As a parent, your children come first. But that doesn’t mean that you should give up doing things solely for yourself. It’s important to still have your own personal goals. Perusing personal goals can help build confidence and motivation. It may also have a positive impact on your kids – they may be inspired to follow their own personal goals and may grow up to believe that they can achieve anything.
Taking on personal challenges whilst juggling the duties of parenthood isn’t easy. Many of us are unable to find the time or muster the energy to work towards personal goals. As a single mother with 2 small children, I’d much rather fall asleep after the kids go to bed than stay up working on self-improvement!
Fortunately, there are tricks that can help you to juggle the two successfully. Here are five common personal goals and how you can manage them whilst looking after your kids.
Pursuing a fitness goal
It seems like health and fitness are the easiest parts of your life to let slide when you’re busy. They’re also the most important! Parenthood also shouldn’t get in the way of fitness goals. Whether you want to lose weight or bulk up or complete a competitive sporting event such as a run or a mountain trek, you can still work towards this fitness goal whilst looking after kids.
One of the easiest ways to achieve your fitness goals is to get the kids involved. There are plenty of exercises that you can do with a baby as listed here at MomJunction – you may even be able to use a baby carrier to go on long walks with them. As for older kids, you can take up active family sports. This could include cycling, swimming, martial arts or simply playing ball games at the park. Your kids will keep fit in the process, allowing you to all feel the benefit.
Getting an education
Going back to school when you have kids can be a great decision. If your kids are in school, it may teach them the value of education and keep them motivated to learn.
Online courses can allow you to work flexibly around parenting so that you don’t have to attend set lectures and seminars. Nowadays there are online courses in everything – even nursing courses can be completed online as evident from this Baylor DNP program.
Finding the right time to study can be difficult, especially if you’re also juggling work. Some parents wait until their kids are in bed, however, not everyone may feel they can concentrate late at night. The best option could be to set a schedule and get someone to babysit whilst you study – this could be your partner, a family member or a friend. Keeping to a schedule will ensure that you get a suitable amount of study time in each week. Find a schedule that works with whoever is babysitting.
It’s worth designating a study space in your home where your kids aren’t allowed to go whilst you study. If you still find yourself getting distracted, you can go out to a library or coffee bar to study.
Chasing that dream career
Many parents can give up on job prospects. However, chasing that dream career could be good for your kids – if it earns you more money, it could allow you to treat your kids to more. It could also inspire your kids to chase their dream job later in life.
Most employers are sympathetic to the needs of parents and understand that working long and unpredictable hours may not be fair. Digital technology has also allowed many jobs to be worked flexibly from home allowing you to potentially juggle work and parenthood more easily. Don’t be afraid to request such privileges when applying for jobs.
If your kids aren’t in school or pre-school yet, you may have to hire a babysitter. Before accepting a job, make sure that you’re earning enough to comfortably pay for babysitting services.
Infants are ideal for travelling with as they often don’t have to pay for flights, not do you have to pay for extra beds (some hotels supply free cots, although you can always invest in a travel cot). Because they’re not in school, you also have the freedom to travel when you want. You may simply have to plan ahead more so that you’re avoiding dangerous areas and so that you’ve got all the baby supplies you need. A baby carrier could be worth buying to save taking a pram.
Traveling with older kids can be more expensive and you may be restricted to a week or two during school holidays. That said, they’re likely to appreciate traveling more and it could be an enriching experience for them as well as you.
Alternatively, if you need more an intense workout, you may be able to simply hire someone to babysit whilst going to the gym or going for a job. It’s worth setting a schedule – this will make it easier to hire a babysitter on a weekly basis and you’ll be more motivated to keep up your fitness regime. Share your fitness successes with your kids – they’re likely to feel proud knowing that they’ve got a supermommy or superdaddy and they could be more motivated to take up their own sporty goals.
Learning a new skill
There’s also nothing to stop you learning new skills as a parent. This could include learning a new language or learning a musical instrument or learning a hard skill such as programming. This may simply be a personal challenge, or it could be something to improve your opportunities.
Learning a new skill is something you may be able to do flexible in your own time – you only need ten minutes a day to learn a new word or phrase in another language or to learn another part of a song on an instrument. If you find it easier to schedule your time you can do. The internet meanwhile can serve as a great resource for learning.
In some cases, you may be able to learn new skills with your kids. This could include taking up foreign language lessons with your kids or attending group music lessons. This could be a chance to expand your children’s skill set as well as your own.