Parenting is a tough job! There is no denying that. As a mom or a single dad, you must ensure that your kids get the absolute best care while dealing with other responsibilities such as maintaining the home, the chores, the bills, work, and other family members, especially if you have older parents needing your support.
And if you have a child with special needs, your parenting job is much more demanding. There will always be chaos, and it is easy to burn out, even during the best times. Parents need to nurture themselves so they can be at their best.
Parents Need Time Off For Themselves
On September 14th, it is Parents’ Day Off Day, and even though most parents cannot take a day off, they can certainly take time off from their responsibilities and delegate. They can find a trustworthy sitter as there are many resources for that, and if they are fortunate to have a family to look after the kids while they care for themselves. If you are a stressed-out parent who does not take time for self-care, your cup will drain, and how can you be good to your kids or anyone else if you are giving from a drained cup? It may not be realistic financially to take the day to go to a spa often. But there are many other holistic ways to nurture yourself to be at your best and minimize the risk of burnout. Let’s review those methods so you can be the best and happiest parent.
Develop Self-Awareness By Doing Breathwork
It is essential to tune into yourself while you are feeling stressed. The one thing you must do each day is take time for yourself and do some breathwork. Take some deep breaths through your nose, and as you exhale, envision yourself breathing out the stress you are experiencing. Your breathing will help you become more self-aware and stay in the present.
As you do this more, you will have a much easier time being more self-aware as you will know when it is time to take a time-out when you are feeling stressed so you can do some breathwork to help you stay in the present. And all you need is a few minutes. For example, if you have a child throwing a tantrum or having a meltdown and there is nothing you can do to stop it, walk away as long as there is no worry about danger, and then start doing some breathwork to bring yourself to the present. That is one of the best ways to nurture yourself.
Stop When You Notice Yourself Becoming Irritable
It is easy to become irritable when struggling with a poorly-behaved child or having problems while facing other stressors. You may even resent yourself; when you do, you must stop yourself in your tracks. That is a sign that you are stretching yourself too thin and your needs are not being met. Therefore, you will ask yourself, “What do I need right now?“.
You may not be able to leave the situation you are in at the moment, but that is the time to promise yourself that you will do what you need to unwind when the time is better. What does that look like to you? Reading your favorite book, taking a bath without interruptions, or listening to your favorite music. Suppose you allow yourself to become too irritable and resentful and do nothing to meet your needs. In that case, that is a slippery slope to extreme burnout where everyone in your family suffers, especially you, and your productivity disappears.
Set Boundaries And Delegate
When dealing with a stressful time while caring for your kids, managing work, and other responsibilities, you cannot take on more responsibility most of the time. If you also have to care for other family members, you must set boundaries on what you can do. One of the best things you can do to nurture yourself as a parent is to say “no” when others ask you to do favors you do not want. That includes family asking you to do things for them while dealing with a full plate.
However, if you find yourself not having a choice but to care for an elderly family member while your plate is full, then you will want to delegate. Ask for help, and if you don’t know who to turn to, go to your local community center or place of worship. Ensure that your partner is putting in an equal share if you have one regarding the responsibilities. Do not attempt to do everything, or else you will be resentful, and that is a sign that you are burning yourself out by taking on too many responsibilities while they are not doing much to help. Only do what you can, and don’t take on extra responsibility that you cannot handle.
Be A Parent To Yourself
It is also your job to be your parent, as once you are an adult, that is your job. You must treat yourself with love, as you would with your children. Nurturing yourself through challenging times is an example of that, and yes, that even includes the point made above, which is setting boundaries. Ensure that you acknowledge your efforts and don’t be hard on yourself. If you have a child who failed a test and did their best to pass it as they studied for a while, you would love and nurture them, reassuring them that they tried their best.
How would you treat yourself if you try your best with something that turns out poorly? If you are scolding and criticizing yourself, you are not parenting yourself. You are being your worst bully. Bullying yourself is not being kind and not being the type of parent you would want to be for your kids. That is why you need to care for yourself like your kids, which means being kind to yourself. Be gentle with yourself.
Take In The Beauty Whenever You Can
When parenting gets tricky, do you only focus on the challenging things? Or do you soak in the joyful moments with your kids? If you don’t, then it is time to begin doing that. You will want to slow down and take in the joy when you hear your child’s giggles or whiff the freshly washed hair and take in the sweetness. Soak in those sweet moments; that way, it can help replenish your spirit so you can find it to keep going when things are tough. Be sure to plan those special moments with your kids, such as baking, playing board games, or playing a sport. Make some memories you can enjoy, allowing you to create joyful times presently so you don’t only see parenting as stressful. And be sure to have fun as you do.
You also know as a parent that you must take time to recharge. This means you need that particular “me time,” which can include reading your favorite book, taking a bubble bath, listening to music, and watching your favorite show without interruptions. Parents’ Day Off Day on September 14th is geared toward parents giving themselves time off so they can replenish. Even though it may not be realistic to take the day off, parents must find ways to nurture themselves, even in chaos, to help prevent burnout.