Before we get to Part II of this post, here’s a quick recap of Part 1:
TIP #1 - Get Out Of Your Head.
· Your body needs just as much TLC as your kids’ bodies do
o Make exercise, healthy eating, and sleep a priority!
TIP #2 - Back to Your Head (and Heart)
· There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all self-care
o Figure out what you need, then collaborate with your co-parent about how you can each get your needs met
TIP #3 - Stand by your Man (or Woman) (or Partner)
· Date night is a must-do (‘nuff said)
TIP #4 – Find Your Tribe.
· Build community with other parents via schools; religious organizations; park and recreation classes; babysitting, meal-sharing and housecleaning cooperatives; etc.
Read on for my last 4 self-care tips for parents:
TIP #5 - Pat Yourself on the Back.
One of my most important roles as a parenting coach is to give my clients positive feedback. Why? Because like most parents, when one problem is solved or developmental stage mastered, they worry about what’s coming next.
Make a pact to acknowledge what you, your co-parent, and your parent-friends are doing right! For every struggle you share, share a positive parenting moment, too.
Just as important, be mindful of your self-talk. What we say to ourselves can be powerful indeed, so make sure your internal chatter is positive and compassionate.
TIP # 6 - Banish Guilt
If I had a magic wand, guilt is the one thing I would get rid of wholesale.
Especially the guilt that says “good” parents protect their kids from disappointment and pain.
You may think you’re caring for your children by shielding them from painful experiences, but in fact, you’re handicapping them. Infants need to learn how to self-soothe. Little ones need to be able play by and amuse themselves. School-aged kids must struggle over difficult homework assignments. And teens need to know their actions have consequences. Children can’t master these important developmental milestones if mom and/or dad are always front and center.
You may also feel guilty about visiting your own unresolved family issues on your kids. Every parent experiences transference. Often you can deal with it on your own. If not, get the professional support you need.
TIP # 7 - Refuse to Compare.
Smart phone in hand, you are bombarded with images of family perfection. There’s that chill yoga mom on Instagram, knitting a baby sweater with hand-pulled yarn from her pack of llamas. Your friend’s Facebook post of their “perfect” family vacation. And the parade of stars promoting parenting tips online.
Hold the phone! Posts on social media… ads promoting must-have products essential for happy kids… and the latest celebrity blogs simply reflect a moment in (often air-brushed) time.
Decide what parenting needs to look like to you; establish what is meaningful and relevant to you. Then remind yourself what that looks like the next time you’re tempted to compare your parenting to anybody else’s.
One final word on self-care tips for parents (well, three words, actually):
TIP #8 - Just. Do. It.
You – and your kids – will be glad you did.
Would you like to ask me a parenting question?