Between working all day and running the kids between home, school, and their many other activities, it can be difficult for today’s parents to find time to take care of themselves. The end result? When you spend most of your time making sure your kids are happy and healthy, there isn’t much time left over for you to think about your own wellness.
But the reality is your wellness is essential. If you aren’t your best, you may not be able to be your best for your kids. For struggling parents, here are a few dos and don’ts to help you take better care of yourself.
Do make quiet time a must. When you’re running to and fro trying to get the kids to all their scheduled activities and spending the majority of your time at home feeding them, checking homework, breaking up arguments, and so on, finding time to yourself can seem impossible. But as the parents who provide tips in this TodaysParent.com article on self-care note, quiet time is key. Find ways to get some time to yourself so that you can reboot.
Don’t hesitate to get away from the kids. Often, when parents find that they’re needing some time away from their children, they feel guilty. But they shouldn’t. As FamilyDoctor.org notes in this Q&A, it’s perfectly normal for parents to get frustrated. If you’re in a two-parent home, it recommends that you work with one another to give each other a break from the kids. If you’re a single parent, enlist family and friends to help you out.
Do treat yourself like you would your child. PsychologyToday.com provides great advice for parents who are struggling to make time for self-care—care for yourself as you would your child. Would you ignore your child’s need for a nap? No. Would allow your child to skip a meal because they had too many chores or too much homework to do? No. So, don’t neglect yourself in that way. When you have everything you need, you’re better able to give your child everything they need.
Don’t say “yes” to everything. Though its advice is for single parents, this About.com article gets it right for all parents. Sometimes parenting means fielding a barrage of requests. Your kids are asking if their friends can spend the night. Your child’s school wants to know if you can help organize the upcoming fundraiser. And on and on. As the article notes, you do not have to say “yes” to everything. It is perfectly okay to say “no” to requests, and you don’t owe anyone an excuse!
As a parent you want your children to be happy and well, and you’re willing to give everything to that cause. But it’s important to remember that their wellbeing depends on your wellbeing. Taking care of yourself and making smart decisions on how you use your time should be top priorities.