- Get More Sleep
- Eat Healthy Foods
- Remember to Ask Yourself What You Need and Want
- Schedule Social Time with Other Adults
- Include Personal Quiet Time in Your Schedule
“But wait a minute, Julia, this whole list is about me. I thought you were going to tell me how to be a better parent? Everything you mentioned is about taking care of me.”
Yes, yes it is. Because I believe you are exhausted, overwhelmed and starved for time loving and taking care of you. I believe you are already a great parent. I believe you love your children and know how to care for them in almost every situation, or that you can figure it out when you need to. I believe it can all be better, and I believe when you are more you, you will be a better parent. You will be a better person. You will be a better you. Your kids need YOU. (If you need more convincing that these steps will make you a better parent, I’ve got more on that.)
Before you tell me there’s no time for that, because that’s what I would have said two years ago, I want to assure you that there is. I have twins. My husband works two jobs and goes to graduate school. I work. I’ve gone to school. Between us we essentially have 5 jobs, including the children (and I didn’t even mention the dog). With all that, I was still able to launch a revolution in my self-care. And we are all better for it. Seriously, that’s not just ooey gooey feel good nonsense. We are all better when I take care of myself.
On the airplane, they always tell you to put your own mask on first. We all roll our eyes and imagine ourselves quickly getting the masks on the kids before we put ours on. Surely we won’t pass out. What could go wrong? A whole lot, especially if we don’t just delay, but never get the mask on. We end up tired, short-tempered and anxious. We end up resentful, sad, and lonely. We end up so exhausted that we make ourselves sick.
Is your mask hanging above you? Are you so tired, overwhelmed or overbooked that you can’t even tell me what you’d do with a little free time? Are you the only one in your house who seems as tired as you do? Do you have the feeling that no matter how hard you work, nothing will ever be enough? When are you going to come up for air? I’ve done it and let me tell you, air is better AND I’m a better parent when I have it. Don’t just believe me, try just one of the items above (and I do suggest you start with sleep if you get less than 8 hours), and see how things change. Think I’m making it sound too easy? Let’s talk about that.