Take time for you. The importance of alone time away from your spouse and kids.
For some people, family is everything, which is why they spend the vast majority of their time with their spouse and children. After a while, though, some of these people start to develop a level of resentment towards their family that they cannot fully fathom. The fact of the matter is that everyone, no matter how doting a parent or spouse, needs time alone. We are not talking about days or weeks on end here, but rather a couple of hours per week that is reserved for something special that can be considered a little treat.
When you spend all of your time doing things for other people, you may begin to feel as though you are losing a little bit of your former self. We all, whether we know it or not, have an identity that separates us from everyone else, and it can quickly get lost if it is not nurtured in one way or another. Allowing that to happen can have a negative effect on your family life, as you will subconsciously begin to feel trapped in a life that you chose. That is not how relationships are supposed to work, and it is certainly not a healthy approach.
When you start to feel trapped and out of control, you may start to point the finger of blame at your spouse and kids, even though it is you who are responsible for not giving yourself some time away. Many people don’t take time to be by themselves because they feel as though their family won’t understand. Guilt can start to take hold, making it impossible to get out and do something that might actually break up the stress of constantly having to be a spouse and a parent. It is important that you don’t let this happen, as time spent alone is just as important as quality time with your spouse, your kids, or both at the same time. Absence makes the heart grow fonder is a saying for a reason!
The best way to start out is to talk about your feelings with your spouse, especially if you are beginning to feel trapped. Since time alone is something we all crave on some level, your spouse is sure to understand, and will likely take the opportunity to talk about their alone time. If you have a regular date night that you have together, you might decide that one of those nights could be reserved for time spent alone. A babysitter can be arranged for the kids, which is also good for them. Healthy child development requires all kinds of new experiences, and spending time with someone other than their parents is very good for them.
There is always the possibility that your spouse will not agree with you on the need for time spent alone. They may even get defensive and view it as a sign that you want to be apart from them. Talking to a professional couple’s therapist can really help in these situations, as they can act as a mediator of sorts, making it clear to both parties that alone time is healthy, as well as being positive for the relationship.