How to keep your me when it becomes we

Have you ever felt like this person? She feels overwhelmed and somewhat disconnected from herself. In a brief moment to ponder she asks, What happened to me when it became we?” This happens to a lot of people when they marry and start a family. It’s not gender-specific. Men have questions too. “What happened to the guy who liked to laugh, blast music and work out all the time?” “Losing me” happens without warning. Expectations of raising a family mount rapidly. Before you know it, your life is completely wrapped up in tasks: spouse, parent, worker, etc… These are very fulfilling roles. However, if you’re not careful, you can lose a sense of self. Personal margin can be reduced to a sliver. [Tweet “One of the biggest challenges facing couples today is balancing personal needs with family responsibilities.”]
Obstacles to finding time for me
One of the biggest challenges facing couples today is balancing personal needs with family responsibilities. The mental obstacles are often the toughest to hurdle. Here are three of the toughest:
  • Time obstacle – never seems to be any left over for me
  • Perfectionism obstacle – If I want it done right I might as well do it myself
  • Guilt obstacle – it would be selfish of me to abandon my family
Finding time for me benefits we
The reason why most people don’t take time for themselves is because they think that it will harm the family. So, they suck it up and dig in to the daily grind of doing for others and neglecting self. The problem with this approach is that you’re personal tank runs on empty. This often results in high stress, poor attitude, and quick temper. I think you will agree, this does not benefit your spouse or kids. Establishing “me time” in your week “helps”, not “hurts” your family. Finding margin to fill your tank will have a positive effect on everybody. You will likely have less stress and a more positive attitude when your personal tank is fueled.
Healthy relationships balance me and we
Before you married and started of family you were an independent person. You had personal interests and pursuits–these are things that connect you to your inner self. Later you added an interdependent self when you formed a committed relationship to your mate. This process of change is challenging because it requires accommodating each other without losing a sense of your self. Achieving a balance of independence and interdependence is a key to healthy relationships. Couples get quickly out of balance when they start a family. Many over focus on the needs of children. Kids’ needs are important but taken to an extreme is not good for them or you. The most important thing you can do for your kids is be a healthy parent. This is also true in marriage. Giving attention to “me” generates a healthy “we”.

how to keep your me when it becomes we

Here are 7 tips to help you keep your me.
  1. Accept responsibility to take care of me – you owe it to yourself first and your family second to take care of you. Your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health matters.
  2. Own your right to have time for me – advocate for your “me time” to your family. Help your spouse and kids understand that this is important. Don’t give in when they whine or complain.
  3. Start with something that is reasonable and achievable – it may be a morning walk or a soak in the tub with a novel. The key here is to find traction. You can establish rhythm later.
  4. Reintroduce things you stopped doing that you enjoy – I went back to work-outs and playing basketball. I’ve been doing it for 15 years. What is your retro hobby or activity?
  5. Try something new – my daughter started hot yoga. A mother a five can definitely use this as a stress reliever!
  6. Establish quality alone time – disengage from media and be alone with your thoughts. Go for a walk. Take time to reflect. Connect with nature. It adds premium fuel to your tank!
  7. Be kind to yourself – we can be our own worse critics! For this reason, many avoid spending time alone. I say change the channel. Make it a point to be kind to yourself. Think positive thoughts.
  8. BONUS TIP: connect with your faith – by far, the most significant way I connect with me is through my faith. Who knows me better than my Maker? Here I find the virtues of unconditional love, grace, and kindness. Inner peace is found in the solitude of one’s time with God.

Here are some resources

I offer a free guide to everyone who subscribes to my blog. It’s called, “The Guide to Remarkable Relationships: 5 Steps to Become a Healthier and More Present Partner”. If you are not a subscriber, you can fill out the form on the right. Very soon I along with my good friend Amanda Berlin, are launching “The All About We Podcast”. We address relationship topics for couples and parents. We will unpack this blog much deeper as Amanda and I really get into the challenges we face finding balance. Several episodes are done and we are days away from broadcasting on iTunes and on my website.

Now it’s your turn

Are you challenged to find your me in we? What strategy have you found that works for you? Feel free to post a comment below or on one of my social media sites.