Don't Let Your Baby Take Over Your Life

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Who's the center of your world?
When a baby is born, it's hard not to make them the focus of your entire life. They just need so much! But science has served up yet another warning for Moms who are tempted to fall into the "my kid is my everything" trap. It's going to ruin your life!

What? You were expecting the standard "helicopter parents" suck line that you're screwing up your kid by making them a self-absorbed prat who is afraid to do anything on their own (cough, I agree, cough, cough)? Yeah, that's what the researchers at the University of Mary Washington probably realized too -- and they probably realized no one was listening. So they turned the tables.

Listen up, y'all ... you still have a chance to save yourselves!

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The researchers looked at what happened to moms themselves when they lead a child-centered life and found the kids were sucking the life right outta them (my words, not theirs). Moms who practice what they call "intensive parenting," where kids are the be all and end all, were more depressed than their peers and less satisfied with life.

Yes, that's right, they are giving you a pass to be a little selfish. My advice from the land of mothering a 7-year-old? Take it. It will make you a better mom. I know it has for me (because trust me, no one liked screamy, cranky mom at all ... NO ONE).

I wanted to do it all at one point, but I have always thought that one of the most important jobs we have as parents is being good role models for our kids. And one of the things we need to model for them is how to find balance. Variety is the spice of life, as they say, and a mom who can balance her time between her kids and a little bit of "me time" is giving her kids the gift of learning how to pick and choose what is important.

But when I was with my kid 24/7, never letting her out of eyesight, and never having any me-time, I didn't do that.

Not to mention I was the aforementioned screamy, cranky mom who no one liked (seriously, my husband will tell you stories that could make your hair curl).

The more I gave up on the whole "I'm going to be her one and only," the better it got around here -- for her, for me, for my husband. She still gets a lot of my time and energy because I love her to pieces, and because it is impossible to say "nah, I don't want to cuddle with you" when she looks at me with that FACE.

But she also sees me go on an occasional date night with her dad (and without her). She sees me go on an occasional girls' night (Magic Mike coming right up!). And Screamy McGee doesn't come out ... much. When she does, I know I need a pedicure. Or a date night. Or something that does not involved children.

Be honest: when was the last time you indulged in YOU a little bit instead of your kids? Did you feel like a better mom after you did it?


Image via Biblio Archives/Library Archives/Flickr

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