How to Feel Like Yourself Again After Becoming a Parent

written by RACHEL GATES
how to feel like yourself again after becoming a parent"
how to feel like yourself again after becoming a parent
Source: ColorJoy Stock
Source: ColorJoy Stock

When you become a parent, your life turns upside down overnight. A baby brings an avalanche of new responsibilities and pressures that quickly force us to reprioritize how we spend our days—and that often means that the activities we enjoyed pre-parenthood must take a backseat to a long list of child-care duties.

I quickly found myself overwhelmed with guilt and often frustrated that I had lost a sense of myself when my twins were born. When days are filled with bottles and diapers, it is easy to forget what we enjoyed pre-baby—but those things are exactly what makes you, you. Prioritizing the time to do things that you love allows you to be the best parent you can be. We’ve pulled together our favorite strategies to help you rediscover yourself, all while embracing the (amazing!) changes that come with parenthood.


How To Feel Like Yourself Again After Becoming a Parent


Reconnect With Your Partner

Parents have a never-ending to-do list and if you’re in a relationship, carving out time to spend with your partner is an easy thing to constantly push to the bottom of the priority list. That consistent de-prioritization can lead to feeling more like a roommate than a partner. Navigating your postpartum identity, while grappling with the lack of free time, makes it difficult to create space for anything else—but dedicating time to check in with each other is such a great way to feel anchored to your pre-parenthood relationship.

Try picking one night each week to be “date night” and lean into the time together. Whether you invest in a babysitter one night a week to get out of the house or commit to cooking dinner and watching a movie together, the act of dedicating the time to each other is so important to staying connected and having an outlet to talk through any challenges.


Embrace a Self-Care Routine

My twin boys are almost 2 years old, and there are still some mornings that I don’t look at myself in a mirror until after they’re out the door, dropped off at daycare. In the midst of parenthood, it’s so easy to forget the sense of self-worth that comes along with dedicating time to our physical and mental health.

Seemingly small things, like taking an extra few minutes after a shower to moisturize and put mascara on, can make a huge difference when it comes to starting to feel like yourself again. Movement can also do wonders for our mental health. But if you find it difficult (or like me, impossible) to find time to do any type of exercise at home, find a local fitness class that you can pre-schedule (a gym with onsite childcare is a plus!) so you have an hour to focus on your body without any other responsibilities looming in the room.


Leverage Your Support System

Friends and family members are the most important sounding board you have as a new parent. That support system can take many forms, especially if you’re single parenting. Local support groups, social media connections, and family members can all serve an equally impactful role in your parenting journey. Having people to talk to that knew you pre-parenthood, or are at a similar stage of life can help mitigate feeling alone.



Revisit a Pre-Parenthood Hobby or Interest

It’s completely normal to feel lost after becoming a parent. When we no longer have time to dedicate to the activities that made us happy pre-parenthood, it can quickly lead to a bit of an identity crisis. What do I enjoy outside of being a parent? Reconnecting with hobbies is an easy way to tap back into your pre-baby self. Focus on small time increments—dedicate 15 minutes to scroll through Pinterest for interior design inspiration, or curl up on the couch and read a chapter of a book. Any amount of time that you allow yourself to spend alone, guilt-free, is an amazing way to reconnect with yourself.


Start Something New

Then again, life after a baby can feel different. Activities and hobbies we spent time on before, may no longer feel relevant or interesting in the new context of our lifestyle. And that is ok! Feeling like yourself after becoming a parent doesn’t have to mean diving back into your pre-parenthood hobbies. Instead, it could mean discovering who you are as a parent going forward. What makes you feel happy? Maybe it’s spending time reading the best parenting books, or going on a long walk while listening to a podcast. Lean into this new phase of your life to explore new interests you find worthwhile.

The journey into parenthood looks different for everyone, but it brings along a significant change to day-to-day life regardless of our situation. It’s really hard to do when you’re in the trenches, but making time to check in with yourself will make you a better parent. Our kids need us to be physically and mentally healthy for them, and carving out time to reconnect with yourself can help achieve that balance. With kids in the house, just 15 minutes of “you time” can feel like a rejuvenating vacation away, and reinvigorate your sense of self-identity and confidence.

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