Being a new parent doesn't mean your love is only intended for your little one. It's so easy to get wrapped up in their cuteness, or little giggle…or how about those eyes? But being a new parent demands so much, and often we lose track of all the other parts of our identity because of it.
Being a great parent means we find ways to honor our other parts. You see, we can only be our best selves when we give ourselves permission to take care of the different bits of our identity while also honoring the different roles we have. Truth is, the whole is better when we're nurturing the parts.
Think of yourself as a system, a machine that has different parts that need to be intact in order to function at its best. Now think of the different parts of your identity that make up that system:
Mother. Father. Partner. Friend. Daughter. Son. Sister. Brother. Marathon runner.
Cycler. Musician. Artist. Reader. Employer. Employee. Crafts enthusiast. Volunteer.
This just scratches the surface, but let's just take a closer look at one to make this make more sense.
If you're a runner but haven't gone running in a month, that part of the system is going to feel a little neglected. Think of running as an actual screw. If you're not honoring the part, the screw is going to start to loosen. Now it may not fall out just because it isn't getting tightened every day, but that loose screw will eventually make the machine not function at its best. Every time you go for a run, you tighten that screw. You honor it. And because of that, the whole system starts to operate better.
You have to do this for all of the important parts of your identity.
Whether you're into resolutions or not, this is a good time to check in with yourself. It's time to make deliberate efforts that honor the self, the couple and the family that communicate love to each part.
So as we start 2020 and are focused on goals and resolutions for the upcoming year, let's take a little time to identify and begin to honor the parts of our identity that are most important.
1. Make a list of ALL of the parts of your identity.
Big and small.
2. Circle your top five.
Think of these as the five you want to be your big screws.
3. On a scale from 1-10 (10 is best) rank how well you've honored each part for the week.
Some weeks will be better than others. Maybe you'll notice that two of your five screws consistently get more attention, or that one of your screws is always just barely being honored. You'll start to see where you may need to adjust.
4. Commit to doing one thing every week to honor and grow each part.
Making this commitment to yourself will help you prioritize yourself as you start to tackle your endless to-do list.
5. Add one new thing to your routine.
Maybe it's honoring 15 minutes before you go to bed for time that helps you honor one of your top five screws. If one of your top five is strengthening your relationship, this can mean cuddling, talking about the day, or taking a shower together. Or Maybe it's a good morning text to your partner once one of you is out of the house.
Do anything that honors that time together.
6. Set goals for yourself.
Using the relationship example again, make a list of three things you each want to be better at as it pertains to your relationship. For example, “I want to be a better partner to you by being a better listener. I will focus on understanding instead of trying to fix everything." Share these with your partner, and ask them to gently remind you when you could be showing up better.
7. At the end of every week ask yourself how you did and felt this week.
This is a beautiful way to check in and to hold yourself accountable.
“How was I as a partner this week?"
“What could I have done differently?"
“This week I'll focus on _________."
Being a new parent demands so much. It asks you to stop prioritizing many of your parts, but that does not mean you can't do small things often that support and uplift some of the beautiful parts of your identity.
You are more than a parent, and that is okay. It's more than okay, and you have all of the permission in the world to take care of yourself so that your system is functioning at its best.