Those of you who have been with me for a while know that “Take Care of the Care Taker” is one of my most favorite sayings. That one and “Life’s Uncertain, Eat Dessert First!”
“Take Care of the Care Taker!”
This is SO much easier said than done. I know that you know you need to take care of YOU to be the best parent you can be… We are so busy taking care of everyone else that we often forget or ignore the fact that we need to take care of ourselves. Moms tend to have a harder time with this than dads, but I have worked with fathers who fall into this category, too.
A few weeks into the start of school, the dreams of structure, smooth routines, and a happy family often tend to hit a bumpy point with back talk and tears. If you are there (or if you arrive there soon), take a deep breath! You will get through this- and so will your children. Yes, in one piece.
The novelty and excitement (even nervous excitement) has started to wear off and kids are starting to test limits. While not easy, this is natural.
The best thing you can do is to Take Care of Yourself.
Implementing and sticking with routines is super helpful, too, but you can’t do that if you are stretched past the point of exhaustion!
Take a few moments this evening while brushing your teeth to think of things you can do to take care of yourself. Brushing your teeth is one – bonus points for you!
There are the really big things you can do to take care of yourself such as: eating healthy, exercising, decreasing screen time and consistently getting a full night’s sleep (said no one with children, ever!), hiring a maid or a cook or both, etc.
However, there are also plenty of ‘not so big’ things you can do to take care of yourself as well. Take a few moments to notice things that make you smile.
In my presentations about self-care and Taking Care of the Care Taker, I tell people that my husband buys me flowers almost every two weeks… whether he knows it or not!
I love fresh flowers – even the ones picked out of a neighbor’s yard (shhhh). I learned early on, while my husband was out to sea on a submarine, that sometimes I needed to create my own ‘happy.’ Seeing fresh flowers makes me smile so I make sure I have fresh flowers on my table as often as I can. Silk flowers will do if I don’t have the cash or the time to get to the store.
We often think that taking care of ourselves is a big commitment. And yes, while exercising 5 times a week really is a beneficial way to take care of ourselves on many levels, there are plenty of other ways to take care of ourselves and our emotional health.
Many ways are inexpensive or free. Remember earlier when I asked you to spend a few moments to think about things you can do? The next time you are brushing your teeth, think about things that make you smile.
Connect with a friend in-person or on the phone. Read the comics. Smell a candle, soap, a flower or some food that you enjoy. Cuddle with a baby or a furry baby. Listen to your favorite music or dance like a 2-year-old to upbeat music to give you some energy.
Most importantly, give yourself a break! Remind yourself that you do not need to be perfect and stop beating yourself up. As great as social media can be, it can also be harmful when we forget that people only post their best pictures. Their cream of the crop! Stop comparing yourselves to those ‘imaginary’ lives and stop worrying about what other parents think. They are probably so busy trying to keep their head above water they don’t have time to think about what you are doing!
I would love to hear what you do or are planning to do to
take care of yourself
email me: DrRenee@HelpingParentsParent.com
Will you schedule days to child-swap with a friend so you can each have a few hours of alone time? Will you watch your favorite tv show while you fold laundry?
Do what makes your heart happy and you will feel refreshed and able to better handle the things that life (and your kids) throw at you.
What are you waiting for?
Go brush your teeth so you can start thinking of ways to
Take Care of the Care Taker!