Maintaining a balance – don’t forget about you…

Posted by in Single Mum Life on July 7, 2011 0 comments

So after yesterday’s rant, what I urge all single parents to do, no matter what, is make sure you have time for ‘you.’

Think about what makes you ‘you.’ It’s a hard question, because for so many years, you have been a wife, a partner, a mother and you’ve forgotten what’s important to ‘you.’ Everyone demands a piece of you and there is nothing left for you to remember the ‘real you.’ What is it that makes you truly happy? Is it  shopping? Is it being one with nature? Is it lying on the couch with your favourite DVD wrapped in a blanket? It’s somehow trying to find even an hour a day to discover yourself again…

So what can you do to rekindle your spirit and bring back the self-confidence you once had when you were on the prowl pre-kids, pre-husband, pre-partner? Did music make you feel liberated? Did you feel comfortable in your own skin because you were a size 8-10, rather than the size 16-18 you are now? Don’t worry, I hear you, because I’ve been there and have almost made my way back.

Now I realise as a single parent, time and money won’t necessarily be on your side. So let’s work on the ‘free’ stuff first:

  • Walking is both great exercise and helps you clear your head and give you energy. Create a walking or running routine that enables you to beat your personal best. Incorporate hills, staircases, block lengths, whatever it is to help you achieve your fitness goals. 
  • Window shopping can be just as rewarding as shopping. You can try things on, watch the latest trends, indulge in the joys of looking firsthand and knowing you can resist the purchase.
  • Join a library if you love reading. 
  • Borrow DVDs from friends and family so you’re not watching the same movies (just make sure you return them).
  • If you love writing, write a blog – test the waters to see if you can reach an audience for bigger and better things in the future.
  • Buy a DVD to pursue mediation, do yoga or try your hand at pilates.
  • Join a social club – if it’s a mother’s group, book club, walking group, fan club – just something to keep you talking to other people and not feeling alone in what you’re doing.
Now, as for time, it will all depend on how old your children are. But there is one thing you must promise yourself… make sure your evenings are yours. And make sure your children know that you need your time too. If your children are too young to leave by themselves for you to go for a run in the morning or spend a Sunday afternoon window shopping, make sure you give yourself at least one night a week to be ‘me’ time – a movie night, reading a book, inviting a friend over for an evening chat, learning something new, having a luxurious bath, giving yourself a beauty treatment, researching your favourite popstar, even going out on a date. Whatever it is, do it to ‘rejuvenate’ you. Don’t read books or surf the net to find out more about raising kids, do something that is purely for ‘you,’ not the different hats you wear.
The hardest thing is making the time and effort to do something for you and not feeling guilty about not dedicating your time to your kids. But the best thing you can do for your children is step away responsibly from your parental duties and give yourself a mental and physical break. Because once you achieve that, you will have the mental strength to be a better parent and learn to appreciate the beauty of your kids more. If anything, don’t think of it as a selfish act, think that you’re doing it for your kids. And your children will thank you in the warmest, most sincerest ways for finding a way to the depths of your heart and finding ‘you’ again.