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Is This The Secret To Being A Better Parent
Family Family
Is This The Secret To Being A Better Parent
August 28, 2018
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Family Family
Is This The Secret To Being A Better Parent
August 28, 2018
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Like most parents, I love my children to distraction. Also like most parents, I love spending pockets of time away from my children. Does this make me selfish? Possibly. Does it make me a better parent? Definitely.

I’ve lost count of the conversations I’ve had with friends about the guilt we feel about taking time away from our children. From the high-flier who takes a military approach to diary scheduling so she’s there for performances/sports day – and yet still feels it’s not enough; to those who have a well-deserved 24 hours ‘off’, but feel niggled by guilt. There’s a feeling that we are so lucky to have them (no arguments there), that we should spend every minute with them. And yet, life tends not work like this. Before you had children, you were a busy woman of many parts. Becoming a mother doesn’t change that. It’s the sum of those parts that makes you feel fulfilled – and a fulfilled woman makes for a happy mother.

I remember those first weeks back at work after maternity leave. Yes, I missed my daughter desperately, but I loved bending my brain to work, and I still remember the thrill of drinking a coffee whilst it was hot. For a year my whole world had revolved around one small person – what a novelty to do something for me. At the end of every day, I raced home to cover her with kisses and revel in bath/bedtime. Weekends were sacred family time. Being away from her made me more present when I was with her.

“Inevitably, carving out time for yourself is easier said than done. Please take the breaks. If your child naps, do not fill that time with domestic admin!”

This hasn’t changed. I love my time with my children all the more for the time I spend away from them. I immerse myself in their world when we’re together, and happily maintain that having a balance between ‘grown-up’ time (work, breakfast with friends, the odd weekend away with your other half…) is crucial for your happiness, sanity and parenting!

Inevitably, carving out time for yourself is easier said than done. Please take the breaks. If your child naps, do not fill that time with domestic admin! Instead, read a book, enjoy the blissful silence with a coffee. If you’re at work, use your lunch break to get things done (which would take three times as long were children present), or have lunch with a friend.

Ask for – and accept -help. We’re all so capable of plate-spinning, we sometimes forget to say yes to offers of assistance. So book a sitter (or a grandparent). Escape!

Evenings are sacrosanct. My children are young enough to be in bed by a reasonable hour – and they know that evenings are grown-up time – for work, conversation, dinner a deux. Amongst the bewildering torrents of advice I received when first pregnant, one thing that stuck is to make time for my husband and me: to see him as a partner as well as a parent. Aiming for a monthly date night is an excellent start.

Oh, and try to let go of the guilt – because a happy mother makes for happy children.

Natasha Poliszczuk
@wearandwhere
Mama to Claudia, 7 and Archie, 3
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