Yes, it’s okay to have a life that doesn’t always revolve around your kids
There are lots of things that are challenging about being an adult—bills, jobs, and having to decide what to make for dinner every night are just a few of them. Studies have shown that parents in the U.S. feel some of the highest levels of burnout in the world, and oftentimes these less glamorous tasks can take over and lead us to lament the drudgery that is adulthood.
One way to combat those feelings of parental burnout is by having activities, interests, and friendships outside of your parental responsibilities. Parenting expert and psychologist Dr. Lucie Hemmen recently took to TikTok to explain what a gift it is for older kids to see at least one parent showing them what’s great about being an adult. Although she directly addresses teens, we think the message applies to those elementary-aged kids as well.
“Teenagers, simply put, get so much out of having at least one parent making adulthood look good to them,” explains Dr. Hemmen. “When you express joy or interest or curiosity about anything in your life, you are showing your teenager that growing up is a cool thing. That being an adult is a cool thing. That living life can be really fun. And that is just so important for teenagers.”
Dr. Hemmen gave this list of things you should be sharing with your big kids:
- pursuing your own interests
- having adventures
- continuing to model growth and a zest for life
- starting new projects
Kids need to see that we continue to learn and grow, even as adults. Plus, taking time for yourself leaves you refreshed and ready to tackle the relentless of parenthood when you return. In addition, modeling healthy relationships outside of your family unit shows your kids what it is like to be a good friend so that they can do the same themselves.
Having independent interests has a second benefit that shows up when your kids become teens and naturally start pulling away from you. As the experts at Grown and Flown have explained, parents who have friends and activities they enjoy without their kids often feel less abandonment when their kids head off to college or onto the next part of their adult life.
Consider this a sign to finally pick up crocheting or go on that solo trip you’ve always wanted to!