Losing yourself to parenthood is something all parents grapple with. As a single parent, the likelihood of losing your individuality to parenthood is even greater. Parenting can be all-consuming and demanding in many ways. Parenting is completely life-altering, in that your identity and expectations for yourself are now centered around this new life and societal pressures and expectations placed on you in your role as a parent. Finding the time to maintain your individuality and sense of self can seem daunting given all the work, responsibility, and time parents dedicate to children. The good news is, there are things you can do to avoid completely losing yourself during your parenting journey and rediscover yourself.
Self-care – Though this may seem like a given, many parents neglect their own needs. Parents will often forego getting enough sleep, postpone medical appointments, develop unhealthy eating habits, or ignore other physical needs. The reality is, not taking care of yourself doesn’t help the family and especially not your children. To give your kids the best of you, you must take care of yourself. Prioritize sleep, eat healthy, regular exercise, keep those medical appointments, and pamper yourself.
Alone time – As single parents finding alone time can be especially difficult, but it is a critical component in maintaining individuality. A practice that many child and family therapists recommend is to schedule alone time. Choose the same day and time every week and put it in your calendar. Treat this time as sacred and don’t let other priorities and demands push this dedicated time aside. You need alone time to be able to step back and reflect and to take a small break every week to escape the demands of parenting. Alone time is refreshing for you and lets you reconnect with your children in a new way.
Do What You Love – Reflect on the things you liked to do and that brought you joy before having children and start doing them again. Even if you pick only one thing as your schedule permits, carve out the time to do them again. It is very important to reconnect and stay active with the hobbies and activities you love doing as they define you. Reconnecting with these pastimes will help you remember who you are, will bring you satisfaction and joy, and will help you learn to savor other aspects of life again.
Stay connected – One of the best ways to get reacquainted with your individuality is to connect and spend time with the people who know and love you best. Join communities like the Brand New Me Journey group where you will find others on similar parenting journeys and with whom you can grow and learn. Seek professional support and resources to identify other ways of balancing individuality and parenthood. Our upcoming April 19, Complemented Not Completed Workshop is an excellent opportunity to explore this and other topics.