Dear Kerry

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One of my goals for the new year was to learn to better organize my life so that I take some time for me. I need to make friends and also feel better about myself. But as a mom of three kids and a wife, I’m feeling a lot of guilt. How do I stay connected with my partner and my kids, and still give myself a break once in awhile?

-Karen D. in Mason

Societal pressures can make women feel as though they are expected to have it all together.

You need to understand that you must take care of yourself first in order to best take care of others. In addition to getting your regular water intake daily, be sure to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet and sleep when you can. This will give you the energy to keep up with your kids and get through the day. Take care of your general health by seeing a therapist regularly as well as your entire medical care team to make sure your body is running just how it should.

Get organized by keeping a family calendar. One on the wall for the entire family to see and one in your phone for just yourself and your partner. This will help with planning for child care, pickups, drop-offs and conflicting schedules. Once all the scheduling is set, make sure to set some time for yourself and with your partner. This added organization will help you be more present in the moment, be it with your partner or at your kids’ sporting event, because you know the logistics of your life have been worked out.

Plan date nights to nurture your couple relationship. Sometimes getting out of the house is the best medicine, so get yourself a babysitter you trust and get out of the house at least once a month. Date nights at home at least once a week are a must-have as well. Pick an activity one the kids are in bed like watching a TV show, playing a game or even having a happy hour all your own to connect with your partner on a weekly basis so you can spend some quality time together.

Join a parenting group to increase socialization for yourself and your kids. Some groups focus on play dates like a moms’ group, others on education like a local forest school or a field trip group. Get on the internet and find the right group for you to get you and your kids out of the house and to enrich your days by being around other moms with similar interests.

Feed your own personal interests so you do not lose yourself in parenthood. Join a workout class, running group or a local gym if being healthy fuels your soul. Find local interest clubs like book clubs, knitting groups or scrapbooking meetings to get yourself out of the house on your own and enjoying something that is just for you.

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