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slides: Mum’s the Word: 4 Ways to Stay Youthful While Parenting

Friday, February 27, 2015


Lia and Briauna

You can be a good parent and still be young, full of life, and yes, covered in tattoos even. Photo Credit: Heather Terry Photography (Image Cropped).

When I became a single mother in 2011, I immediately began to have an existential crisis. 

For one thing, I had grown up in a conservative family with a pretty conservative group of friends.

So of course, there was that whole Scarlet Letter thing going on in my head.

For another thing, I was also fairly young when I had my daughter. 

I had just turned 22. So like Prissy in Gone with the Wind, not only did I not know anything about “birthin’ no babies,” but I didn’t know anything about raising them either.

See Slides Below: 4 Ways to Stay Youthful While Parenting 

I didn’t know how I was supposed to raise a child when I felt like I was still a child in so many ways. 

I looked at one of my tattoos in horror thinking, “I can’t be a respectable mother with this.” I’ll look like a hooligan, and everyone knows hooligans are not mothers.

(Side note, the tattoo in question is an outline of a bird. See beginning where I said I come from a conservative background.)

At the same time, I was also deeply afraid of becoming a parent because I could hear the Breakfast Club’s curse ringing in my ears, “When you grow up [become a parent]  your heart dies.”

I did not remove any tattoos, however.

Instead, I learned how I could remain youthful and have fun without remaining a child.

You can be a good parent and still be young, full of life, and yes, even covered in tattoos. 

Here are four recommendations for how to stay youthful while parenting (See slideshow below).


Related Slideshow: 4 Ways to Stay Youthful While Parenting

Here are four ways to stay youthful while parenting. 

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Play with your kid. I don’t mean take them to the park for them to stand awkwardly alone while you watch SNL clips on your Iphone. When I say play with your kid, I mean pull out the dollhouse or Legos or whatever your child likes and get on the floor with them and make believe.  Put away your smart device, step into a cardboard box, and journey with your child to Neverland.

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Pick activities that you both enjoy. For instance, just because you have a toddler doesn’t mean you have to go see terrible films like Rio 2. If you don’t want to see movies like that, trust me, your two or three year old will not hold it against you if you wait to take them to see something a bit more interesting, or with an actual comprehensible plotline at least, like How to Train Your Dragon or Paddington. Picking activities that are actually appealing to both of you might help you becoming better at intentionally engaging with your child.

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Take your son or daughter with you on outings that you would normally go on by yourself. There are some hobbies, like taxidermy and ventriloquism, that you might want to do solo. However, there are also lots of things that adults like to do that can easily be enjoyed by children. Some of these activities might be hiking, traveling, or getting pedicures. When we bring children into our worlds, we let them know that they are important. At the same time, we also let our friends, who might not have kids yet, know “Hey, see this little dude? He aint goin’ nowhere.”

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On the flipside, make time for a guys’ or girls’ night out. Our children are often our main priority, but that doesn’t mean they are our only priority. Making sure that we are in good mental health is just as important as making sure we are in good physical health. Children are incredibly intuitive, and they can sense when we are stressed, happy, or sad. They are also, bless their little hearts, incredibly self centered and often think those emotions directly correlate to who they are and what they’re doing. So, make time for yourself. Make sure you hang out with your friends to laugh, vent, and de-stress. You will be happier and in turn your children will also be happier knowing that Mom or Dad is smiling.


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