Finding the lost parts of YOU as a Parent
Last week, many of my Clients, who, as you know are mainly Parents, spoke about a similar topic; without any prompting or guidance me from. Each raised how they feel they have lost parts of themselves, since becoming a Parent. Sure, everyone “wouldn’t have it any other way”. Naturally, they are besotted with their offspring! But, where are those parts of themselves that used to bring joy? Where has the spontaneity gone? Friendships, relationships, work identity. It all is seen through a different lense, where priorities, values and “stuff” all looks and feels very different. All of them verbalised a level of guilt about expressing themselves in this way, and struggled giving themselves the permission to even say some of the words and sentiments out loud.
Some Parents mourn the adventurous parts of themselves, the spontaneous travels or late night drinks with work colleagues. Mad weekends with their sister, last minute tickets to a Concert in Cambridge or Berlin. Some do try and find a balance between the old world (life BC – before children) and the new world (life WC – with children). Sure, we can hike with children, travel with small people, but searching for chicken nuggets in a romantic European City, or having to haul a 24kg child, as well as a hiking rucksack, isn’t exactly the picture that many Parents dreamt of.
Some space for reflection is key here, with or without a Coach. Taking time to really consider where you are, how you feel, what you miss and why. Sitting with that, allowing yourself those feelings and thoughts, without judgement. If you can’t be real with yourself or your Coach, who can you be real with? Here you may even do some exercises around Values or Priorities; these shift over time. What makes You… well You?
Some of my other clients find that their life lacks JOY, as they are always so busy with schedules, play dates, classes, afterschool clubs, meals and prep, household chores and family life. No one truly wants to spend their evenings regularly tidying away plastic, noisy toys. So listing the things that truly bring you JOY, even if it is just a wish list for now. The things you used to love doing, and things you might like to do if possibilities and resources were endless.
Breaking that down, finding time to build in one or two small things that will bring you some joy, some peace, some sense of balance. Just tweaking space or time slightly, so that there is some wiggle room for fun, creativity and laughter. Even some level of spontaneity.
Making time to reconnect with people who are important to you is also key. We are meant to Parent in collaboration with a partner or wider group, say family or community. Parenting in isolation can be really tough on all parties, so if you don’t yet have a tribe – find one, or even, find more than one.
Between really noticing your feelings, allowing space for reflection, listing things that bring you JOY, and putting some time into connection, these actions will show you some small steps that you can take, to start to bring the YOU back into the life you have now.
If you would like expand on the above and have an Initial Call with me to hear more about Coaching, and see if we gel. Get in touch!