Balancing a relationship with your partner and your children doesn't always mean to just focus on them. One of the most important steps in feeling successful with the parent/partner juggling act is taking time for yourself as well. By setting the time aside and doing something to focus just on yourself, you make it possible to return as a better partner and parent.
The most common argument that I hear from parents when I propose taking some time to themselves is that the children need them. Next ensues an explanation about the guilt felt when taking time for oneself when that time could be spent with someone who needs you. When your responsibilities include family and children, taking time to focus on yourself can feel “selfish”. But when you are mentally and emotionally exhausted from taking care of others and you no longer have the best of yourself to give, your partner and your children aren't getting the best you. And even though you're giving them time, you're not giving them much quality.
Quantity Does Not Equal Quality
Taking the time for yourself ensures that you still have something to give to others. Recharging and taking care of yourself ensures that when you’re back to focusing on others you have the energy to do so in a way that is meaningful and positive. Juggling the roles of parent and partner means you are often taking care of others, thinking of others, and planning for others. When this is your life 24/7 what does it look like? Are your interactions still meaningful and enjoyable? Are you feeling content and connected in your relationships? If your answer is yes than great! But if not, you’re like many others who are managing the consequences of not taking a time out to recharge.
Taking a time out to focus on yourself can refill, recharge, and renew you in ways physically, mentally, and emotionally. Having even just a few minutes of “me” time can re-energize you so that when you return to your loved ones, you actually have more to give than before. Returning with an ability to focus and enjoy your interactions will strengthen your bond and create a stronger connection between you and your children and your partner!
Try it Today
If this is a new idea, or maybe an old idea that you’ve never had time for you before, try taking just 15 minutes today to focus on yourself. Allow your children to have fun with and deepen their relationships with your partner, another family member, or a friend. Fifteen minutes can be enough time to take a walk/jog, read a book, exercise, take a bath, or simply sit and enjoy some quiet time. As this feels more comfortable to you, and you begin to see the benefits of focusing on yourself, allow yourself more time!
The parent/partner juggling act is hard work. But it is also meaningful, important, life altering work that deserves your best effort. Focus on yourself today and enjoy the newfound focus you have to improve the most important relationships in your life!
Amanda Regalia, M.A. is a marriage and family counselor and clinician for The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. Amanda specializes in working with families and children ages 5 and up. She is passionate about helping people to create practical solutions that support them in achieving their goals and improving their relationships and life