Let’s Talk Self-Care

With everything we do as parents: working, cleaning, cooking, wiping little bottoms, being a snack dispenser or (my favorite) a human snot rag; when do we take time for ourselves? How do we take the time to replenish and re-regulate our nervous system while we have to worry over so much? How do we not feel the guilt of taking time to ourselves, to not feel selfish when we want to spend time alone or when we don’t want to clean up, cook dinner, or hear our name called over and over again?


First off, let’s be realistic, right? The cooking, cleaning and constant little voices calling your name don’t stop, but that does not mean that we have to be perfectionists when it comes to our responsibilities. And before someone says that I’m telling people to be lazy, or be neglectful; that’s not what I’m saying. I’m telling you that life will continue if your home is messy, that you have dishes in the sink, laundry that has yet to be washed, or if your kids ate chicken nuggets for the third time this week. If the house is still standing and the kids have been fed and are safe, count that as a win.


So, what do we do?


Prioritize! Figuring out what are the most important tasks; you know, those tasks that have to be completed or else your life implodes. For example: going to work, paying bills and making sure the kids needs are met; you make sure that those are done and then you can focus more on your self-care.


Why self-care is important


If we don’t take care of ourselves, we’re bound to burn out and if we burn out we’re no use to anyone. When we don’t take time to ourselves, we’re more prone to being irritable, more easily upset, more prone to overstimulation and can have tension all throughout our bodies. When we learn how to be more conscientious about what our bodies are telling us and engage in more self-care we can be more engaged and present with our children, work and family. Maybe we even prompt our family to do the same, teaching our children to be better aware of their bodies and when they need a break. Because, really we’re our children’s first teachers and role models. If we are mindful about what we’re doing and how we cope with stress our children will learn how to, too.



Self-care strategies


Okay, here me out, after all the things that are a priority to you have been completed you could stay up late and engage in some self-care; or you could wake up early to have some time to yourself to:


-workout (which also helps out with sleep regulation and mood)

-also, even if you workout for a short period of time, it’s still something and that’s better than nothing. You don’t need fancy equipment, there are plenty of websites, apps and YouTube videos that you can find that have bodyweight exercises, Yoga or Pilates


-take a bath


Whatever it is, be mindful, conscious about what you are doing and why you are doing. Even if you go into the bathroom for five minutes while the kids are preoccupied and do some deep breathing exercises, take it while you can get it!  But remember, don’t just turn off your brain; the point of self-care is to enjoy it and if you zone out, how are you going to do that?


When it just doesn’t work out

Sometimes, self-care just doesn’t work out; we’re interrupted, we’re tired, we ran out of time or we just plain forgot; but that’s okay. Self-care is not supposed to be another chore for you to add to your never-ending list of things to do; it’s supposed to make you relaxed not stressed. So, if it just doesn’t work out, don’t worry about it; there’s always tomorrow.


Feeling guilty

Sometimes when we take care of ourselves it can feel like we are being neglectful or selfish, but the last thing you need is to begin to feel resentful to those around you. Besides, you deserve to take time for yourself, you work hard every day to ensure that your children, home and family are well cared for. And if it helps, try re-naming self-care to something else like: self-compassion, self-love, a parent “time out”, Mom/Dad No Kids Allowed Club- you know, whatever feels good to you. And just remember self-care is not selfish.