Family Life, Parenting

Parent Self-Care Matters, Too

As children return to school, parents have so many things they need to do to help them get ready. Getting school supplies and uniforms and establishing a routine that works for the family can be exhausting for any parent. Being exhausted means you may not be able to be the best parent you want to be. This is why a parent’s self-care routine is so important.

Before we can talk about how to create a self-care routine, we need to understand what is meant by self-care. One definition is helping others without neglecting other parts of your life. This definition makes a great point, self-care is not being selfish; instead, it is about finding a balance between pouring into others and refilling your cup. The question then becomes, “how do you create a balance between caring for others and yourself?”

1. First, find something that helps you refill physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, sensory, creatively, and spiritually. Some people may need to focus on one area more than another. For instance, one person may need a physical refill, while another may require a mental one. The activities that help you will vary based on the area you are working on. To fill yourself physically, you may need to add a nap to your day or do yoga. Closing your eyes or listening to soft music can help for a sensory refill. Whatever you choose, make sure it refills you.

2. Let those close to you know your self-care routine and how they can help keep you accountable. For example, if your self-care in the morning is to take a walk around the block, ask your kids and/or significant other to join you. Enjoying an activity with others can increase positive mood and energy. If you include your kids, you may even find that they will encourage you to do your self-care. Kids can be great motivators. There may be times when you just need the alone time to take a walk; communicating with someone you trust can help ensure that things are taken care of when you are taking care of yourself.

3. Finally, don’t stress if you don’t fit in your self-care one day. Life can get hectic, and sometimes, we can’t complete the long to-do list in one day. That is ok. Give yourself the same level of mercy that you give to others. Get back on track the next day. Self-care should not be stressful but relaxing and rejuvenating.

Children and parents are preparing to head back for another school year. This preparation process can be overwhelming and draining. Don’t fear! Having a self-care plan can help you manage the hectic process of starting school again. Just keep three things in mind: find something that fills you, communicate your routine and what others can do to support you, and don’t stress if you miss a day. Remember that you cannot pour into your children if your cup is empty.

This article was originally published in NOLA Family August 2022.

Monet Somerville

Monet Somerville is a Parent Educator at The Parenting Center. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Developmental Psychology with a Concentration in Child and Adolescent Development. She is also a licensed Trust Based Relational Intervention Practitioner.

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