The Importance of Being Kind to Yourself as a Parent
Most of us recognise the importance of teaching our kids how to be kind to others, how to share and how to show kindness in their everyday lives. But how often do we transfer this ideology to ourselves? Do we ever model how to be kind to ourselves and teach our children how to love themselves by demonstrating day-to-day self-care?
Self-care whilst raising children can sometimes seem over-indulgent and a far-flung ideal. The needs of over-busy parents are all too often left to the bottom of the to-do list… If they even make the list at all.
All too often as parents we can find ourselves giving everything. Life gets busy, we have mile-long “to-do lists”, and stressors infiltrate every facet of our lives leaving little time for ‘me time’. We try to be everything to everyone, and some of us eventually find that there is not much of “us” left to give!
As the saying goes, "you can’t pour from an empty cup" so it’s time to put “self-care” on that busy to-do list and realise the importance of caring for yourself.
Everyday Ways to be Kind to Yourself
The challenge of balancing parenthood with work, fitness, friendship and chores (and all the rest) means that self-care is often overlooked. When we look after ourselves holistically we are able to become the best versions of ourselves.
When we show our children how to be kind to ourselves by modelling self-care we, in turn, shine kindness out into the world. Raising children who have compassion towards themselves makes them naturally more able to be kind to others.
Loving yourself isn’t overly indulgent, it’s crucial for happiness and for survival (!). Instead of feeling guilty, feel good that you are showing your kids an important life lesson about how to care for themselves. And you’ll feel so much better in yourself and be firing on all cylinders again too.
To help you kick off your year with a self-care mindset, focus on these seven simple self-care ideas and activities to make yourself a priority.
7 Ways for Busy Parents to Self-Care
1) Get Your Body Moving
Whether you start taking the stairs instead of the lift, have a regular dance party in the lounge with your kids or finally sign up to do that 10k run, getting your body moving is a positive step in the right direction for self care. You’ll get the blood pumping, feel better thanks to the flood of endorphins that movement brings, and you’ll feel great. Choose an activity that is easy to keep up and you’ll feel the benefits in no time.
It’s all-too-easy to think about the nutritional needs of your children but put your body’s needs second. Like scouring the supermarket shelves for the low salt, low sugar wholefood organic version of a food your child loves, but then eating tidbits, snacks and leftovers once the kids are in bed because you are too tired to make your own nourishing meal. Your body needs nourishment and you need the joy of eating healthy delicious meals which bring you joy. Don’t cut corners, make time for YOU and your body will thank you for it. And drink water, loads of it!!
3) Stretch and Breathe
Throughout your day take time to stretch and feel your blood flowing from the tip of your toes right up to the end of your fingertips. Stretch and breathe, take 5 minutes just to stop and collect yourself. If you feel like you’re too busy to remember to give yourself and your body a good shake up, then it’s a good idea to set a timer on your phone to remind yourself to stretch and take 10 deep breaths in and out every day.
One of our customers even uses cleverly concealed labeling to remind herself to stretch and breath! She orders name spot labels with reminders such as ‘breathe’, ‘stretch’ and ‘relax’ which she sticks in prominent places like on her toothbrush or kettle so she reminds herself to have a stretch every time she brushes her teeth or makes a cuppa - genius!
4) Put Your Health First
It’s easy to put all of our energy outward and forget that it’s not selfish to be kind to ourselves; it’s critical if we want to care for our families without resentment and poor health. You wouldn’t forget your child’s regular dentist or doctor appointments, so don’t forget your own! If you get sick, caring for your kids will be even more of a challenge so be sure to book that mammogram, get your eyes tested regularly and always get that unusual freckle checked out. Sorry ladies, that means smear tests too! Remember the analogy of the gas mask advice given out on planes; if you don’t put your own on first you won’t be able to help those around you.
5) Find Joy
Do something that you enjoy doing every week. Love reading crime novels? Take time every day to get stuck into that book and lose yourself for an hour. Only feel refreshed after a long shower? Stick the kids in front of the TV and go and get sudsy and enjoy that shower! Want to watch the sunrise and meditate before the kids are awake? Do it! Whatever gives you joy shouldn’t come laden with guilt- you matter, and you deserve it. A joyless parent is a miserable creature indeed. Small doses of self-care are essential for the rest and relaxation necessary to be present and caring for others!
6) Give Yourself Permission to Say ‘No’
If it feels too much to go for that play date, or you are too tired to host your partners’ new work colleagues for the evening then say no. Having the conviction to say no when you really don’t want to do something can empower you and rekindle some of your energy for life. If you're feeling stressed, then your body is trying to communicate that there is a problem and you need to take action. Say no when it doesn't feel right and stop being a martyr to the detriment of your happiness.
7) Invest in Relationships and Family Time
Sometimes not going to sports practice and closing the door on the world is just enough to reconnect you and slow down the whirr of modern life. Put on a puppet show with the kids or have a pyjama day snuggled under blankets reading your favourite books together.
Remembering to take some adult time out with your partner is also crucial - put that phone down and talk, laugh, enjoy good food and that cheeky glass of bubbly. Do things you used to do before the kids arrived and don’t call each other ‘mum and dad’ once the kids are in bed! Remembering who you are is important.
You’re the number one most important thing in your kids’ world so treat yourself with that respect and cherish yourself. Your body, your mind and your kids will thank you for it.
My Name Label is founded on the philosophy of making life simple. And that same philosophy is how we all want our customers to feel when they use our product – that life is a little simpler.