SELF CARE FOR PARENTS

What is Most Important in Life?

Making Family Life Easy 6

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For example: You don't get the car serviced regularly. Then when the car breaks down, you can't get yourself to work or the kids to school.

 

Or you don't spend time reading with your kids while they're young. Then you realize, by the age of eight, they're struggling at school and they need a tutor.

But regardless of how wisely you spend your time, there are always trade offs.

Of the 24 hours you get every day, how do you best use your time to help you get what you want out of life.

 

And is the way you use time helping your family get what they want?

Do you have control over the direction of your life?

 

Or are you allowing your life to be largely dictated to by others: Your boss, your bank, your kids, your partner...

 

Do you sometimes feel like a passenger in your own life, rather than the driver? And is there a nagging feeling that tells you it's not all working out exactly as you'd hoped? ​​

Maybe there's not enough in it for you. Or if for you, maybe not your partner, or maybe not for your children. Do you live a relatively calm existence or are you constantly running on adrenaline? Do you feel that your life is under control, sometimes out of balance, frequently stressful or does chaos reign?

I found a lot of parents feel pressured.

 

They're under social pressure to be happily married, look like  models, be ageless, have an interesting career, have well-behaved and clever children, have a lovely home, have meaningful friendships, have a wide circle of friends, go on interesting holidays, renovate the house, be fit and healthy, be interesting to talk to, and fun to be around, and maintain great relationships with all family members, friends and neighbours.

 

And realistically, to have all that going on, is it even possible?

Some live for weekends. Some drink too much to help take the edge off. Some end up having health issues because subconsciously they're under enormous stress.

So what are the strategies you use to keep it all together?

Is it possible without thinking about your responsibilities and planning for them, you may end up spending too much time on things you don't really want to, (like the phone ringing,) rather than what's important: (like healthy meals, reading to your kids, your education, etc)

  • Maintaining Health

  • Creating a reliable income stream

  • Achievement of both family and individual goals

  • Supporting child success

  • Maintaining supportive and positive relationships

  • Providing time for self expression, creativity and relaxation

You make healthy meals but have little time available for self care. Your career is going well but you're not spending enough time with your children. You'd like to have a great relationship with your parents but don't have time to see them.

​​​So what do you currently spend most of your time and money on?

 

And is your expenditure what you want it to be?

 

I'd like to make you aware that by asking these simple questions I'm not trying to pry or be confrontational. I'm trying to help you have more 'real happiness' in your life.

 

Because I've worked with a multitude of parents over years I learned for even the families that seemed to have it all together, if you scratched the surface, there were often things that weren't okay underneath. It's surprising how many of us are all going through similar issues.

Maybe the competing areas of your life look something like this.

Buying a House
Spending More Time With Kids
Spending Time With Friends
Quality Family Time
Time With Parents
Time For Yourself
Catching Up With Friends
Couple's Time
Eating Healthy
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A Healthy Environment
Housework
Catching Up on Sleep
Maintaining Fitness
Interests
Successful Career
Planning for Retirement
Saving
Holidays
Personal Growth
Childrens Interests
Renovating
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And you and I know there's even more... So is there any wonder that people can feel stressed that they can't do it all.

Sadly, a lot of people spend their lives feeling they're not enough because they can't do it all.

 

How can someone be: the best mum or dad, the sexy partner, the capable-yet-always-caring co-worker, the thoughtful-friend, the perfect-housekeeper, the kind-and-helpful-daughter, the expert-renovator, a super-fit mum... and the list goes on. ​​​​​​Is it realistic to be able to achieve all this.

And how, while you're juggling societal expectations, do you ensure that what's most important 'to you' remains on the top of your priority list?

 

So maybe it's time to ask yourself: What areas of your life are you willing to compromise on, so you can excel in others?

What do you want to excel at? What is less important and what doesn't really matter in the long term?

So regardless of what happened on any given day, parent self care was prioritized... There was something in it for me. And I felt like I was being true to myself.

 

Now to do this, I obviously needed my husband to be home to cover me in case the kids woke up. He did weekday mornings from 6 until 6:45 and I covered his weekend mornings so he was free to go surfing.

 

But if your partner isn't available to cover you, is there someone else in your life that might help out?

 

Can you afford a nanny/baby sitter to come in early to assist with getting the children ready for school? Is there babysitting at your gym for example that allows you to attend a class?

So I'm simply encouraging you to look at your life to see if it's possible to put in some organizational strategies to help give you more of your life back.

I highly recommend checking out Time savers for Healthy Meals. And for more Parent Self-Care ideas go to any of the picture links:

​For me, self care, (particularly my health,) was a priority. I went to bed by eight thirty every night (except on weekends) and made sure I got eight hours sleep whenever possible rather than zone out watching T.V.

I got up really early, before my children in the morning and planned a healthy dinner, organized the lunches for the day and packed the children's bags. Then I went for an early morning 5 km walk along the beach with a close girlfriend. As we got fitter we increased our speed and distance. This met not only my health needs, but also my needs for friendship and spiritual connection to an entity bigger than myself.

 Can you negotiate with a friend, or family member, who will trade time with you, so that you can cover each other's exercise. Lots of young parents take  children in a pram on their daily morning walk/run.

 

But you may not be a morning person and family commitments may preclude you from doing as I did. I get it.

 

At certain times of our lives it was really difficult for me to get time for myself too. But why I'm sharing this with you is...

When I prioritised myself, this was when I was happiest and most effective.

This page makes up Part 6 of the Making Family Life Easier mini-course. To learn more go to:

Timesavers For Healthy Meals
Establishing Healthy Habits
Meals on the Table in Minutes
Meals of the Table in Minutes
Show More

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Best parenting takes time. The best parenting advice ever is simple: Do your best, don't give up and love your children, no matter what.

by Multi-Award Winning Educator. Early Learning Expert. Author/Illustrator.

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