As parents, most of us can concur that we are often guilty of neglecting our own needs in favour of others, whether they be our children’s, our partner’s or friends and family members. Sometimes it’s inevitable, primarily when tasked with caring for younger children that depend on us every waking moment for survival and their every need. Although, it can be just as tiring having older children in the house, who constantly depend on Mum’s or Dad’s taxi service and, unlike more minor children, argue back.
With them all fighting for your attention at once and in different ways, it can be hard to find the time to exercise self-care and come to the end of the day, you may feel too exhausted to do anything else. However, taking care of you shouldn’t be shoved to the bottom of your priority list, which is why we’ve created this article outlining a few self-care tips and tricks for Mum’s trying to juggle looking after themselves and family life.
Give Yourself Permission To Relax
Another aspect of parenting we’re sure that all mothers can attest to is not allowing yourself to relax or feeling guilty for doing so. We’re all human, and we all deserve to have a few sacred minutes to ourselves, even our children. These precious minutes to ourselves enable us to separate working, family life from our personal lives so that we can balance the two. Disproportionate balance can lead to negative emotions, such as stress and depression, which isn’t good for you or your family. It’s important to dispel the connotations of guilt and negative feelings built around parents’ needing to relax by normalising it and taking the time to schedule an hour or so out of each day to devote to your time.
Whether this is in the form of an extra twenty minutes in the bath, meeting some fellow mums or friends for a coffee after the school run, treating yourself to a beauty treatment, or simply buying a new pair of shoes or clothes. Alternatively, if you have a partner, you could schedule one day a week in which the two of you can go out and have a child-free date night. Or enforce bedtime rules for your children so the two of you can spend some quality time together in the evenings without being distracted. Scheduling this time for yourself allows you to balance a healthy family and personal life to help you remain productive and ensure that you don’t burn out.
Avoid The Media
Social media has benefited the world of parenting. It has allowed us to connect with a wide range of parents on a global level and share experiences, recommendations, and horror stories from which newer parents can learn. However, the increase of social media in the parenting world has also brought negatives, such as ‘mommy shaming’ and unsolicited parenting advice from friends, family members, and even strangers. Some parents have reported that their mental health has taken a turn for the worst due to posts they’ve read on social media or seen in publications. In contrast, others have suggested that we may be guilty of paying too much attention to our phones and smart devices than our children.
In light of this, we recommend making an active effort to try and limit your social media usage or avoid publications and influencers that make you feel negatively towards yourself or your parenting abilities. Even if that means going through your friend’s list and deleting friends and family members, don’t tolerate anyone that makes you doubt yourself or makes your mental health suffer as a result. You may feel that taking a hiatus from the online world will make you happier, more appreciative of your home life, and more connected with friends when you do meet up in person as you’ll have more to talk about due to the fact that you haven’t been keeping up with their online presence.
Make Future Plans For Yourself
As a parent, our worries never cease; even as our children grow older and start creating their own lives, we still worry about them and how to protect our growing families. You may also be fretful about the future and growing older and how your children will be able to provide for themselves in the unlikely event that you and your partner become ill or in other worst-case scenarios. Ensuring that you make the relevant future plans while your children are still young can help you quell some of these worries and ascertain that your children won’t be unable to provide for themselves should an unfortunate event occur. We recommend organising a time that you can sit down with your partner, or friends and family if you’re a single-parent, and discuss your worries with them and what you’d like to happen to your children and belongings in the future.
You could even include them in your searches for relevant insurance plans, such as finding the best health insurance, life insurance, travel insurance, etc., and consider their input when choosing a provider. We recommend shopping around for different insurance providers and weighing up the benefits and costs so that you can decide which company would provide the best services for your needs. Suppose you’re looking for the best private health insurance. In that case, you could consider working with leading brokers such as Switch Health, who can search through a range of different insurance plans and health insurance quotes that can help you secure your children’s future. It’s good to explore your options, especially with expert help, as it can be a complicated minefield to manoeuvre.
Connect With Friends
Just because you’re a parent doesn’t mean that your social life has to end; surrounding yourself with a supportive peer group is one of the best ways to look after your physical and mental health as a parent. As humans, we rely on having a supportive circle to bolster our feelings of self-doubt and loneliness when negative emotions strike. Especially if you’re a new parent, you may feel as though you’ve neglected your friends and family members. Or, if you’re the only person amongst your peer group with a child, you may feel disconnected from them or that they may not want to be around your baby. Regardless of which statement you agree with, we’re confident that your friends and family members understand and don’t have any resentment towards you for prioritising your child over them and actively want you and your child in their lives.
Much like scheduling time for yourself, scheduling time with your friends is equally important, even if it’s simply meeting up for lunch and a coffee one day. Endeavour to spend time with your friends at least once a week or fortnightly, and have a child-free couple of hours catching up and feeling normal. Don’t feel bad about prioritising yourself for once, and offload the children onto your partner for the day (we’re sure that they do it to you!) or take them over to your parent’s house so that you can enjoy yourself. Doing so will make you feel much less stressed and give you some much-needed hours of freedom to reconnect with yourself and your peers.