Remember the time before children? You had time to prepare a healthy meal (at whatever time suits you), went to the gym and exercised, had a leisurely evening out with your partner and/or friends, took a nice long bath and then curled up with a book before a nice uninterrupted night’s sleep. Well, those days are now gone, my friend.
Now that you’re a parent, priorities have changed. From working parents to families with newborns, and all in between, timescales are dictated by whatever needs your child has. Of course, we absolutely wouldn’t change that for the world (not an ounce), but it does mean that the miraculous ‘me’ time is a bit different these days. It is so important to look out for our mental and physical well-being. So how can we as parents ensure that we still care for and make time for ourselves?
We’ve put together a list of suggestions from other parents on how you can practise self-care and look after number one.
1. Take time out to recharge
“I think mine would be taking the time out to recharge and be yourself. Making time for myself whilst having 4 kids is important whether that’s an hour shopping in TK Maxx or having a spa day or drinks with my girlfriends. I also make time for just me and the husband to enjoy couple time. Also cuddles from the kids and family because cuddles, tea and chocolate are my favourite.” – Gemma (Yorkshire Mum of 4)
“Book yourself time in the diary for self-care whether that be to have a relaxing bath or like me, I enjoy going to dance class. I call it a meeting or an appointment as people seem to value and respect those more than “self-care.” Every Monday morning I have non-negotiable “work meetings.” (I am actually at the gym). – Sophie (Mamamei / Blog Up North)
2. Look at the bigger picture
“Taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. Hard times will pass, even though it may not always feel like it. Happy times need to be appreciated. Doing this grounds me and helps me parent better, not getting too caught up in the day-to-day stresses!” – Jade (Thrifty Yorkshire Mum)
3. Ask for help
“Not being afraid to ask for help. As the saying goes it takes a village to raise a child…” – Emma (Dirt, Diggers and Dinosaurs)
“Let Nanny and Grandad take the kids once in a while. They’ll have a great time and you can spend some time on whatever it is you want to do. At the end of the day, you’ll all be happy.” – Charlotte (Looking After Your Pennies)
4. Eat Well
“Mine would be to eat well. I think we often neglect ourselves when it comes to good, nutritious food and making sure we drink plenty of water.” – Nadia (Scandi Mummy)
We are a fan of smoothies (click here for some delicious recipes). We find that they perk us up when we need it, especially when packed full of spinach and other goodies (never underestimate the power of nutrients!).
5. Spend Time on Your Appearance
“Spending time on my appearance, If I look better I feel better and more confident And always have a more productive day. I spent far too many days in my pyjamas with unwashed hair and last weeks make up on and it just makes your outlook negative.” – Amy (Living the Harmon Life)
“Make time for yourself, even 5 minutes. Read a book, take up jogging, even if you walk mostly. Make an effort to go out for dinner or see friends. I love taking a few minutes to paint my nails, so then every time I see them I feel ‘like me’ and like I’ve done something for me. Simple but easy to do.” – Lynne (New Mummy Blog)
6. Talk to People
“Talk to people. Tell them how you’re feeling. Talk to friends, family, partners or a professional if you need to. There’s no shame in admitting you are struggling. Or even just that you’re having a tough day.” – Louise (Pink Pear Bear)
7. Go Outdoors
“Try to go outdoors once a day! Fresh air and being out in the open can do wonders for you or at least tire out the kids! It can take a lot of effort to leave the house especially with multiple kids but I always find it’s worth it in the end!” – Victoria (The Growing Mum)
8. Avoid Comparing Yourself with Others
“Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s easy to see a perfect Instagram image of a family and think that you aren’t anything like that but the reality of what is behind the image is often different to what is portrayed. Don’t worry about trying to be an idealistic reality just concentrate on what feels right for you and your family.” – Sophie (Soph Obsessed)
9. Pick your Battles
“Pick your battles and don’t sweat the small stuff. No-one really cares if your kids had fish fingers twice (three times, four times) this week because you didn’t get time to cook from scratch or you weren’t in the mood to argue the case for something healthier, nor does it make you a bad parent.” – Jenny (The Brick Castle)
10. Keep Your Friendships Alive
“Make a huge effort to keep your friendships alive, even if it’s the occasional text or check in on Facebook a bi-weekly planned phone call or an evening stroll. Friendships are so helpful and so healthy when it comes to our emotional and mental well-being – someone to talk too, someone to sound off to, someone to care about us. Cherish those friendships no matter how busy you are!” – Becky (Simple Parenting)