The Importance of Self-care for Parents

By Gale Carter, Family Coach at Impact Coaching International

From the time we find out that we are going to be parents we want to be the best that we can be and the preparation begins. We make sure that we get in all the doctor visits, eating right – health and nutrition are paramount because we are now caring for an additional being. We think about education and start reading books and listening to music which would have a positive impact on our unborn child. Please don’t get me wrong, this is all good stuff and I applaud those who do and encourage it.

However, there is the part of parenthood that no one talks about… afterwards and the years that follow. We feel guilty about parent anger/rage or confessing that we are feeling burnout. We don’t want anyone to think that we regret having our child/children or that we are not good parents. Well, here is a public service announcement…parent rage and parent burnout are real and if you experience it, you are quite normal and yes you are a great parent. The important thing is not to stay in that place. So, what can you do?

Self-care is the key to maintaining a healthy balance during parenthood. As a parent we can lose ourselves in the journey. Here are a few tips which may help

  • Make self-care a part of your routine – this will help you and also help your child to understand that it is okay and very important to take care of yourself.
  • Start with at least 15 minutes a week to enjoy something that brings you joy and peace. Depending on the age of the child, this time may vary but the important thing is to start and put it in the schedule. With older children, talk about the importance of self-care and engage in self-care together.
  • Surround yourself with like-minded people who are positive and eager to grow as well.

When parents are exhausted, negative emotions rise to the surface and situations spiral out of control as a result. This comes as a result of your needs which are not being addressed. Take some time to check in on your needs. Luke 10:27 “…you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and love your neighbour as yourself”. As parents we have to recognise that we cannot give from what we do not have. There is a saying that goes “we cannot pour from an empty cup”; so, parents, fill your cup up first so that you can positively pour into your children and your families in a positive way.

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