The first time you see their eyes. The first time you hold their hand. You love your children, and there are so many moments you will always cherish.
But then parenting moves into the constant night and day. You still find joy in the little things, but there always seems to be bigger, harder things happening.
We often think that as a parent we just need to keep our head down and it will all blow over. But what we forget is that there are resources available to us when we are feeling tired of being a parent.
Here are three ways to save yourself when you're feeling burned out:
1. Ask for help
Have you ever heard it takes a village to raise a child? This means that you don't have to do everything. There is no shame in asking for help. Whether it's asking a friend to do a babysitting swap so you can nap or having the grandparents take the kids for a weekend, it's OK for other people to step in. Even Batman needs Robin.
This also means talking to your spouse. A lot of people forget to communicate with their spouse. They think their loved one already knows what's going on. Unfortunately, they don't always know what's happening, and sometimes they don't realize you are struggling. Let them know what you are thinking. Talking to your spouse will give you the best mental support.
Take care of your body. Make sure you are getting the right amount of vitamins and good food. Sometimes getting more sleep is difficult (especially when you have babies). That doesn't mean there aren't other ways you can get energy. Exercise and healthy food will provide you with more energy, even if you can't get more sleep. The more you take care of your body, the better you are able to function.
Try looking up simple healthy recipes and quick workouts. You don't have to spend hours and hours trying to get fit, but taking 10 minutes to find small things you can do will make a world of a difference.
Children need parents because they need people who will love and guide them. We often only think about the first part. "If I love my kids, I would let them have this..." It's actually really unhealthy to think this way. You need ask yourself, "How will I guide them today?" You need to set boundaries.
This can be one of the hardest ones to do because you feel like a bad parent when you have to say no to your kids. I have seen some parents let their children walk all over them. Whether it's grabbing stuff out of their purse, stealing their phone or demanding to always sleep in their parent's bed, kids need to learn to respect their parent's boundaries. Learning this respect will in turn teach your children how to respect other people. It will also let you have some personal space.
Doing these three things will help you not only be a better parent, but it will also help you not to feel so burned out. Making these efforts makes you a parent in more ways than just your biological relation.
Christa is a part time photographer, part time writer and full time lover of life. She loves eating chocolate chip cookies and singing (but not at the same time). She has her degree in political science.