When you become a parent, you are thrust into the world of 24/7 responsibility for the life of another. If you choose to add a second (third or fourth!) child into the mix and/or a full-time or part-time job outside the home, it becomes abundantly clear that you have a full plate! I love being a mom and love to encourage my friends and readers of this blog to see the joy in parenthood, to be mindful of all that we have to be grateful for, and to do our best to lead balanced lives. I’ve written about self-care in the past but thought it was time to reflect again on this important topic.
It’s so easy to push our own needs, health and wellness to the back of the daily priority list. I’ve noticed that moms especially struggle with setting boundaries on their time and often will put the needs of their kids, husbands and even their community ahead of their own! It’s a dangerous path, in my opinion, and leads to feelings of frustration, resentment, anger and mommy burn out.
The days I feel most challenged by our children almost always correlates with the days that I didn’t take some time just for me. I’m a runner and running is my means to staying calm, centered and balanced. I also love hiking and going for walks with a friend. On the days that I make my own self-care a priority, I usually find myself smiling more, laughing with our kids and our daily lives seem to run more smoothly. When I’ve put my own self-care aside for several days, a week or more, my kids and husband can feel it! My energy around the house is different, I’m more irritable and I’m sure I’m less fun to be around!
Self-care is not optional. Just like on an airplane when we are reminded to place an oxygen mask on ourselves before helping others, we need to prioritize our own needs and wellness before we can be good to or for anyone else. By being proactive, we are ensuring that we stay healthy in mind, body and spirit. After all, if our top goal in life is to be good parents, we have to make taking care of ourselves a top priority, too!