told, great parents DO have lives of their own. Think of it this way, how would a sick or mentally ill person care for their own child? They couldn’t. That’s why you’ve heard on airplanes, “put your own mask on first, before you put on the mask of your child’s.”

Which brings me to my next point, taking one or even a few days out of your week to spend time with peers doing activities that you generally enjoy is certainly okay and even beneficial to your mental health, maybe even your physical. And if you’re worried about finding someone whom you trust that could babysit on a consistent and weekly basis that your children enjoy, look no further than a close family member. I guarantee they won’t expect any pay, as they will just be happy to spend more time with your family. Bonus points, if you are providing dinner and/or dinner money and a little tip! If you don’t have any family members nearby or that can’t help out, you can always reach out to a trusted friend, who again, would probably just be happy to help and wouldn’t necessarily expect to be paid.

Your children will miss you, but you will also be a much happier person, and your child deserves a happy parent. Besides, your kids will have a great time playing games/watching movies, etc. with their babysitter, which is something you probably don’t always do during your typical weekday routine. Kids are resilient and can handle parents being away for work conferences/meetings for days at a time, so why not spend one or two days a week with another family member or trusted friend? I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying and African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a kid.” This is most definitely a win-win situation because Mommy get’s some socialization and self love and the kiddos get a new role model that provides another angel of enrichment and education for your child(ren).

Trust me on this, your child(ren) and spouse will thank you in so many loving and beneficial ways when you self-care. That’s not to say, you completely stop prioritizing your family, because you definitely shouldn’t, it’s to say, you need to take care of yourself first and then your family second–it’s a fine balance and won’t always be 50-50. Initially, your household might be a bit of a mess with dirty dishes, laundry, etc, but then again, you have a babysitter/nanny you can ask to do these things for you or of course your spouse can, in the event they are staying at home with the kids. According to a few graduate classes put together by The Commonwealth Education Trust, “in order for children as well as adults in this instance, to best learn and reach our full potential, we need to be in good health both mentally and physically.” I hope all your power mommies and daddies will get out at least once, if not twice a week for some self love and care and continue to do so for many years to come.

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