We only have two more sleeps until the boys finish for the summer holidays and I can’t wait. I love having them at home and dread the end of the holidays as they all-too-quickly approach. Time out as a family is important however time out for us as parents is something that shouldn’t be ignored or put aside either.
I once joked to friends when the children were younger that I could make a fortune if I were to open a small hotel exclusively set up for parents to take turns to come and relax and decompress for a night. Parenting can be demanding, as fabulous as it is, and sometimes time out for parents is a must.
Sadly I don’t own a small hotel and am not earning my early retirement from parents looking for some Peppa Pig time however if you are serious about taking some self-care time out for you, consider these ways to do it.
Use Your Annual Leave
Holidays are usually saved up to cover the school holidays and so on. What if for once, they weren’t? Try and take a day off just for you while children are at school or in childcare (or with a willing sitter) and just spend time on you. Roy and I started doing this years ago and we love it. We go out for lunch or breakfast, curl up and watch movies, go for a walk or similar. Nothing flash, nothing fancy, but something much needed and appreciated.
Find a Babysitter
A trusted babysitter is worth his or her weight in gold. Having someone who can look after your child/children so that you may go away for a night or even just an evening enables you to spend some time together as a couple or time out for yourself. Try and schedule some time out regularly, even if it’s just to get out of the work/home cycle for a few hours for a meal at a local restaurant.
Join a Club
Go to karate, join a Dungeons and Dragons RPG group or find a fun book club. Find something that takes you away from home for a few hours, enables you to spend time doing something you love with people you like. Again, dedicating that little bit of self-care for yourself is something you should do and something you deserve.
This takes my parent hotel idea and cranks it up a notch or ten. We have plans when the boys are older to get out there and enjoy more us time. More than an evening or a night away (we haven’t done a night away together for them yet and the eldest is twelve, we must try harder). Whether we go for a tour de Britain in a campervan or decide on something more luxurious such as a cruise holiday, time will tell.
Get Others on Board
Finding a sitter, finding the time (and the energy) to organise a night out and then going through the motions of getting dressed, packed and so on is often what puts parents off and results in another cancelled night out. It’s tiring being a parent and doing all the other things that adults need to do. Enlist other parents who understand the problem on board, meet up together or babysit for each other. Be accountable for each other and make sure no-one cancels their valuable night or day out without very good cause!
As parents we do an important job. It’s the worst-paid job imaginable, the hours are terrible and our managers can be harsh. That said, we wouldn’t change it for the world. As long as we take the time to recharge our own batteries from time to time, we’ll hopefully all come out of the parenting experience intact.