We're often told that we can't take care of others unless we take care of ourselves. And, it's true. If we're constantly emptying out ourselves to fill up another, what do we have left in the long run? However, when you become a parent, your kids become your world. It's a challenge not to give them every second you have along with every ounce of energy inside you.
Samantha Ettus, best-selling author of The Pie Life: A Guilt-Free Recipe For Success and Satisfaction, said, "We live in an age of overparenting—we treat it as an Olympic sport." The mom of free also shared some enlightening words, "We're confusing the amount of time we spend with our kids with the quality of our parenting. The quality of your relationship with your child isn't directly correlated to the time you spend with them."
So, If you struggle with the balance of giving to yourself the way you do your kids, then keep reading. This is for you.
Self-Care Is Not A Luxury, It's A Priority
Taking care of yourself is essential to being a good parent. More often than not, the "mom-guilt" settles in whenever we put our own needs ahead of our kids. But, Kristy S. Rodriguez, a pre- and postnatal wellness expert and advocate stated, "The more we fill ourselves up, the more we have to give. And as moms, we have to give a lot." AMEN Kristy.
There isn't a single definition that determines what self-care really is but it can be thing like hitting the gym 2-3 times a week, dedicating an hour of your day to reading or a hobby, getting together with your best pals for food and/or drinks, keeping up with your annual wellness exams, and so on.
Make YOU Part of Your Schedule
Ettus explained, "Most of the things that are good for you are good for the kids. Adding in. "Having a happier, more patient mom is better for everyone." Plus, you're showing your children that joy and fun are important parts of life.
It might feel weird to pencil in "me time" however, with the busy schedule of being a parent, it'll only be a benefit to do so if you want to turn a every-now-and-then thing into a consistent positive routine. Rodriguez shared, "Determine what your quality alone time will be this week and then make a plan. Once you have a plan, figure out some motivation to keep that special time set. Create a no-cancellation policy with yourself."
And when the time comes for you to follow through with your plans, don't apologize for it. Ettus said it perfectly, "Instead of saying to your children, 'I'm so sorry I'm going out,' say, 'Guess what Mom's doing tonight? I get to go out with friends and it's going to be so fun!'"
Also by doing this, you're giving your partner time to be alone with the kids and build their own relationship with them.
Most importantly, don't feel overwhelmed about taking care of yourself. Giving to yourself should feel good so, start small. "Find five minutes. Start there. That's all you have to do," Rodriguez says. "Sit and look out the window. Lay down on the floor and reach your arms out to the sides, letting your heart open and expand. Meditate. Take a few deep breaths. These are just a few ideas—there are thousands more. Just start with five minutes."