As a parent, you know that your life is no longer your own. You’re helping children grow up well. To do that well, you also need to take care of yourself. Here’s how.
Tips for . . .
- Find ways to integrate your personal interests into your life. Even if you don’t have time to play your favorite instrument, you can still listen to music.
- Know that there will be times when parenting is overwhelming and stressful. That’s true for all parents. You’re not alone.
- Pace yourself. Parenting is not a sprint. It’s a marathon (and maybe more like a triathlon). You need time to unwind, even if only for a few minutes.
- Keep track of your overall demeanor. Do you feel energized and excited—or exhausted and drained? You’ll parent better when you feel energized.
- Cut yourself some slack. Our society has very high expectations of parents. Most parents are doing the best they can. You don’t have to be the perfect parent.
- Get to know other parents who have children the same age as yours. Talk about what you’re going through. It helps you feel less alone.
Parents with children ages birth to 5
- Parenting young children often feels like a 24/7/365 job. There’s always something to attend to, and you can never let your guard down. This unrelenting intensity usually slowly diminishes as children get older, so hang in there. For more tips, read Self-Care Tips for New Parents.
- Let some things go when kids are young. Don’t expect to have as clean of a house as you had before kids. You can clean the house well after your kids are grown.
- Read about the 14 self-care topics from sleep deprivation to personal purpose in the book Parenting Preschoolers with a Purpose.
Find other trusted adults who can occasionally give you a break. Having someone watch your child for a few hours can give you some respite—even if you spend the entire time napping.