Parenting is by far one of the most rewarding experiences in life, becoming a mother is nothing short of magical and there are so many moments that make this time in your life a time that stands out when you look back. However, there’s no doubt that it can also be massively challenging. The sleepless nights, hormones out of whack during postpartum, the general balancing act and juggling that goes on behind the scenes to look after yourself and your family- its a lot. So for this reason, it’s really important to make time for self care, regardless of where you are in your parenting journey. It’s easy to forget to look after yourself when you have so much going on with kids, work and family life but try to remember that you matter too. Not only will you be happier and healthier, but you’ll be better equipped to deal with any challenges and be the best parent for your children.
What can self care involve?
Self care can look different for everyone. Some people might want to get active, get outside and get some fresh air with some light exercise. If this sounds like you, a walk, bike ride or an outdoor class might be just what the doctor ordered. For others it might be the opposite, you might want to simply relax. Hot baths, reading a book, journaling or getting lost in a few episodes on Netflix could really help. Self care could involve putting time and effort into your health and appearance, so making time to hit the gym each week, or visiting the hair salon every couple of months might be what you need to feel like ‘you’. Pampering is a great form of self care, when you look good on the outside you’ll naturally feel more confident and motivated to get out into the world. Pampering could be something simple from a weekly face and hair mask at home, all the way up to a cosmetic procedure depending on what you want to achieve. The best age for facelift is 40 and beyond, but if you’re younger there are lots of great treatments and procedures out there if that’s what you feel like you want to do.
Finding the time
Finding the time for self care is something that most parents can find to be a problem. Usually, there arent enough hours in the day and it’s the reason we can neglect ourselves. But think of ways around the problem- do you have a friend or family member that would be willing to babysit? Could you and your partner alternate a day each week where you get some time to yourselves while the other watches the kids? Could you get more chores done during the day and leave yourself the evenings free to relax instead of cleaning up until its time to go to bed? If you’re in a financial position to do so, you could even look into hiring help- a nanny or babysitter could take over freeing up some precious time for you. You could also look into hiring help in other ways, such as using an ironing service or a cleaner which would mean you need to spend less time doing these things yourself.
If your kids are old enough to understand boundaries then it’s important to set them. You could put them onto a task in the evening or allow some tv time while you relax in the bath or spend some time on your own to unwind. Make sure they know that this is your time, and during this hour or so they should leave you to rest. Of course, this isn’t something you can do when your kids are little and need constant supervision. But as time goes by, encourage them to respect your boundaries and enjoy small bursts of free time. Sometimes, even a few minutes to decompress can keep stress levels at bay.
Involve your children
If you’re able to enjoy any kind of self care activities and involve your children at the same time then this is ideal, and can be fun for them too. Half an hour of quiet time for you all to read, do some coloring or watch something on tv together can help to calm the chaos of a busy household. Getting outdoors and walking or cycling together is another option. You could also take them to a park or soft play, they get to run around and play and you could bring a coffee in a travel cup and sit and watch them and enjoy some peace and fresh air. Work smarter, not harder! Any kinds of activities that you know that you all like doing can be an opportunity to get some self care time in as well as bond with your kids, so rack your brains and see what you can come up with that will work for all of you.
Each and every one of us is deserving of time to relax, enjoy hobbies and indulge in some self care. So grab the opportunity if you can, even if it’s only in short bursts while your kids are little. Call in on any support system that you might have, and see this as a bonus for your children too, as they get to spend time with friends or relatives and perhaps do different activities than what you might normally do with them.
As a mother, how do you ensure you’re looking after yourself? What ways do you like to enjoy self care?
A penny for your thoughts?