The importance of having ‘me time’ as a parent

Becoming a parent is one of the most incredible experiences I have had in my life. The creation of human life, and watching a little person grow before your eyes is absolutely wonderful and I feel so privileged to have a little girl who I am able to care for.
Photo: Baby in a red and white polka dot dress, standing on tip toes on a bench, looking out at lavender fields.
However, it is not always wonderful. It is also hard, very hard.
There are sleepless nights, tears and tantrums (and that is often just from the parents!)
Over the past few years of being a parent I feel I have lost myself somewhat, partly due to the pandemic and partly due to the demands of being a parent. Some days have been a blur of feeding, changing nappies and trying to entertain and keep alive and happy a little person.
Parenthood is life changing. You suddenly and very quickly need to become very selfless. All your priorities and needs get pushed aside all for the love of another person. On the other hand though, it is amazing and enjoyable on some days too. Watching a little life grow, and having influence in that is a huge responsibility, but incredible to be part of.
That is why it is important to try and retain a little bit of yourself and have some “me time” as a parent.
Here are some ways you can achieve some ‘me time’ as a parent.
  • Go out and meet friends alone.
  • Photo: A frothy coffee in a white ceramic cup, next to glass plate with a slice of carrot cake on top.
  • Whether it is for tea and cake, a walk or a glass of wine. Meeting friends without little ones around us always a good idea, as you need that interaction and conversation with another adult without the distraction of another person. I have lost count of the number of half conversations I have had with a friend when meeting with our children, or how conversations always turn into being about your little person.
  • – Indulge in some self-care
  • Photo: A black framed peg board with a quote “self-care isn’t selfish” written in back, on a pink background.
  • Self care is very important and can often make us feel much better in ourselves.
  • Lately I have been enjoying a weekly bath, and although this doesn’t sound like much, it really is. Once our little one is in bed. I run a hot bath, chuck in a bath bomb, light a candle, grab a book and some chocolate and take a long hot soak for at least an hour. It is bliss, and such a good way to switch off.
  • I also enjoy having that time away out of the house to have my eyebrows threaded, or my  haircut.
  • Sometimes, it is even something as simple as being shut off upstairs, away from the toys and noise, styling my hair or doing my make up. Anything that makes you feel a little brighter and better in yourself, is worth doing in my opinion.
  • – Take time to exercise
  • Photo: Three kettlebells in and green, lined up on a blue background.
  • Prior to having my daughter, I often did a lot of exercise. I had a gym membership and would attend classes 3-4 times per week. I occasionally did running, swimming, and a lot of walking. After my daughter was born, I slowly started to exercise again, when able and this helped my mental health. Then the pandemic happened and all I could do was a home workout or walking.
  • Since then, I have managed to take part in some personal training programmes with Nicole Chapman’s Power of Mum (highly recommended) and this helped me feel much more energetic and healthy.  However, I am now getting to the point of wanting to get back to the gym again, for the social contact, more than anything.
  • I have recently found a personal trainer that has flexible pay as you go classes, meaning that if you were unable to make it one week, you aren’t out of pocket.
  • Exercise is so important for both mental and physical health, and even though at times it can be hard to get started. I always know I feel better once I have exercised. So even if it is a short walk around the block, listening to your own music, then do it.
  • –  Find something you enjoy doing
  • Photo: Two people paddle boarding in the sea, with the backdrop of a sunset.
  • Doing something you enjoy, will always make you feel better, and help maintain your identity as someone other than a parent.

Last year, I spent 2-3 hours with some work colleagues paddle-boarding on a river. It was absolutely amazing. The weather was pleasantly, conditions calm, and a wonderful sunset. I really felt like I switched off and felt more like myself again.

Whether you do something like this, or another activity, say wild swimming or even cross stitch. Do it, and do it with people. It will definitely give you the ‘me time’ you need.

How about you – if you’re a parent, how do you separate yourself from being a parent, and retaining some self-identity. It can be difficult at times, but it is so needed. 

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