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One of the things that many parenting experts stress is the importance of self-care. I know that the more exhausted I am, the more difficult it is for me to parent effectively as I become short-tempered and impatient.
It’s easy enough to acknowledge that I need to take time out for myself, but as a single mom and business owner, I really just don’t have the time or the energy to do anything more than collapse onto the couch at the end of every day. My kids are my priority on weekends and with finances being tight, I don’t have the money for a spa day or a night out with my friends. Thinking about finding the time for self-care actually makes me even more stressed.
I do make some time to exercise, I eat healthy foods, and I do my best to stay top of things, do I really need to do any more?
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Oh my gosh i certainly feel you here. I am a very busy mum of 7 and work fulltime. Finding time for self-care is so difficult but I do find that it is important for my mental health. When i have had some time to myself i feel like a much better wife and mother (and probably just nicer person in general). I do have to intentionally schedule this time or it doesn't happen but simple things like enjoying a relaxing bath on a Friday night and taking a morning walk twice a week do wonders for my mental health. Self-care is important for being the best version of yourself :)
Yes, you need self-care. It's like they say on an airplane, "put on your oxygen mask before you put on your own." You will be a much better parent if you take care of yourself when you can. But it doesn't have to be anything fancy. As a matter of fact, it shouldn't require any effort. Take an hour out of your day to watch an episode of a show you like. Dance to some music you love. Take a bath. Read a book about something you'e interested in. The most important part is do not multi-task. You time is you time. The dishes can wait. Take care of yourself. the better you are, the better off your kids will be.
I believe it is necessary, so you can be healthy and available for those who depend on you, but more importantly so you continue to value yourself.
Simple things can be included in your self-care, and they don't have to be routine, just do them and you can. Trying to fit more into your already busy schedule can just add more stress.
Here are some of the things which help me:
1. Read an article just for the sheer pleasure of learning something new. Bigthink.com is a good site for this.
2. Have a sweet tooth? Keep your favorite cookie or chocolate on hand at all times. Just having one piece can be a mood booster.
3. Spend an extra 5 minutes in your shower, just relaxing.
4. Sit outside for 5 minutes, no electronic devices, no interruptions, just sit and be still.
5. Allow yourself decompression time each night. Just 5 minutes before you get in bed to stretch out in the child's pose for yoga can be very calming.
Self care doesn't have to be extravagant, it just had to be tailored to you. Good luck with it!
When my children were young, my husband was pretty much hands-off with the kids' care and house. So I can somewhat relate to your situation. I worked full-time and was terribly stressed.
Acknowledging the need, eating right, and exercising are a great start to self-care. The one thing that I always felt that I needed the most during those days was time to myself. I just wanted to be able to read a book, take a nap, or take a long shower.
Perhaps you can arrange with family or other parents to take the children for a few hours every week to have some relaxing time to yourself. If other parents help out, be aware that you will need to repay the favor. But I always found it easier to watch my children if they had a friend around to entertain them.
You are wise to ask this question, and I hope you make yourself a priority in the long run. Your children are watching, and they will learn self-care skills along the way if you include them in the conversation on its importance.
If self-care stresses you out, then it's not self-care! Self-care can mean different things to different people. I'm a firm believer that allowing yourself to plop on the couch at the end of the night is a great form of self-care. You're letting your brain shut off and not forcing yourself to over-do it for the day. Whatever brings you a sense of peace, relaxation, and relief from the responsibilities is self-care in my book.
It's not always about getting to the spa or getting out of the house to do something without the kids. Sometimes, it can be as simple as buying yourself a new lotion, face cream, candle, or even some chocolates, that bring a sense of calm to your day. My favorite form of self-care is my nighttime face and lotion ritual. It's ten minutes of "self-care" that I do right in my bathroom just before bed. For other people, it might be jumping on an exercise bike for a 30 minute hardcore workout. Everyone is different.
So, don't try to force yourself to do things out of your comfort zone. Especially if you are on a budget. You'll end up stressing more. The fact that you're keeping yourself healthy, eating right, and exercising is amazing! Keep it up.