Why we need to practice self-care as Parents
This morning, my family gave me the gift of silence. My kids are still sleeping, and my husband is working for me so I can rest. It occurred to me how rare this is and how as moms we don’t get silence and rest near enough. We are even expected to deal with it, embrace it, and treat it as our normal. As parents, we forget to nurture ourselves. We need self-care as parents! Today, I want to tell you why parents need self-care and rest.
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Let’s Start at the Beginning, Shall we
When we first become parents, a lot of us feel like we are just thrown into it. Parenting contains no manual. People are quick to tell you how it’s “supposed” to be.
“Sleep when your baby sleeps,” They say. Well, what happens when your baby doesn’t sleep?
My first born didn’t sleep for the first few months. He had some wicked colic, and I spent many nights walking with him, rocking him, and sitting with him just crying. My husband and I were newlyweds. We were young and green. While I thought I knew something about babies, I really had no clue.
I was also recovering from an accident still. We were hours from my parents. My husband’s parents were in the midst of a divorce. None of our friends had kids. We were the first. Somehow, we made it. My oldest is sixteen now. It doesn’t seem like we screwed him up too badly. However, I remember being told so many times, “They are only little for so long.”
Somehow these sayings manage to be a band-aid for all the stress of parenting. While I love being a mom, these sayings are really hurtful. They prepare us for a life of stoicism and bottling up our emotions. It sets us up to neglect ourselves. There must be a balance of nurturing ourselves and nurturing our children.
That being said…
Oftentimes, we see on social media where our fellow parents are sleep-deprived and wearing their stress like a badge. After a while, we are all programmed that THIS is how it should be, when it really isn’t. Self-care as parents is not in the vocabulary.
What Happens When We Fall Apart
For those of you who don’t know, four years ago, I was life-flighted to a hospital with signs of a stroke. It turned out that I didn’t have a stroke, thank goodness. Instead, they called it a TBI relapse. It marked the beginning of a long road of hospital visits, doctor visits, and testing. Then followed a long list of diagnoses that changed my life forever.
Before all of this, I was the epitome of the busy mom. After I had Crankles, I thought I would slow down. I meant to be different after her birth. However, my husband’s job took him away from us a lot of her first year. She had colic and just didn’t sleep…for most of the first year.
I had a few people in my life that prided themselves so much on how we had to do it all as parents that I stopped reaching out for help, even though I knew I needed it. There was still a business to run. I helped the town with social media. Heck, I even taught business owners how to use social media. Also, I babysat and even hosted an exchange student.
I was doing all the things and took almost no time for myself. When I hired a mother’s helper finally, I didn’t take time for me then either. That time was used for events with the big kids, get groceries, or work. Sometimes, I wonder if one of the reasons my health failed me was because I failed to take care of myself. Would life have been different if I hadn’t bought the lie? Oftentimes, I think so.
Embracing a New Stance
This year marks the longest I have gone without a visit to the hospital or ER. As I recover, I find myself delving into work as a blogger and business owner. I purchased a new business and am eager to put my own stamp on it. However, I remind myself often to slow down. It is easy to want to do it all. I want to work, raise the kids, see everything, do everything. However, when I do, I pay for it with my health.
These health issues force me to embrace rest. They force me to take care of myself and put myself as a priority. If I can’t take care of me, I can’t take care of my family. It is a totally new way of thinking. However, I am happier practicing self care as a parent and staying within my limits. I find that I enjoy my role as a mother more too when I take care of myself.
How About You? Are you practicing Self-Care as Parents
How about you? Do you take care of yourself? How do you make yourself rest? Is there time for you in your life? If not, it is time to sit down and find out why. You can’t run on an empty battery. Not only that, stress and self-neglect have health consequences as well.
I don’t want anyone to go through what I have been through the past four years. Honestly, my problems started I think because I didn’t stop to take care of them when they began. I may not be able to do all I used to do. Maybe I never should have been doing all of that in the first place.
You owe it to yourself and your family to make yourself a priority. If you are overloaded, take a moment and see what stressors you can remove. What can you drop? How can you make time for you or practice self-care as a parent.
We aren’t meant to do it all. Don’t get stuck in the lie that we are. Make yourself a priority and you and your family will be healthier and happier for it!