Where life once revolved around your wants and needs, suddenly your whole world is consumed with a tiny person who demands every minute of your time. Their wants and needs become top priority. For many of us, it can be years before we realise that we have neglected our own selves for the sake of our children.
Here’s the thing. You cannot and will not be able to fully care for your children if you do not look after you. Taking time for yourself is not a luxury. It’s as essential as caring for your kids.
As parents, we put everyone else first. Our children, our partners, our family, our friends. The list goes on and the person who usually gets left out is YOU. But you do your children a disservice if you are always putting them ahead of you.
Kids learn by example. Do we want to raise children who will, in turn, neglect themselves the minute they become parents? Of course not, we would want them to still take care of themselves. If we want that for them, we must mirror it in ourselves. When your children see you placing value on yourself, they will learn to do the same.
If this last year has taught me anything, it's that caring for myself and my physical and mental health is not an optional "extra". It has to be a matter of priority if I want to be able to continue caring for my family.
Here are a few things that can help you prioritise your own wellbeing:
Find out what makes you feel good
Is it having a shower alone every morning? Or maybe getting dressed into a particular outfit every day? Is it going for a walk alone? Prioritise the daily activities that will make you feel good.
Becoming parents can be really isolating. So, making time to reconnect with your own friends as your adult self is crucial. Set aside even one evening a month where you get to talk to your friends, even on a zoom call. It will do wonders for your soul.
Schedule your day
We are all experts when it comes to making sure that our kids do the essential things like getting fed and going to bed at the appropriate times. Yet somehow it doesn’t seem as important when it comes to ourselves. We wouldn’t dream of "forgetting" to feed our children, so why not put that same care into our own schedules? Being adequately nourished and rested makes us better able to care for others.