Self-Care for Parents
As a parent we often put our families first before ourselves, we’re all guilty of it, though we aren’t able to notice it unless someone else points it out. Are you going to be the one that points out to an overwhelmed mom that she needs to care for herself better? Ha, duck if you do! We parents know that we can be overwhelmed and look tired after taking care of our family, admitting it is actually the first step in fixing the problem.
While we do have much on our plates when children and family are involved, it’s still important to take care of ourselves too. Why? Simple, we can’t be there for our family or children if we let our health go down hill. That softball game in junior high, we will not be able to attend unless we start taking care of ourselves now. Check the list below on the how-tos and why’s of taking care of yourself, then decide if you are fated to become that parent in the crowd that cheers on your child or the one that isn’t there. It is within your reach to be that parent that embarrasses their child with unrequited love, you just have to grab it!
Take a Time Out
Taking a time out for yourself may seem like a far fetched idea, especially with school activities, doctor appointments, cooking dinner, working, getting the house in order and so on. But it’s really not, even if that time out consists of you sitting in your car listening to some music all by yourself with nothing to disturb you. While it may seem useless to only have a quick five minutes of quiet time for yourself, it’s not, try it, you will feel the difference.
Junior has a baseball game after school, your husband needs a load of laundry done for work tomorrow, you need to get to that doctor’s appointment for yourself that is long overdue, and the dog needs to be fed and let out. Schedule that long overdue doctor’s appointment while junior is at school and hubby is at work. Feed the dog first thing in the morning, get junior dropped off at school, and go to the appointment. That appointment is one of your biggest priorities because your health is at stake. Ask for help with picking up junior and taking him to the game should your appointment run over. Remember, none of these things can be accomplished if you’re too sick to get out of bed!
Ask for Help
You are NOT a one woman or man show, no matter what you think. You cannot do everything on your own or your health will suffer, your stress levels will be off the chart, and you can’t clone yourself. At this point, ask for help. Sure, no one likes to ask for help because it makes them feel weak, but you’re only human and not programmed to do it all. Ask friends, neighbors, and family members to contribute to what needs to be done. Grandma or Grandpa, maybe they can help with the transporting of the little ones to school or games or whatever other activities are on the calendar. Your spouse is perfectly capable of doing laundry and running a vacuum, and depending on the age of your children, they can help with feeding the dog and other chores. Make a chart for the wall or fridge and list everyone’s chores and what is expected. A family is a team, not just a one woman or man show.
Think small not large because the larger the plan, the better the possibility of it falling apart. A good idea for many parents is to wake up 30 minutes earlier than everyone else and do a little exercise even it your exercise is a quick walk around outside for a few minutes. If you’re lucky enough to own some exercise equipment at home, use it when you first wake up and then sit down while it’s quiet to gather your thoughts and take a few minutes of quiet time for yourself. You’ll be surprised how refreshed you’ll feel and ready to face the day. All it takes is 15 minutes and no matter how big the family or how much you have to do that day, you can find that 15 minutes to refresh.
Link-up with Other Parents
Online or physical parenting community’s can be found all over the globe with a little research. Joining an online group is as easy as clicking some buttons on your computer. Online parenting groups are a dime a dozen, and can be great for the help and support you might find yourself needing. Many parents go through the same thing and having that support and sharing your stories or ideas with like-minded people can give you the boost you need to handle everything you may be going through. Everyone’s story is different, learn from them and how they managed to cope with family life and what type of strategies are the best to use.
Be a Role Model
Every parent wants to be a role model for their children. Be that parent! Keeping yourself healthy and balancing family life is what your children need to understand as they grow up. By watching you and how you handle situations, will teach them how to behave when they become adults. Strive to show your children the best side of you and they will learn how to become functioning adults in the world. Those old adages, ‘I’ve become my Mother’ and ‘I’ve become my Father’ are tried and true still to this day. Be that parent!
Take Nothing for Granted
Many otherwise happy marriages fall apart because the parents are so focused on the children and lose focus of each other. If you’re lucky enough to have a spouse, be sure to focus on them as well. There was a reason you got together and stayed together, don’t throw it all away by forgetting about each other. Every week or so have a ‘date night’ with your spouse or significant other. Whether you go to dinner together or just sit with each other and decompress, be sure to remember, you have a partner that you can lean on. Never, ever take them for granted.
By prioritizing, asking for help, and remembering that your needs are even more important than your family’s, you can be there for your family. The urge to put your kids and family first is always on a parent’s mind, but you MUST keep yourself healthy and happy or all that you will find is resentment and a lot of stress by not taking care of yourself first. Your family will understand that you are human and in order to keep you around for a long time, you have to take care of yourself first and foremost so that you can take care of them for many years to come. By doing so, you will end up being that crazy parent in the audience cheering on your child, isn’t that what every parent wants?