10 Tips for taking care of yourself when you’re a parent (without feeling guilty)
Being a parent is an amazing privilege but, let’s face it, it’s a pretty chaotic job too! Amidst the endless diaper changes, temper tantrums, and never-ending to-do lists, it’s easy to forget about one very important person: yourself. Yes, you heard me right! As a parent, it’s so important to take care of your own needs and make time for yourself.
I know what you’re thinking, “Easier said than done, right?” Yep, we hear you but we’ve got some great hacks for helping you navigate the self-care maze without a hint of guilt. Heads up: You may want to take a print of this and stick it on the fridge as a daily reminder.
1. Accept that self-care is not selfish
First things first, we need to debunk the myth that self-care is selfish. Repeat after me: “Self-care is not selfish.” It’s a necessity, a fundamental part of being a happy and healthy parent. Just like they say on airplanes, put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others. You can’t pour from an empty cup, my friend! So, let go of that guilt and embrace the fact that taking care of yourself is not only beneficial for you but for your entire family.
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2. Embrace the power of small moments
Okay, let’s be real here. As a parent, finding large chunks of time for self-care can be as elusive as a unicorn sighting. But fear not, because the secret lies in embracing the power of small moments. Instead of waiting for that perfect day off, start incorporating self-care into your daily routine in bite-sized portions. Take five minutes to sip your coffee in peace, indulge in a relaxing bath after the kids go to bed, or simply enjoy a good book during naptime. These moments of joy can make a difference in your overall well-being.
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3. Get support from your village
Remember that old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child”? Well, it also takes a village to support a mother. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help when you need it. Whether it’s your partner, family members, friends, or even fellow parents in your community, lean on your village for support. Arrange playdates, share babysitting duties, or simply have a venting session over a cup of tea. Having a strong support network can lighten your load and provide you with the time and space to focus on yourself guilt-free.
4. Prioritise and delegate
Let’s face it, we can’t do it all, nor should we try. One of the keys to finding time for yourself is learning to prioritise and delegate. Take a good, hard look at your to-do list and identify tasks that can be handed off to others. Perhaps your partner can take over bedtime duties a few nights a week, or maybe the kids can lend a hand with age-appropriate chores. Remember, you’re not alone in this parenting gig, so don’t be afraid to share the load and create more breathing room for yourself.
5. Carve out me-time in your schedule
Now, this may sound like a no-brainer, but trust me, it’s worth mentioning. In the chaos of everyday life, it’s so important to carve out dedicated “me-time” in your schedule. Treat it like any other appointment or commitment and make it non-negotiable. Whether it’s an hour-long yoga class, a walk in nature, or simply a quiet moment with your favourite hobby, having regular, uninterrupted time for yourself is like hitting the refresh button on your soul.
6. Embrace the art of saying “No”
Here’s a hard truth for you: you can’t do it all, and you certainly can’t be everything to everyone. So, it’s time to embrace the art of saying “no.” It’s okay to decline that extra committee meeting or politely decline that playdate invitation when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Remember, by saying “no” to things that don’t align with your priorities, you’re saying “yes” to yourself and your well-being.
7. Find joy in everyday moments
Self-care isn’t just about indulging in luxurious spa days or extravagant vacations (although those are nice too!). It’s about finding joy in the everyday moments of life. Take a moment to relish in the laughter of your children, savour the taste of a delicious meal, or dance like nobody’s watching to your favourite tunes. These small, joyful moments can nourish your soul and remind you of the beauty that surrounds you, even in the midst of chaos.
8. Discover what truly lights you up
We all have activities or hobbies that ignite a fire within us. Whether it’s painting, cooking, writing, or simply going for a long walk, take the time to discover what truly lights you up. Make a list of activities that bring you joy and prioritize incorporating them into your routine. Remember, self-care isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept, so find what works for you and run with it!
9. Embrace imperfection
Parenting is messy and perfectly imperfect. So, give yourself permission to let go of the need for perfection. Really, do yourself a favour and do it now. Embrace the messy house, the unfolded laundry, and the chaos that comes with raising little humans. Accept that sometimes self-care means letting go of the idea that everything has to be picture-perfect and revelling in the beauty of the imperfect moments. After all, life is messy, and that’s what makes it beautiful.
10. Be kind to yourself
Last but certainly not least, be kind to yourself! Cut yourself some slack, celebrate your wins (no matter how small), and practice self-compassion. Parenting is hard work, and you’re doing an amazing job. Remember, you deserve love, care, and respect, especially from yourself. So, give yourself a pat on the back, remind yourself that you’re doing your best, and show yourself some much-needed kindness.
So there you have it! Self-care for mothers doesn’t have to be a guilt-ridden, unattainable dream. By embracing the power of small moments, seeking support from your village, and prioritising yourself, you can create a healthy and sustainable self-care routine.
Remember, you’re a superhero in disguise, and taking care of yourself is not only a gift to yourself but also to your entire family. So go ahead, give yourself permission to shine and make self-care a top priority.
Javeria Adenwalla Follow +
Javeria is a writer, a yogi and an absolute lover of life. She reports live from the trenches of motherhood, stepping on metaphoric landmines, and sharing her experiences with unwavering optimism as she raises her three musketeers. Whenever life throws her off balance, she swivels back to zen mode with the power of yoga. When she’s not busy mastering the art of parenting,...
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