Is your life all about your child/children?
Many parents have a misconception that once you become a parent, you cease being the person you used to be. Understand this, being a parent is only one of many roles you play, much like being a friend, spouse, son or daughter. It does not change who you are. I mean, it does a bit but not entirely. You become more responsible; in addition to being responsible for yourself, you are now responsible for another little person.
Many may tell you that biological instincts will naturally propel you to change your behaviour and thought process. But take it from me, I am hereby telling you to show your biological instinct who is the boss by resisting its calling. Retain your personal identity!
It is true that your lifestyle choices change, but do continue to make time for your personal life. Needless to say, many parents will agree that it is easier to catch up with friends who are also parents, because you have common topics to talk about. However, you should also try to hold on to friends whom yet to have children. Seriously, do you want to be talking about diapers and runny noses all the time?
The non-parent friends will be the ones to anchor you to the ‘outside world’. They are equally as important as your fellow parents. On top of social support, they can also provide you with opportunities to discuss topics outside of parenthood. But do bear in mind not to scare these friends away by ranting relentlessly on parenthood related topics. As exciting as how your first successful toilet training attempt with your child went, it is usually not a topic of choice to gush over dinner with your non-parent friends. Save those discussions for play-date mums.
Maintaining a social life requires you to maintain personal hobbies, and do your own things independent of your children. Striking a balance between being a parent and having personal time is healthy, and most definitely not selfish. One can liken it to having work-life balance. How often have you seen parents dedicate their whole being to raising their children and thus feel lost when their children eventually grow up and move away? You don’t want that, do you?
I want to emphasis that I am not propagating the idea of leaving the children at home and living your own lives altogether. All I am suggesting is, it is alright to take time off every now and then to have that coffee with a girlfriend. Going for yoga classes thrice a week – not an indicator of a bad parent.
There is life outside raising children. It is healthy for you, as well as your children, to allow breathing space for each other. If you have not had contact with your friends (not parents of your child’s friend), make that call now! You will be surprised how good you would feel after doing something for yourself.
This article is brought to you by Karen Foote.
Former Life-Coach (registered member of the International Coach Federation), and proud mother of two boys, Karen Foote dedicated her earlier years in Melbourne, Australia to care for her children. Presently back in her hometown Singapore; she has completed a Psychology Degree with good Honours and committed to authoring books and literature about the psychology behind parenting, child development, and mindful living.
For more inspirational readings, visit karenfoote.com.