Guest blogger Penny Mayo shares how changing her understanding of self-care helped to make her a calmer and happier parent.
Parenting is hard. Parenting is harder with a child who does not behave “by the books”. Parenting is harder still if you are a single parent.
I found myself in this situation when my boys were 4 and 6 years old. My 4 yr old had been struggling already. Once their dad moved out, we all struggled even more. There were a lot of things to take care of; from finances, to decision making, to paperwork, to getting us all mentally healthy again, to doing it all with only one adult in the house.
I didn’t really know where to start but I kept hearing people say “you need to practice self-care”. I had no idea how to do this and it felt way too big to add to the pile of things I already had to do. I resented people for continually pointing out self-care. I was growing to really hate that word. SELF-CARE. Yuck!
Ironically, now, 8 years later, I find myself talking about self-care a lot to others who are struggling and, even, find myself sitting here writing a blog post about self-care. Seems so hypocritical!
There is a difference now though. Over the years I realized that I needed to change my lens on what self-care was and its purpose.
Self-care is not…
Huge, expensive, stress-inducing, or by the book. For me self-care is NOT a soak in the bath, or a day at the spa, or retail therapy.
Self-care is …
Whatever you need it to be (cost wise, time wise, activity wise). For me self-care is a chat with a friend over a $5 cup of fancy coffee or giving myself permission to make eggs and toast for supper or simply sitting while my son is at hockey instead of running around doing errands.
An important part of self-care is first figuring out what feels good to you and what won’t add stress to you. Let us know in the comments or jump over to our FB page to share your views on what self-care is for you.
Image by Daniel Cheung