Selfcare while also caring for your children
Reading time: 3 minutes
The second we become parents, everything changes. Everything we knew and all our daily routines are happy memories of our past. Relaxing, restful sleep disappears, meeting friends, and always being available are things we can remember but don't know how to really manage in the present moment.
When we are parents, we often have the urge to care more about our family than about ourselves. You may even begin to neglect yourself.
If you take care of yourself during these times of change, you will feel better equipped, resourceful, nourished, and more resilient to the challenge of navigating the new changes and caring for your family.
We've gathered a few recommendations for your self-care journey
1. Schedule spare moments
All parents know this time when free time quickly becomes a thing of the past because you are so absorbed by your role as a parent. You may even neglect your hobbies and the things you used to do before you became a parent, the things that have nurtured your soul. There's so much to do between the first words, the first steps, the feedings, and the changing of a million diapers that it's easy to feel like you don't have time for yourself.
Remember that having hobbies or enjoying the things that nurtured you before you became a parent, can play a big role in regulating and sustaining yourself. They create a sense of emotional health that gives you more empowerment to fulfil your parenting role even better.
How can you make time?
Pay attention to the things that are important to you and share them. Consciously scheduling time off for yourself during the week or month is a real game-changer. Prioritize the activities you want to add back into your life, and maybe even find someone to share those activities with. Find a good support system to help you take care of your baby or children while you do something you like, miss, or wish you had taken time to do.
Lack of sleep is a real problem. It can lead to impatient, easily excitable parents - a far cry from what most of us strive for.
How to improve your sleep
Create a routine! Routine is key. Our bodies get used to getting tired and waking up at the same time every night. You probably have a routine for your kids before they go to bed. The last meal of the day is always served at the same time, they are bathed, a book is read, a song is sung, and they are put to bed. Routines are so healthy for achieving a good balance. Create a routine that suits your needs after you have tucked your children into bed. You may want to read a few pages of a good book, talk about the day with your partner, or write in your journal. These routines that you create for yourself will help your body, mind, and emotions relax, and you may benefit from better sleep routines.
3. The 5-Minute Spa
Creating rituals for self-care doesn't mean you have to make a big-time change and take an hour for yourself every day. This can create stress and lead to not taking care of your needs at all.
How do I do a 5-minute spa?
Whenever your children are at daycare, taking a nap, or being cared for by another caregiver you can set a reminder for yourself in the form of a post-it note that hangs prominently in the bathroom mirror or in a place of your liking. Just write down "self-care" and perhaps a task you would like to do for yourself. Maybe it's using a nice facial mask, drinking a hot cup of tea, or singing your favorite song.
Allow yourself some time during the day during which you do something just for yourself.
4. It takes a village to raise a child
We live in a world of autonomy and often in anonymous neighborhoods. Most parents don't have a good support system to rely on.
What to do.
If you feel like you are in this situation, know that there are most likely many great services around you. Find a community that supports you, that you can interact with, that you enjoy, and that you connect with. Whether it's a class you can take your kids to, a religious community, or something else. These days, there are even great apps that connect families with similar hobbies or interests in your neighborhood. Try it out. You don't have to do it all on your own. There is great support out there waiting for you to reach out, and in return, maybe one day you can give that loving care back to another parent who is in a lonely parenting situation.
Prioritizing family is a great duty, and everyone does it out of love for their family but loving yourself and making time for your needs is the very key to being happy. It's not always easy to prioritize yourself, but it's all worth a try. Even a little time and space can open up a whole universe of possibilities, and you may even be a better parent because you will set an example of self-love for your children.
Author: Nallely Courtney
Gaigg, Daniela, Syllaba, Linda (2021). Selfcare für Mamas. Beltz Verlag. ISBN: 978-3-407-86660-8.
Fleckenstein, Kim (2016). Ab heute stresst mich gar nichts mehr. ISBN 978-3-89883-545-9.