As parents, we often say that we will do anything for our children. We work two jobs to make sure we can afford the ballet classes, trumpet lessons, and mental health appointments. There is little time for catching up with friends and family, as the evenings are filled with homework, baseball practice and different therapy appointments. Weekends are often spent acting as a personal chauffeur for the beautiful little humans. We devote ourselves to making sure our children are living their best lives, but what about us?
Parents are often burning the candle at both ends. We struggle to find the balance between, work, family, and social life. There never seems to be enough time in the day to accomplish everything. Dishes go undone, laundry is never put away, permission slips unsigned and calls never returned. The stress can become overwhelming. We become irritable and less tolerant of everyone around us, including our children. Our drive to make them the happiest and healthiest people on earth, can actually add stress to their lives.
What can parents do? Making time for yourself is key. Self-care involves both emotional and physical wellbeing. Is there something you really feel like you are missing? Maybe you would really like to reconnect with friends, your spouse, or just have time alone to watch a movie? Time needs to be set aside for engaging in an activity that brings joy or relaxation. It is not something that just happens, but something that is scheduled. Look at your routine and see where you can fit in time for you. Exercise can be something that impacts both physical and emotional health. When a person engages in physical activity, serotonin is released. This causes improved mood and decreased anxiety.
Self-care will lead to reduced stress, improved mood, more effective parenting, and an overall feeling of satisfaction. This is another time when it is important to remember that we are our children's first teachers. They are learning how to manage stress and make lifestyle choices based on what we are modeling for them. Show them that you take time to care for yourself, and they will likely grow to do the same.
This is not easy to do with so many demands being placed on us. I struggle with this on a daily basis. I have tried my hardest to make time for exercise throughout my week. I decided it was unlikely that I would be able to get to the gym without a child in tow. This became an opportunity to model self-care. I decided to have my daughter engage in personal training sessions, while I was already at the gym. I am getting the physical and emotional benefits of exercise, while allowing my daughter to do the same. I challenge you to find a way to fit self-care into your schedule.