Here’s a parent self-care 911.
Moms and dads, it’s crucial for your own self-care that you don’t tie your own identity to being a “x” Mom or “Y” Dad.
You’ve heard this a hundred times before, I’m sure.
“The kids won’t be around forever. What are you going to do when they move out?”
And yet, let’s face it, we’re all SO GUILTY of not taking that brief time to ourselves (I know I’m certainly guilty of it).
I once went weeks without taking time to myself when my husband was traveling. When a neighbor offered to watch my toddler for a couple hours, I bee-lined out before she could change her mind. I went to a movie. By myself.
And it was AMAZING.
But just to be clear, self-care doesn’t mean taking hours out of your week to do something by yourself. It doesn’t have to be complicated. What is self-care exactly, then? Here’s some thoughts from bestselling author and self-care expert Jody Agard who wrote Mommy Reboot.
What is self-care?
At the end of the day, self-care is just a matter of showing up for yourself the same way that you do your kids.
Mom and dad, you should feel joyful, present, and connected to YOURSELF (outside of the titles that you have behind your name, like “mom” or “dad”).
And by the way, reconnecting with yourself will show up in your life in so many ways. You’ll be more present when you’re with your kids and your spouse, you’ll be happier, less likely to snap at your family members, and any feelings of resentment will melt away.
There are just two things you need to know about self-care.
Start Where You Are Right Now
When you have an infant, that child obviously needs you to survive. So the reality is that self-care is going to be a little harder. Those precious moments to yourself might be challenging to find.
But you can find them if you make self-care a priority.
You just have to start where you are right now. If five minutes is all you have while your baby is sleeping, then take it. If your child is a teenager, then find a way to squeeze it into your morning while he or she gets breakfast, or carve in some time after getting home from school before the craziness of homework and dinner prep begins.
It’s just a matter of making the time. Which leads me to the second point…
Stop Waiting for the Right Time
Have you ever found yourself saying, “When… I’ll start…” You can fill in the blanks yourself. We’re all guilty here.
“When my baby gets into the toddler stage and can play independently, then I’ll start a self-care routine.”
“When my toddler gets a little older…”
“When my pre-teen is a teenager…”
And it goes on and on.
The thing is, once you pass through a season of your life, there will always be another season. There’s always something that will keep us from prioritizing ourselves.
You have to ask “how can I show up for myself with where I am right now?”
Five minutes may be all you have.
Work with what you have and don’t use this as an excuse to put it off.
Final Thoughts on Parent Self-Care
Losing your identity doesn’t serve your marriage or your kids. So it’s crucial that we don’t lose who we are when we take on the role of parent.
Remember, your kids are always watching and they’ll love seeing you happy and joyful and being the best version of YOU. There are just a couple things to remember:
Start where you are right now
Stop waiting for the right time (the time is now)
What do you enjoy doing for self-care? Leave us a comment below.
Here’s 10 absolutely simple Self-Care ideas for any busy mom or dad (click-here).