Child-rearing is a challenge. After all, you want your kids to grow into responsible, respectful adults — and for that to happen, your child will need the best version of you. Anything less and your child-rearing capabilities might be compromised. The question is: How can you be the best version of yourself? And how can you teach your kids that? The answer is: practice parental self-care.
What is Parental Self-Care?
Parental self-care is just another way of saying love yourself, which we discussed previously in our ‘4 Tips for First Time Parents’ post published last June. As mothers would know, every moment post-birth is about taking care of the baby, but a mother cannot nourish her baby without nourishing herself. That’s the same principle behind parental self-care — take care of yourself so you can take care of your child. If you don’t, your health will be compromised, and that may negatively affect your parenting.
Why Parental Self-Care Matters
Parenting is a full-time job, and as much as we love our kids, all jobs can get physically and mentally exhausting — this is reason enough for you to take care of yourself. You’ll be able to counter fatigue better when you practice self-care. Consequently, this will allow you to be “the center of stability and consistency” in your home.
How to Start Parental Self-Care
Here are some tips that’ll have you taking good care of yourself:
Get adequate rest
While being there for your kid all the time is what every parent wants, it’s important to not over-exert yourself. In Today’s list of self-care tips for parents, parenting experts emphasized the importance of adequate rest, which helps your mind, body, and spirit, repair and rejuvenate. Without it, your attention, immune system, energy levels, and emotions will be compromised. So, spend lots of time with your kid, but make sure you get lots of rest for yourself as well.
Self-heal by cleaning your diet
A healthy diet is a vital component to self-care, as what you eat directly impacts your overall health. Parsley Health notes in a feature on things to do when feeling tired and toxic, what you eat matters when you want to heal yourself and reset your life. After all, healing begins from the inside out. So, it is strongly advised that you clean up your diet, whether it means adopting a gluten- and dairy-free diet that is heavy on fruits and vegetables, or just cutting back on the processed foods. A good diet will give you the energy to help avoid the feeling of fatigue and burnout.
Learn to say “No”
Finally, here’s a bit of wisdom from a New York Times feature on parenting self-care: Say “no.” Oftentimes, parents are burdened by unreasonable expectations. Fulfilling every one of these expectations is impossible, and trying will just burn you out. So, decide on the things you can do, and focus on them. All the rest, sum up the courage to say “No!” Your responsibility is to your child and to yourself, not society as a whole.
A Challenge You Can Meet
Child-rearing is a challenge — but it is one that we know you can meet, especially if you take good care of yourself. So, if you need any help with that, or if you want pointers on parenting, do reach out to our Austin branches. We’ll help you any way we can.
Raelynn Aubree is a parent to two amazing daughters. After experiencing severe post-partum after her first child, she vowed to ensure she (and others around her) will never go through that again and aims to share some knowledge on parental self-care where possible. When she isn’t being a mother or writing, you can find her passionately baking up a storm in her home.