Parenting is tough no matter how you slice it, and there’s no way to be a good parent if you don’t take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself can mean different things for different people. For me, working out 45 minutes a day is critical for my sanity and I do so six times, sometimes even seven times, a week. How? I found a workout class that lets me take my son with me. I literally walk there, pushing my stroller, even though it takes me 45 minutes and then workout next to that stroller with my son. I have it timed to his first nap so he usually isn’t too fussy, and even when he is, it’s better than nothing and gets us both out of the house.
There’s always going to be chaos with parenting, but finding ways to weave in self-care is critical. For more tips and tricks I turned to mother, author of High Five Discipline and pediatrician Dr. Candice Jones, MD, FAAP.
“The importance of self-care is like the airplane analogy of putting your oxygen mask on first instead of your child,” says Dr. Jones. “What would happen to your child if you perished from lack of oxygen? When we take care of ourselves first, we can then take care of our children in the best ways possible. Self-care is not selfish!”
A key way to make sure you as a parent have time for self-care is to establish a good bedtime routine. “Doing this for your kids is critical so you can have time to yourself at night and get the sleep you need.” Plus, it’s critical for the physical and mental development of you child!
“I also recommend that all parents put themselves on their schedule/calendar. For example, pencil in time for rest, relaxation, exercise, health appointments, etc.,” says Dr. Jones. “Finally, work smart, not hard! Plan/prepare, organize, prioritize, learn to say no, and ask for help.”