Parenting is an incredibly rewarding yet equally exhausting endeavor. The lack of self-care combined with parenting stress is doubled or even tripled when your financial situation is stretched thin. It is the one job where you can hardly take a break and never get time off. Most parents would not take time away from their kids, even if they could.
Yet, the well-being of the entire family unit rests on the well-being of the parents. You cannot provide a stress-free and loving environment for your children if you are stressed and unhappy. Parental self-care is a gift that you give to your children.
Find a time or make time and take care of yourself. This is a valuable lesson to impart to your children. They will learn to take it easy on themselves when they grow up by learning that it is important to commit to self-care from watching you.
Make Time for Me-Time
Make a carefully scheduled and deliberate plan to take each other out on a date. Don’t just wait for a special occasion or a particular date. Make each other a priority and take yourselves on a fun date. Combine the date with stress-relieving activities such as taking a hike or indulging in massage therapy. These are healthy activities for your mind and body, and you don’t have to feel guilty about the indulgence.
Meditation costs nothing and can be done anywhere. Additionally, meditation is a very healthy and useful skill to teach children. There are plenty of guided meditation videos on YouTube and Spotify. You can also download apps, quite a few which are free, that provide step-by-step guides on how to get into the spirit of meditation. If you are not ready to fully embrace meditating, then try doing breathing exercises whenever you can. Breathing exercises can reduce stress and have a very calming effect.
Indulge in the Natural World
If you have a garden, then begin spending more time in there with your children. Teach them how to garden and then leave them to their own devices. Watching them grow their vegetables and herbs can allow you to see the tangible effects of a useful skill that you have taught them. This satisfaction will be quite visible to your children. Children absorb praise like a sponge, and it is incredibly healthy for their emotional development to learn that they can affect the people and environment around themselves.
Take up a Hobby
Return to an old hobby or find a new one that allows you to take a few moments to yourself every day. This little oasis of calm in your day can help you de-stress, relax after a tough work week, and prepares you better for interacting with your partner and children afterward. You can choose hobbies that lead to beneficial outcomes, such as knitting or crocheting. Both are stress-relieving and result in products that you can gift to your family or even sell on Etsy for a small profit.
Join an Activity Club
Find a gym that conducts classes for adults, or join a swim club at the local community center. As a parent, you will find that your life revolves around your children, and there is less time for you to interact and communicate with other people your age. Joining a class or even starting a walking club or book club allows you to interact with adults your age, broadens your friendship circle, and refresh your interests. You will come home feeling more at ease with yourself and your place in the world. Your physical health will improve, which will, in turn, encourage your children to take a greater interest in their physical well-being.
Carve Out a Haven for Yourself
Make your bedroom or your home office into a sacred space that your children cannot enter anymore. This will instill a respect for boundaries in your children. It also gives you a place where you and your partner can connect without worrying about anyone else. Since you are at home, you can relax knowing where your children are, and home dates cost nothing. Clear out space and keep it well-organized. This will help you relax as clutter can cause a lot of unnecessary and constant stress in the back of your mind.
Your children learn by watching you so much more than by what you tell them. Showing them that it is important to take self-care seriously and find time to be with your partner is a life lesson that they can only learn from you. Taking the time for self-care makes you a better parent, a better partner, and allows you to be your best self.