So your children are getting a little older. They still need you, just in a different way and you can actually contemplate doing something for yourself again. This is not about turning your back on your family or being selfish, it’s about remembering that before you became a parent, you were a woman with dreams, goals and an ability to take care of your own needs as well as those of everyone else.
When women get to the time of life when their children are starting to need them less and they feel that they’re able to start thinking about themselves again, how do they deal with this transition and what do they do next?
First of all, why am I writing this about women and not parents in general? Well, partly because I am a woman and a parent and therefore that makes me slightly more of an expert than looking at it from the male perspective. But it’s not just that, although we’ve come on leaps and bounds in modern day society and men are sharing the parenting role for more than any previous generation, even to the point of complete role reversal in some cases, it still remains predominantly a female role of working reduced hours or even taking a career break in order to bring up the children. There is also such a strong maternal instinct for many women to always put their family first and therefore take the back seat in their own lives.
It is because of this that I am focussing on women, mums, the girl within. When do you consider it to be the right time to start doing something for yourself? Is there a right time? The simple answer is that it’s a very personal thing. First of all consider; the right time to do what? Take on more hours, take up a new hobby, get back to work or change your job?
Starting to think about doing something for yourself is not selfish, it’s self-care. Taking time out for yourself means putting back in, investing in yourself and when you invest in yourself, it’s not just you that reaps the benefits. You need to remember that before you became a mother, you were a woman, your own person, someone with likes and dislikes, plans, dreams and goals to achieve. Think about your life at the moment. Is it in balance? I don’t mean that you spend as much time on you as on everyone else, but is there anything in your life that is just for you, not for anyone else, just you? If the answer is no, then it’s time to take a look at what you’re really doing with your time. Giving to others is a great and worthwhile thing to do but if you don’t invest in yourself, in whatever form that takes, then it’s not only you who is missing out.
Your family will benefit from your time invested in yourself. This happens on so many levels; they can see that you have hobbies too, they recognise that you deserve time for yourself, they learn an air of independence when you’re not at their beck and call, you can share your knowledge with them, they can see that you gain personally from investing in yourself which of course is a good life lesson for then in turn.
If you’re new to this concept of thinking about yourself again, start gently with something that I absolutely love; making lists. Think about what you’d like to do in the next 3 months to give yourself some time back. Make it manageable and realistic to start with.
Next think about what you’re aiming to do in 6 months’ time. Keep building on these time scales until you’ve got a good list of reasonable and perfectly achievable goals, just for you.
Think about who can help you achieve these goals, what you will need to have in place such as money, childcare, sorting out other commitments to work around it etc.
As time moves on, make the goals a little more of a stretch, you know you can do it. Think about your self-care and sometimes, just sometimes put yourself first. Remember, there is still a woman within.
I’d love to hear what sort of goals you set yourselves so why not drop me a line or comment on my Facebook page.