Child sat on shoulders of parent

5 things we accept as normal when we become parents, that aren’t.

In a single moment you’re a parent and nothing will ever be the same again as this little person needs you for everything.  It’s a lot of pressure and can send many of us spiraling.

Those first few days when everything is focused on your little one turn into weeks, months and years and we can and often do forget about ourselves.

Our identity changes, who we thought we were shifts as we make room for another little being and it can take us months and years to be completely comfortable with who we are again. Through all this, it’s so very easy to lose ourselves.

We forget to do things for us and with this comes all the things that as parents we just accept as being normal and part of the job.  BUT WHY???  Why do we just accept it?

There is no reason why all these things should ‘just be part of the job’ especially when it means less care and compromises our own health – physical and mental.

Here are 5 things that aren’t ‘part of the job’ and you can do something about and change for yourself starting today.

Having a weak pelvic floor

Some of us don’t have much change in our pelvic floor but for some of us it becomes non-existent and it also becomes a bit of a running joke between friends and other parents.  ‘Don’t make me laugh, I’ll wee’.  ‘I had to run to catch up with the little monster and I wee’ed a bit!’  ‘I’ll come to the gym with you but I’m not doing anything where I have to jump because I’ll wet myself.’ ‘oh goodness a little bit of wee came out then when I coughed’.

There are so many things that we just accept and it makes me sad but also my blood boil that this is what we’re led to believe is normal and OK.

It’s not ok or normal to have a pelvic floor so weak we have to go to the toilet immediately. The same as it’s not ok or normal to completely forget about ourselves when we have children and focus all our time and energy on our little ones with nothing for ourselves.

If you’re unsure about your pelvic floor and what you can do to start improving it today you can download a freebie here with all the info.

Being judged and shamed

This is not OK and shouldn’t be normal although unfortunately, it is.  We hold the most important jobs in the world yet we are shamed for our feeding choices, discipline choices, parenting styles, our age, how we sleep, whether we work or stay at home, what our bodies look like, birth choices, whether we make home-cooked meals or not and many more things that I’ll not list here as it will go on for pages.

It belittles what parents do and contributes to parents also feeling that way.  What is more infuriating about this is that it seems to be predominantly parents that shame and judge other parents. 

I challenge you to stop being judgemental.  We all do it, it’s ingrained in us to a certain extent and so it takes time and work to stop doing it but you can start today by keeping yourself in check.  Recognise when you’re being judgmental and start an inner dialogue about it. If you hear others shaming other parents then be the one that stands up and asks them to stop.  That’s a hard one I know and only do what feels ok and right.  In the meantime you do you and I’ll do me and everyone can do themselves too.   

All focus being on our children

In the 1940s and 1950’s and the post-war era, life started to become centered around family and the family was centered around the children and this has only grown.  This has meant that by the time the baby boomers were having their own babies in the 80’s and now as those babies have had their own children our society became even more child-centric.  Gone are the days of being seen and not heard and we are much more focused on our children’s wellbeing.  There is nothing wrong with this at all but I do wonder if as an 80’s child who now has their own children if we’ve gone to an extreme with this.

We have very little time for ourselves as we pour all our time and energy into our children and the tone is set as soon as our children are born. Very few people come to visit us as the parents or come to hold us and make sure we’re dealing with this huge change ok, they come to hold the baby, coo over them and buy them gifts while we host guests just days or even hours after giving birth.

This isn’t the case for everyone but I’m sure most of us have had that guest that expects to be waited on and thinks we should be up and about back to ‘normal’ straight away because we’re looking after a little person so we have to be.  Our bodies have just gone through a huge thing no matter what kind of birth we’ve had.  We should be resting and being waited on and held so we can hold our own babies.

This focus doesn’t change as our children grow and all of a sudden we find we do nothing for ourselves and rarely look after ourselves either which leads nicely into the next point.

Not having any alone time ever

This is one that I find a lot of parents feel difficult to muster up the energy and confidence to do.  From being anxious about leaving their children with another adult to feeling guilty that they’ve left their children, there are so many reasons why we might not want to or feel we’re not able to take any alone time or do something for ourselves until our children are much older.

It takes practice.  The first time for me was a military operation with schedules and expressing and making sure bottles were prepped and notes and check-in calls and it was a stressful time. Not the time I really needed BUT if we don’t start then it won’t ever get easier and by the time you really do need some time alone for your own wellbeing, the stress of the whole event might be the thing that tips you over the edge.

Start small and build up.  You might feel that you don’t need it right now but there will come a time when you do and you’ll wish you’d put in the practice beforehand.

Being the perfect parent we envisaged we’d be before having kids

Let’s just get this out of the way.  The perfect parent does not exist.   They don’t, because it’s not possible to be one.  We all have days when we’re winning and we feel like the best parents there could ever be but those days will always be paired with not so great days and bloody awful days.

Trying to cook the most organic and nutritious foods, provide the best activities, outings and experiences, keep our kids clean and well dressed, keeping ourselves looking our best while maintaining and wonderful home and environment for our children – it’s just not possible to do this all at the same time.  Even with help it’s still a rollercoaster of good and bad days.

The best thing to do is to roll with it.  Our best is good enough.  Our kids see us as perfect whatever we do and so we can feel whole and full in the knowledge that to our children we are perfect, regardless.

Having kids can and does turn the world on its head. It’s tough and exhilarated all at the same time.

You might have heard me banging on about this year being the year of YOU and well I’m going to keep on banging on about it until we start to realise that we as parents NEED to look after ourselves.  We have needs too that must be met as well as our children.  It’s not a luxury to meet those needs it’s a must.

And as a side note as having a reason attached to the wellbeing of our children makes it easier to act on them – in order for us to be able to have happy, balanced and rounded children, we need to be happy and balanced ourselves. 

If you want to join my tribe where there is truly ZERO judgement, 100% support for YOU and with an indirect benefit to your children then come over to DILAM and find out what you (and your kids) can get involved in.

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