If you are a parent of a young child, chances are you feel like you don’t have enough time for yourself.
Today, we’re discussing how to prioritize yourself successfully when you have young children.
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Letting Go Of The Expectation Of What You Think It Should Be
The number one thing that I work with clients on when they are working towards how to reach their goals and prioritizing time for themselves and overall just finding the things that they really enjoy is letting go of the expectation of what you think it should look like.
Many times when we think about what we want the prioritization to look like, what we want that time to ourselves to really look like… We subconsciously compare what it used to look like before our family grew.
We often hold ourselves to the high standards that we had before the commitment of children.
However, one question to ask yourself is:
“What did my life look like before kids and what does it look like now? What are the differences?”
For many parents, you likely got a lot more sleep.
You maybe even had a lot more flexibility within your day and within your schedule.
Maybe you overall just had less obligations, less responsibilities in life in general.
As we get older, further in our career and especially when growing our family, those things change.
Those changes need to be taken into account so we can be the most successful with making a plan on what is actually realistic for us now and let go of the expectation or the comparison of what we used to do.
By being able to detach ourselves from a previous identity and give ourselves the opportunity to take on a new identity or maybe refine what our identity looks like to us now…
We are able to open up so many more doors for what we can start to include and what our plans look like. What self-care looks like and what we really want for ourselves as well as our family.
Just because you may not have as much flexibility within your schedule, or you’re a little bit more tired than you were before kids…
This does not mean that you still can’t prioritize yourself and make intentional time for you to work on the things that you deeply care about and are important for you to grow as you.
By letting go of those previous expectations or subconscious thoughts of what you think you should be doing. It prevents us from facing disappointment and frustration and instead allows us to feel more excited and empowered.
Not only is it important to let go of the previous expectation or comparison of what you used to do or didn’t used to do, it’s also really important to check yourself on the expectation of what you think should be done.
Now, what do I mean by that?
So many times when I’m working with moms specifically who lack self-care and self prioritization in their life, they have a very specific idea of a strategy, program, or plan that they want to be following perfectly.
However, they then face a lot of disappointment when they feel like they can’t do it 100%.
The problem with this is that we get stuck in that cycle of trying to be 100% perfect. Facing a very normal and understandable life obstacle with young kids feeling like we then failed.
Then starting over again and we feel like we can get really stuck in this hamster wheel.
One way to bring ourselves out of that to move forward is to allow the flexibility that we provide our family for ourselves.
Hear me when I say there is NO perfect program or strategy that you need to do to be successful no matter what it is. Whether it is healthier eating or being able to exercise more, or maybe you have a very specific fitness goal.
Maybe you want to be more tidy or to manage your time more effectively.
All of those things have many different avenues and paths to get there.
There is no wrong way. By allowing yourself to try different things and approach it as an experiment to navigate through, it ends up being a lot more successful than picking one way and feeling like you’re stuck and that there’s no other way.
We want to be able to meet ourselves where we are to meet our needs successfully.
Not only does that mean that we are letting go of the expectations and comparison of what we used to do…
It’s also allowing us to broaden our views and our approach on different strategies so that we can experiment and find what is going to work best for us.
It also means that we allow ourselves to redefine what prioritization and self-care looks like for us in this season of life.
One thing that I hear moms specifically say very often is that a shower is self-care.
If that is you and you feel truly satisfied with getting a shower and not hearing kids scream “mom” through the door and that feels satisfactory to you and fulfilling, that’s amazing.
Then that is something that I encourage you to include in your list of options when it comes to self prioritization and self-care.
However, I’ve also worked with other moms, including myself, where taking a shower feels great, but it’s not exactly fulfilling as maybe some other activities.
That’s okay because remember, there is no right or wrong.
I encourage you to explore and provide yourself options on what activities or things that you would be engaging in that would be truly fulfilling for you.
This then encourages you to redefine what self prioritization looks like.
What are you going to be doing with that time that will help you feel truly fulfilled?
Be Flexible With Your Approach To Time
Time is the number one constraint that we hear a lot of parents talk about. So when you are considering time and finding time for yourself, one of the best things that we can do is to be flexible in our approach.
Maybe before kids, we were able to just leave the house and go to the gym and spend a couple hours there. We didn’t have to find any childcare or scheduled appointments to work around, right?
Maybe this season of life requires a little bit more prep work for you to be doing those things.
Instead, what if we look at certain time windows throughout our day where we can take advantage of self-prioritization both on the small scale and the larger scale?
For example, can you take advantage of nap time or maybe an early bedtime?
Maybe we can take advantage of asking for support in childcare so that we can do something that’s a little bit more on a larger scale for those activities.
What do your resources look like so that you feel like you have a couple of different options throughout your day to take advantage of?
Meet Yourself Where You Are When It Comes To Your Options
Another tip is to meet yourself where you are when it comes to your options. So maybe going to the gym is the ideal option and you would love to be able to get out of the house by yourself.
Of course, like I mentioned, in terms of options and resources, we want to be able to navigate what that looks like to allow for flexibility and room for that to occur.
Sometimes though, we know that that’s not always an option, so instead of feeling like you’re going to get stuck in the all or nothing of either you’re going to go to the gym or you’re not going to do anything at all…
Let’s take the opportunity to look at what those time windows look like for us. Also, what can a workout look like if it’s done in a different capacity?
Are we able to utilize this to practice our skills of adaptability and be able to incorporate a YouTube video workout or a fitness app workout?
Maybe we are texting a friend for additional accountability to get in some kind of movement?
How can that still help you move forward and gain the benefits of the ultimate goal of moving more?
Schedule Your Own Time
The other tip that I share often with parents is to schedule your own time. Just like you do all of the kids’ activities and commitments, special dates and birthdays, work meetings, etc…
We want to be able to show up for ourselves as an obligation, as a commitment, just like you do in all other areas of life.
What would it feel like to put something on the calendar and say:
- Exercise for 30 minutes on this day
- Self care spa treatment at home
- Coffee day with a friend
Being able to intentionally schedule and prepare for your own time can feel really empowering and also a reminder that you are just as important as everything else you are juggling in life.
It can also be very helpful to consider working with an expert or a coach so that you can work together to find a plan. A plan that’s going to work best for you and help you navigate this time of life.
If you found this blog helpful, let us know in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.
Thank you for reading, see you in the next one!