Parenting is no joke. It’s patience draining, wildly consuming, and downright exhausting.Good thing our kids are so darn cute ; ) As the mom to a willful and wonderful toddler, I can attest that 95 percent of my brain space is devoted to keeping my kid alive and happy – the other 5 percent flips between highly important things like remembering 90’s song lyrics and spontaneous cravings for ice cream. So when how do I fit in the time and mental energy to think about myself? Pretty rarely.
Self-care is important for everyone, but for moms (and dads!) it’s easy to let it slide, and I’m definitely guilty of it. So I’m doing my best to make sure I still take care of myself so I can be at full strength to take care of my kid. Here are a few reasons why self-care is especially important for parents.
Everything is harder when you’re run down
Waking up to an energetic, starving, thirsty, and ready-to-burst-she-has-to-pee-so-bad toddler is downright impossible if I didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Did I mention she likes to rise with the dawn? But my daughter’s not the only one who needs a proper night’s sleep. I’m making an effort to get my own sorry butt to bed on time so I can wake up ready for a 6am dance party.
Feeling happy and healthy should be a given, not a luxury
To me, self-care is non-negotiable. It’s just as important as brushing your teeth, applying sunscreen, or that yearly doctor’s appointment we all dread. It’s a big part of your health – physical and mental – so make it a priority!
It sets an example for your kids
My daughter copies just about everything I do, including stealing some of my most-used phrases. “Two more minutes, Mom!” I’m hoping that my efforts to take care of myself will rub off on her as well.
Everyone deserves me-time
Not only do we all deserve me-time, but we all need it. After a night out with the girls, a calming morning yoga class, or five minutes locked in the bathroom scrolling through my Facebook feed, I always feel better.
Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint
The newborn phase was a hectic blur, the toddler experience is just plain mental, and it never really slows down. Once they’re in school there’s so many new things to keep track of and worry about, and I’m not even ready to think about the teenage years yet. We’re in this thing for the long haul, so make sure you’ve got enough stamina to keep going.
It will make you a better parent
Taking time to workout and stay active means I’m able to hoist my daughter up onto my shoulders for a better view of the world, or give her an airplane ride until we both collapse into a giggle attack. Taking time to hit the pause button and draw myself a bubble bath puts me in the perfect positive headspace for a three hour long tea party once I’ve towelled off. And stepping out of my mom shoes for a grown-ups only dinner only makes me more excited to slip them back on when I return for 17 bedtime stories.
Small moments make a big difference
Self-care doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment, it can’t always be a day at the spa. But setting aside even half an hour every day to do something that’s just for you might be the key to surviving (and hopefully enjoying!) a full day of parenting.
So, whether it’s waking up early for a few moments of peace, quiet, and coffee, brushing the dust off your gym membership card, or a weekly get together with friends, make self-care a priority. Your body, your brain, and your kids will thank you for it.