You shouldn’t have to sacrifice personal goals when having kids. Having personal goals can give you a purpose beyond being a parent, helping you to feel more fulfilled with life. It can also benefit your kids – by seeing you pursue your own personal goals, they’ll be more motivated to pursue their own goals as they get older.
Of course, juggling personal goals and parenthood isn’t easy. You need to make sure that your personal goals aren’t causing you to neglect your parental duties. Below are just a few ways to juggle personal goals and parenthood.
Let others babysit
In order to fully focus on your goals, there will be times when you need to get away from your kids. Finding someone who can babysit during these periods is important. You may be able to rely on a partner or a family member. If not, you may have to look into childcare services.
Putting trust in a babysitter who you don’t know can be hard and not everyone may be able to afford the cost. Taking time to build a rapport with a childminder and looking into financial support such as grants and benefits may be the solution. Sometimes it can be easier to wait until kids start school full time – you may then be able to pursue goals while they are at school.
Schedule time for yourself
Don’t rely on finding free time as it comes. Schedule time for yourself each week to focus on your goals – whether that be learning a new language, trying to lose weight at the gym or studying a course. A consistent weekly schedule could make it easier to arrange childcare if necessary and it may motivate you to stick at it.
Just when should you schedule this time? This is likely to depend on what your goal is and when you are most motivated. If your goal involves study or exercise, you may be able to schedule a couple evenings per week towards this goal, however some people may find that they have more focus and energy in the morning. Finding out when other people can babysit is also important – you may have no choice but to schedule time in the evenings if no-one is free to look after your kids in the morning.
Find ways to pursue goals from home
There may be ways of pursuing goals without having to leave the house. This could allow you to be close to your kids at all times. It could also cut out wasted time spent travelling so that you don’t have to give up as much time to your personal goals.
For example, if your personal goal is furthering your career, consider whether there are job opportunities that you can work from home. If your personal goal is to continue your education, you could consider taking an online course instead of commuting to a college. If your goal is to improve your fitness, consider whether there are workout regimes that you could carry out from home instead of having to work out in a gym. Of course, it all depends on whether you feel motivated enough at home.
Consider whether you can pursue goals with your kids
Sometimes it’s possible to pursue goals with your kids present. Your kids may even be able to pursue these goals with you.
A few examples could include learning a musical instrument together, finding creative ways to exercise together (such as family bike rides) or travelling the world with your kids. Even with infants, you can sometimes take your kids with you – while you may not be able to carry out certain jobs with a baby strapped to you, there’s no reason why you can’t exercise with your baby or travel with your baby.
Spare time to relax
Parenthood can take a lot of the energy out of us. The idea of dedicating what little free time you may have left to personal goals may seem too much of an ask – and that’s because it is.
It’s important that you’re still finding time to relax. On top of scheduling out time for your personal goals, make sure to schedule time simply for unwinding. If every waking moment is spent challenging yourself or being responsible for others, you’ll eventually wear yourself down – you need time to destress so that you don’t burn out. Allow yourself time each week just for doing nothing so that not every waking moment is being spent draining your energy.