When to put yourself first as a parent

There are many situations where you should put your kids first. However, your kids shouldn’t be the number one priority all the time. In fact, there are many instances where you need to put your own needs first.

After all, your health and your happiness affects your kids. It can affect the level of care you provide for them. You can also set an example as to how to live. It may involve making sacrifices that could affect your kids short term, but in the long run it could be beneficial for them.

So just when are the instances when you should put yourself first? This post lists five major examples.

Looking after your physical health

As a new parent, you may have to accept that you won’t have as much time to go to the gym and that you’ll likely get less hours of sleep due to night feeds. However, this doesn’t mean that you should give up exercise completely and try to get by on four hours of sleep per night. Similarly, you shouldn’t give up preparing healthy meals or taking a bath.

If you don’t look after your body, you’ll cause health problems for yourself. Your immune system will stop working effectively and you’ll get ill more frequently, which will prevent you from being able to look after your kids as effectively. Meanwhile, weight gain or poor hygiene could lead to other health problems that will also affect your ability to provide care. On top of this, you kids will grow up witnessing your unhealthy lifestyle, which they may think is normal, discouraging them from exercising or adopting a good sleep schedule.

All in all, there are times when you need to prioritise your health. While it’s possible to exercise with your kids or take naps while they’re napping, you shouldn’t be afraid to accept help from others so that you can get a break to catch up on sleep or hit the gym if you feel you really need it. Even a night off just to destress can be worthwhile for restoring your energy levels and stopping you from getting ill. 

One thing you should never do as a parent is ignore health problems in order to look after your child. Don’t ignore pains that are clearly getting worse or try to soldier through intense sickness – you’ll only make the health problem worse. Take the time out to see a doctor or get some rest, even if it means getting someone to babysit while you do this. 

Getting out of a toxic relationship

Too many people stay in unhealthy relationships for the sake of their kids. Such a relationship will wear you down and make you miserable. Your kids may pick up on this eventually. Alternatively, they’ll grow up aspiring to be in a relationship like yours. Ultimately, breaking up could be a lot better for you and your kids in the long run than trying to keep together a dysfunctional family. 

Consider whether the kids are the only thing keeping you together. If so, it could be time to plan your breakup. Talk to friends or relatives for advice if you need it. It could also be worth seeking some family law legal advice. You can then work out a way of ending the relationship in a way that is as amicable and fair as possible. Check out this guide to separating from a partner with kids. 

Quitting a job you hate

A job may provide an income to support your family. However, this income is not worth it if you utterly hate your job. Just like a bad relationship, a bad job can wear you down mentally and physically. This will affect your general mood and how you behave with your kids. Certain jobs may even prevent you from spending time with your kids. 

Know when to bite the bullet and quit, so that you can chase a job that you can actually tolerate. Yes, it’s better to have another job lined up before you quit, but job-hunting takes time. It’s likely you haven’t quit already because you don’t have time to look for another job – so consider leaving so that you can spend time looking for a job. It will be a financial struggle for a while, but there is lots of financial aid out there that you can take advantage of.

Chasing your personal goals

As a parent, you still need personal goals. These could be career-related, but they don’t have to be – your goal could be to travel to certain places, master a musical instrument, learn a new language, run a marathon or launch your own beauty vlog.

Pursuing these personal goals will help you to live a more fulfilled life. You’ll be happier and mentally healthier. Such goals can also serve as an inspiration to your kids. That’s why it’s so important to make time for personal goals. 

This could mean asking a partner or someone else to look after your kids while you dedicate time to your passion. You may not be able to commit as much time to this passion as you’d ideally like, but it’s better than not following your passions at all. Meanwhile, you can encourage your partner to follow their personal passions too if they’re not doing so already. 

Sustaining a social life

Staying social is important for our sanity. If you’re not seeing friends and family, you’ll get depressed. This is no good for you or your kids. 

As a parent, you may not be able to go on spontaneous nights out, however you can still plan social events. There may be social activities that you can do with your kids such as going for coffee or going on a day out or simply inviting them around to your place. However, you shouldn’t just limit yourself to these social activities. It’s important to socialise away from your kids sometimes too. This will allow you to truly relax and enjoy the other person’s company. 

PLEASE NOTE – This is a collaborative post