When you enter the wild and crazy world that is parenting, there is no day off. Being a good dad is a job that doesn't end. However, there is a time in every parent’s busy schedule that having a little time to themselves is not only a good thing, but should be encouraged.
With a toddler and a newborn at home, I fully understand and support any parent that wants to take a little time for themselves. It’s really the only way to stay sane. With that in mind, here are a few tips that you can use to give yourself some time to recharge your batteries.
Communicate your needs
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some time to unwind, make sure that your spouse or partner knows. If you’re exhausted, what does that mean for the other person? If your family dynamic is like mine, and your spouse is the one at home all day with the kids, they are probably ten times more exhausted. Part of communicating your needs is setting clear objectives and expectations. How long you will be gone, how you will still find time for your children and spouse and how you will step up to give the other person time off are examples of things that should be discussed.
Find a time that doesn’t disturb the flow
After your objectives are set, find an appropriate time for your activities. For my family, my wife and I have worked it out that our therapeutic activities are done when our children are sleeping. Our therapeutic activity is going to the gym. I start my workout at 5 a.m. while my family is still in their sweet slumber. My day starts on a good note by giving me the endorphins I need to accomplish my duties. My wife is on the other end of the spectrum. She ends her day with a workout after the kids have gone to bed. She gets to release any stresses that have come with her day, and feels less stressed out the following day.
Trade off time away
My entire life, my family has been the proud owner of BYU football season tickets. Sadly, we only have tickets for my brother, my dad and myself. We will eventually get more so that my oldest son and my nephew (they’re five weeks apart in age) can go with us. Until that day happens, my wife and I have treated each home game as my time off from the kids. Because I get a four-hour block away from family, I in turn give her the same time away. This can be done in several ways. Often, I will take both children on an activity while mom relaxes with a nice bath and a book.
Raising kids is definitely one of the best things I have done, but it also can be very draining if you don't take care of your needs. It’s important to take some time to breathe and relax.