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3 Unexpected Ways to Treat Yourself as a Parent

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Photo by Jordan Bauer on Unsplash

As parents, we can feel like our whole lives revolve around our children. We work ourselves into the ground trying to make everything easier and more fun for them—but we end up neglecting ourselves as a result.

Neglecting your own happiness and mental health will do nobody any favors, including your kids. When you are frustrated or stressed, they will feed off that energy and learn to mimic your negative behavior.

So, for your children’s sake as well as your own, allow yourself a treat from time to time. These ideas are a little unconventional (and some of them will be costlier than others), but here are a few surprising ways you can treat yourself:

1. Upgrade Your Bed

Before I got pregnant, I didn’t know the meaning of bad back. Now it’s the little things that cause the most pain, like bending over to pick up my baby from her bath or unfolding the stroller so that it locks.

Having the right mattress can really benefit anyone with back problems—plus you will just enjoy bedtime that much more when you have a mattress that matches your preferred comfort level.

2. Buy a Gym Membership

The first year with a baby can be rough on moms and dads alike, and that includes their fitness. I know that I have struggled to feel like I have time to hit the gym or resume my healthy habits, because all my energy is focused on caring for my daughter.

So even though it might sound less like a treat and more like hard work, a gym membership could be a blessing in disguise. Knowing you need to get your money’s worth from that membership can serve as extra motivation to go, and your workout can double as some much-needed alone time when you want to escape. Not to mention, you’ll feel happier and healthier as you get back into a decent fitness routine.

3. Take a Cooking Class

When I come home from work each night, cooking dinner is the last thing I want to do. I am not the type of person who normally likes to unwind by getting creative in the kitchen. I feel stressed and insecure when I have to cook for other people.

However, taking a cooking class removes that stress from the process. Not only can you socialize with other adults, but you can stop worrying about making everything perfect—you are there to learn, not to show off your skills. Give yourself permission to ask questions, to laugh at yourself along the way, and to enjoy time away from the kids.

Of course, there are thousands of other small ways you can treat yourself as a parent—whether it’s getting a pedicure or seeing a movie or just taking a few minutes for an afternoon nap. But sometimes you want something a little different, and that’s when these out-of-the-box ideas might come in handy.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.