Self-Care Ideas for Parents of Littles
Until we’ve had first-hand experience with life with little ones, it's hard to imagine how truly all-consuming a daily routine can become. Whether a parent works from or outside the home, day-to-day obligations like job demands, errands, and after school activities can leave us a little more than exhausted. Evenings often include dinner, bath time, and homework, and after prepping lunches for the next day or folding that load of laundry that's been sitting in the dryer just a little longer than we’d like to admit, it's no wonder parents may often lose any semblance of alone time we likely took for granted pre-kiddos.
Self-care is a trendy buzzword lately, and it means different things to different people. For a brand new mom, it may be as simple as handing baby to a loved one so she can get a precious hour of sleep. For a working dad of three, it may be hitting the gym to relieve some stress a couple times a week during a lunch break. The bottom line is that self-care is whatever we need it to be–mental, physical, emotional or spiritual, so that we can continue to be that super mom or dad without losing our individual identities in the busyness of parenthood.
Here are some tried-and-true self-care ideas from some of our readers:
“Once a week counseling has helped me a lot. I also go to Bible study once a week, and give myself at least thirty minutes of TV during my daughter’s naptime. I’ve learned to be okay when it comes to indulging once in a while, and to try not to feel too guilty for a sometimes messy house.”
“I put myself in time out so I can have quiet reading time, I work in my planner, I go for a walk by myself in my neighborhood, get a pedicure.”
“Bath with my glass of wine at night after tuck in, shopping trips–even to the store, dinner by myself or with a friend. My hubby likes to go for runs, play his guitar, and go hunting!”
“We take at least two trips a year without the children. I go to the gym for an hour four times a week. I get up every morning fifteen minutes before the kids and have ‘me time.’ Once a month while they’re in school, I get a facial and massage.”
“Bedtime at 7:30! I use that time to catch up on chores, read, and spend time with my husband. It really helps me enjoy every minute with my child during the day because I know I’m going to miss her when she goes to bed.”
“Rest. Drink coffee. Set up ‘mama time.’ For me, that means not allowing games, TV, or video watching on Saturday mornings while I have mama time to drink coffee, choose what’s on the radio, etc. My older son knows that’s my time, and now he even comes out and joins me with a book and says, “here’s some music you will like.’”
“Every so often I take a break where I can focus on work, get a hair-cut, massage, etc. on Tuesdays. If not that, sometimes I will take ten minutes during my son’s nap or when he goes to sleep and sit and try to empty my brain for ten minutes and focus on breathing. I also recently got a breathing and mindfulness app that makes me center in on breathing and relaxing. When I can, I treat myself out to a dinner alone and a nice glass of wine. No kids, no other people. Just me.”
Whether it’s just a good book and a glass of wine after bedtime, a monthly massage, or even an annual trip while the kiddos stay with grandma, self-care can be something essential to our physical and mental well-being. If the concept seems overwhelming, or even a little guilt-inducing, start small. And remember, that when we are at our best as parents, not only are we able to give our children the best of ourselves, but we begin to show them the kind of people they will want to aspire to be.
What do you do to make time for self-care?
Author: -Rachel Robert-