Becoming a parent is one of the most incredible experiences of anyone’s life. It completely changes things, and that’s more than just an old saying. It can alter the way you think about yourself, your partner, and life in general! While it can be a wonderful change, sometimes parenting can become overwhelming.

Whether you’re a new parent, or you’ve been raising your kids for years, it’s easy to sometimes feel as though your own identity has become lost. Once you have children, they occupy so much of your life, that it can be easy to ‘forget’ about your own needs, wants, and self-care. It’s important to find the right balance between putting your kids and family first, and remaining true to who you are. Balancing your personal needs with the needs of your family is necessary for everyone’s well-being. Use the tips below to find that ideal balance. Your whole family will benefit from it.

Learn Something New – For Yourself!

As a parent, you can spend so much time focusing on what your children are learning and how they are growing that you don’t take the time to keep growing yourself! Your mind still needs stimulation, and one of the best ways to do that is to learn something new. Try a new hobby, enroll in a course that interests you, or sign up for an online class. Something that interests you will keep you motivated to keep going. Whether you enjoy cooking, art, or anything in between, try learning something new within that field.

Reconnect with Your Working Past

Many parents stay at home to raise their kids. Others get part-time jobs or less-stressful jobs so their offspring can still be their main focus. But, you were probably once fully involved in the working world. So, why not reconnect with your old co-workers? This is especially important for new moms who plan on returning to work after a period of time. Keeping yourself at least somewhat involved in the working world, and with your own place of employment can be a nice distraction from the daily routine of raising kids.

Spend Time with Different People

It’s important for parents to spend time with other parents. There is a built-in support between groups of mothers and fathers that is hard to find elsewhere. No one can understand what you’re going through with your kids like another person going through the exact same thing.

However, it’s also important to have friends who aren’t parents. Before you had kids, you had a life of your own. That life may never be the same, and you may never be able to ‘fully’ get it back the way it was. But, that doesn’t mean it should be completely ignored. Take the time to reconnect with your friends who don’t have kids, and spend time with them when you can. They can help you to reclaim your old identity just as effectively as parent groups.

Finding Yourself Once More

The little things can really start to add up when it comes to being a parent and ‘losing yourself.’ But, everything from the clothes you choose to wear to the activities you do on a daily basis can help you to reclaim your identity and feel more like yourself again.

If you’re struggling with finding that balance, you’re certainly not alone. Together, we’ll help you find the balance between your family and your own identity. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have to redefine who you are throughout your life, but feeling like your true self throughout that journey is important.

Anna M. Hickey, Licensed Professional Counselor practices Counseling in Macomb Michigan. Anna’s practice, Life Transitions specializes in Counseling and Divorce Mediation.