It’s no secret that today’s parents are stretched thin. Between raising the kids, working, keeping the house clean, making nutritious meals, and whatever else you have on your plate, it’s hard to find time for self-care. Throw in the guilt many parents and caregivers feel when their lives don’t fit the vision of the parent they thought they’d be, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
In times like these, we like to visit the airplane metaphor—at the beginning of each flight, the attendants go through emergency procedures and instruct you to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting your children in putting on theirs. You’re helping yourself so you can be there for your child—which works in everyday life too! By giving yourself some parent self-care, you can recharge and approach parenting with more laughs and a little extra love. Self care time is nothing to feel guilty about. It lets you be the best parent you can be.
Self-Care Tips and Inspiration
How can you possibly carve out time for yourself when you don’t even have enough time to accomplish everything else? Remember that parent self-care is just as important as everything else, and there are some creative ways you can practice self-care without having to take too much time away from your family.
Move Your Body
Moving your body has great benefits for your mood and overall well-being, and there are so many creative ways to accomplish this. If your workout is your me time, find a gym that has a daycare center, get up a little earlier in the morning or arrange childcare for your kids for 30 minutes. The great thing about moving your body, though, is that you can do this one right with your kids. If you have a small baby, use him/her as a weight; if you have older kids, play an intense game of tag in the backyard or practice a sport with them; take the whole family out on a walk after dinner; or have a dance party in your living room.
Think about your least favorite or most time-consuming daily or weekly chore. Now give yourself permission to let someone else handle it! Sometimes, parents need to realize that they can’t and were never meant to do it all. Don’t let outsourcing make you feel guilty; your kids won’t love you any more or less if you get a laundry service, hire a cleaner or subscribe to a food solution. Your kids eat 3+ times a day—it’s okay to rely on a kids meal delivery service like Nurture Life to provide nutritious meals a few nights a week.
Multitask (In a Good Way)
Multitasking is a simple way to make the most of your time. Try to combine tasks that normally aren’t your favorite with some self-care, and suddenly, that task might become your favorite. Instead of dreading a long commute to work, enjoy your coffee and listen to a podcast or audiobook. Hate folding laundry? Multitask by taking a tennis ball, sitting down while you fold and rolling the ball against the balls of your feet—now laundry time is foot massage time! On dish duty? Make it your personal dance session and practice your cha cha while you scrub that pan.
Some Other Quick Ideas
- Save a treat for yourself for after the kids go to bed
- Call an old friend and reconnect
- Enjoy your coffee outside in the morning
- Listen to your favorite music
- Find a new TV series to watch
- Start a gratitude journal
- Take five minutes to tidy up clutter (have your kids help!)
- Practice saying no to things you don’t want or need
- Surround yourself with soothing scents
- Get some fresh air
- Have quiet reading time with your kids
- Ask a friend or family member to come over and play with the kids so you can relax
Find What Works for You
No one should dictate your self-care but you. If cuddling with your baby and forgetting about everything else recharges you, while the parent next door just needs five minutes alone, then don’t feel pressure to change. Whatever your parent self-care looks like, recognize that taking care of yourself first helps you take care of everybody else.