I thought I couldn’t wait until I was raising big kids and had more freedom. In reality, I felt lost and lonely while parenting older kids. If you can relate, try the three tips at the end to find yourself again.
I spent 6 years drowning in diapers. Life was defined by perpetual spit-up in my hair, pacifiers in every crevasse of our house, and milk-stained nursing bras.
I worked a full-time job, so when I was home I dedicated every single breathing moment to bonding with my three babies.
Even though I walked around in a zombie-like state due to sleep deprivation and hormonal-induced cotton brain, I was undeniably happy.
I was needed. I was loved. And I was too tired to think otherwise.
Looking back, those were probably the happiest years of my life, but I didn’t know it at the time. At the time, I would day dream about future years when my kids were at least semi self-reliant.
I would fantasize about sleeping in on weekends. I would get giddy thinking about actually sitting down and watching a television show that wasn’t animated. The thought of having a conversation with my husband that wasn’t interrupted 800 times brought me hope.
Just like that, I am Raising Big Kids
As if teleported on a time machine, I am suddenly at that point in my life. Completely unsure of how I got here this fast.
While I am still far from being an empty-nester, and my kids still haven’t even reached their teen years, our home dynamic has changed significantly.
Even my baby, who I tried to hold on to as long as I could, wakes up in the morning, gets dressed and makes himself a bowl of cereal.
My three little best friends are suddenly ditching me like they are the popular kid’s kicking me out of their lunch table.
I am proud of the confident, independent, and beautiful children I am raising. Don’t get me wrong.
So, the question is: if I have been looking forward to this period in my life, why do I feel so utterly lost?
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Finding Yourself Again After Kids
I should enjoy my alone time, but I feel lonely.
After years of running around like crazy, I feel useless and lazy if I sit.
When I allow myself to sleep in on weekends, I feel like I am doing something wrong.
So, where do I go from here? How do I transition to this new phase of my life?
Instead of feeling lost, I decided to do these 3 things to find myself and reacclimate.
1) Focus on a New Personal Hobby
Instead of feeling lost without a baby in your arm, develop a hobby to look forward to.
You deserve to take some time to do things that you love. Expand your knowledge, learn a new skill, focus on personal health.
Some ideas include:
- DIY projects
Was there something you enjoyed before having kids? Is there an activity you have been too busy to try?
I dove into both photography and blogging. Writing and taking pictures make me feel like me again.
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2) Find a New Activity to do WITH Your Kids
Just because your children may no longer need you to wipe their bums or rock them to sleep, it doesn’t mean that all bonding experiences are over.
Either as a family, or with each individual child, designate a simple activity that you can do together.
There are called anchor routines and are an important part of your families foundation. Learn about anchor routines here.
Some ideas include:
- Reading books together
- Enjoying sporting events with one another
- Going on regular walks
- Enrolling in a cooking class
- Painting together
- Have a regular boardgame night
My daughter and I have lunch dates, and my sons and I catch baseball. We look forward to these special times together.
3) Rekindle Other Relationships
Now that you are raising big kids, it is time to revive some important relationships that you may have neglected.
Maintaining a healthy marriage post-baby takes a lot of time and energy. Your relationship may have been placed on the backburner – cooling to warm temperature – during the hectic years of raising young children.
Rekindle your marriage with some extra date nights, a new joint hobby, and some kid-free time.
In fact, many of your relationships may be suffering with neglect. Is there an old friend you can meet for lunch? Does you mom need some attention?
When your kids are busy, take the opportunity to show a little attention to the people you love.
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Final Thoughts on Finding Yourself While Raising Big Kids
After those hurricane years of bringing up babies and toddlers, you may be left feeling vulnerable and lost.
While that is a completely justified and totally common way to feel, you don’t have to accept it as your new mental state.
When you find yourself after having kids, you will be emotionally prepared to bond with them on an entirely new level and raise children who are healthy at home and strong in the world.
And you will start to realize that your relationships with those around you go far deeper than changing diapers.
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