Parenting 101: Take care of you so you can take care of them
Counselling with parents often has a theme that starts with talk of exhaustion, frustration and feelings of inadequacy. Parents strive to do more with less. They have less time, less sleep and sometimes less patience. Quite honestly they put themselves and their own self care at the bottom of the “to do” list.
There is a whole market out there with “mommy” bloggers providing tips with meal planning, children’s parties, cleaning and even full sets of printables for household management. There are some pretty incredible ideas which any of us could use if we only had the time. Time is precious for parents in particular as they feel the crunch of work, family, social and emotional. Many parents of young children describe feeling overwhelmed and have an emotional bank account that is well into overdraft!
Relax: Remember your own needs
Parenting can be fulfilling but also draining. You will be be a more patient parent if you recognize your own needs. If locking yourself in the bathroom for twenty minutes with something to sip on and some essential oil in your bath is the key to becoming calm again, then do it. Ask your partner or a friend to watch the children while you de-stress. A bit of relaxation can do wonders for you.
Restore: Take a day for yourself
“What” you say, “a day for myself?! That’s not possible!” In an article from the Washington Post one stay at home parent took a day to go for a drive with music blasting, dance with their cousin and just take time for them. Restorative time is key, it is what builds that emotional bank account.
Rejuvenate: Do something that makes your heart race
This might mean to get yourself moving at the gym or it might mean a walk in nature with a camera. Do something you love. This can include the kids because they are a big part of what makes your heart soar. Take a family class or just plan an outing that you will enjoy as much as your children will. When the heart is full, life’s challenges don’t seem quite as difficult.
So, Relax, Restore and Rejuvenate and you will be ready to go again. You will be a kinder but firmer version of yourself, the parent you would like to be.