Are you stuck in a rut? Maybe you’ve been at home with your children for what seems like forever, and you lost the ‘you’ part of you a long time ago. You’ve got no me time anymore. If this sounds familiar, then maybe it’s time to start thinking about your future, not just as a parent but as a person outside of your home.
Have You Lost the You Part of You? Let’s Find It!
Let’s take a look at how you can start to assimilate back into life outside of your home and children. Even if you decide to stay home, you reclaim some of your own interests and dreams. If you’ve lost the ‘you’ part of you from being a stay-at-home mom, it’s time to start thinking about finding it. You need some me time to remember who you are.
If your life has revolved around trips to the park, toddler groups and naps for the last few months or years, then finding the you part of you feels especially daunting. The first question you’ll want to ask yourself is “What can I do to feel more like me again?”. Think back to who you were before you had children. Were you someone that had an active social life, who loved the movies, or reading in coffee shops? Maybe you loved running or spending time at the gym? When you are mommy, your hobbies are often put on the back burner. However, if you desire to get back into them, the first step is to carve out a little me time.
Set up a schedule with your partner, a family member or a childcare provider, so you can have some time to yourself. Take advantage of this time; don’t just catch up on the laundry or grocery shopping. Do something just for you; even if it’s just a little thing.
Take a book to a coffee shop and spend an hour or two lost in a book. If you’re getting back into exercising, start with a long walk. Then you can build up to running the distances you used to run before you had children. Hit the gym and try out weights or a new class.
Are you struggling just thinking about this? Maybe you feel guilty about wanting to take time for yourself. Ask yourself what’s holding you back. Perhaps it’s a fear of having someone else take care of your child or children. Maybe it’s a fear that you’ve completely lost the you part of you. If you are worried about how you feel, make sure you talk to a trusted family member or friend. If you would rather keep it private, then consider talking to a doctor or therapist who will guide you through your thought process.
Getting back to work
If you’re on parental leave from work, you might either be excited about or dreading your return to work. If you’re not eager about re-entering the workforce in your current position, ask yourself why. Perhaps this is the perfect opportunity to explore new job options: a teacher or personal injury lawyer for example. Yes, it might mean retraining and starting over in terms of your career, but spending time away from your family in a job you no longer enjoy is not worth it. You deserve fulfillment in both your professional and your personal life.
Explore training options through your local community college. You might find some that offer childcare while you train. Most community colleges have great financial aid, especially for professions where there is a shortage. This might be a you part of you you’ve completely forgotten about! Now’s your chance to be happy in your job.
If you’re going back to your previous job, you might consider easing back into it part-time or coming up with a remote working arrangement with your boss. This might make you feel less guilty since it means you don’t have to travel in on certain days. You might even be able to do all your work from home.
If you must go back to work full-time, explore your rights about taking days off to care for a sick child, and make sure you are aware of your employment rights as a working parent.
All these things can be helpful in making your return to work easier. However, even if you don’t have to work everyday, you still need time to yourself.
Making the transition from mommy back to yourself
Making the transition away from the demands of parenthood in your child’s early years to a fully functioning adult outside the home doesn’t come easily. The switch from professional to parent at the end of each day can also be tough. It requires determination and consistency to make this work. Your dedication will pay off.
As much as you love being at home with your children, there will come a time when you need to re-establish your own identity. Even if you’ve stayed home with your children throughout their school years, you will eventually be an empty-nester. You can’t forget who you are, and me time goes a long way to achieving that.
Start slowly, build on your independence gradually and enjoy each step as you do. You’ll go from having an hour to yourself here and there, to finally getting back to work and your hobbies. You’ll enjoy seeing your professional, as well as your personal, achievements begin to stack up. Find the you part of you again and you’ll be a happier, more motivated person and that’s great for everyone.