As a Midwife and Child and Family Health Nurse, advocating for self-care is one of my top priorities when working with parents. As a matter of fact, I’m am a great advocate of self-care also to my friends and family. I know how it can make a difference to your mood, relationships, health and wellbeing. It then filters down to the children and has an amazing positive impact on their health and development.
Self-care = happiness = good health
It makes sense that if you do things you enjoy, you feel happier. If you are happier, then the people around you are happier, less stressed and healthier as time goes on. Life progresses in a positive direction (although we know its like a rollercoaster ride). The more we care for ourselves, the easier it is to deal with the difficult times.
Self-care is a fundamental aspect of good enough parenting.
Self-care is not the same for everyone. Individual people may have similar and different self-care activities. We choose activities that create joy, happiness and a sense of well-being. The length of these self-care activities can vary greatly from five minutes of deep breathing to a weekend away with the girls. It can also change amongst the same person dependant on time, space, relationships, work, their community and too many other variables to mention.
In my professional and personal life, l often get asked what self-care activities l practice. It is here that l stumble, ponder and struggle to come up with even one thing sometimes. It’s not that l don’t practice any, but l really cannot think when l am put on the spot about what self-care really looks like, especially now that l have children. Is it taking a shower by yourself? Is it being able to go out for a few hours to the day spa? Or how about hiding in the wardrobe? Self-care can be hard to define at times. We are so busy working and running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off doing multiple activities. We forget to slow down and take some time for ourselves which is of such immense importance.
As l write this, it is a great reminder for myself to practice self-care. I had a wake up call recently when l was able to go out with my friends for dinner and then to a movie. I think l have done this about once a year since my children were born. What a fantastic night and l don’t remember the last time l laughed so much (I was watching Bad Moms 2).
Today as l wake up, l feel more relaxed and more tolerant towards my children’s behaviours that push my buttons. I am happy, my children are happy, so the cycle continues. We got out the art and craft (a rare event as it increases my anxiety) and we had so much fun making a mess and painting pictures. Glitter, glue, stars, paint everywhere. But you know what, it can be cleaned up. I don’t care today because l have been reminded how good it feels to have fun.
So whether it be a cup of tea, a nice hot bath, a walk in the sun, a massage or a chat with a friend, practice self-care in a way that’s meaningful to you. Decrease the stress in your life and concentrate on the good things and what is working well. Today l am relaxed and I’m taking the time out to write this so you can remember to look after yourself. You are worth it. Your kids think your worth it. We only live once in this world and we can not get any time back.