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As parents, we often get so completely wrapped up in our children that we forget to be kind to ourselves. And sure, that’s completely understandable – but it leaves us feeling tired, overspent, and often inadequate.
Let’s explore why it’s so important to be kind to yourself as a parent and how to practice that kindness every day.
Improve Your Mental and Physical Health
Being kind to ourselves has been shown to improve both our physical and our mental health. At times of heightened stress, self-love is crucial. It’s what empowers us to cope better with the situation at hand.
On the other hand, when we think self-deprecating thoughts, we become the one thing standing between ourselves and contentment.
Feel More Energized
Being overly critical of your actions, thoughts, or emotions drains your energy. As a parent, you will already have less energy available as usual. If you spend large portions of it on being negative, you can just about imagine what the result will be.
If you lift yourself up mentally, your energy levels will follow suit, and you will be available for all the fun and mischief your kids come up with.
Our thoughts impact the quality of our sleep. If you fill your head with negative self-talk during the day, they will come back to haunt you when you try to relax at night.
When you become more kind to yourself, you’ll notice you are falling asleep more easily, which will then trickle down and improve your entire day. You’ll be less stressed, your mood will improve, and you will also become a lot healthier.
Work on Your Confidence
The way we speak to ourselves and the way we treat ourselves correlates with how we feel about ourselves. It reflects how we perceive our value as humans and as parents.
When we question our judgment or hold ourselves too accountable for things that aren’t really in our control, our confidence plummets.
For example, let’s say your kids are late for school because there was a lot of traffic on the way there, so you end up frustrated with yourself for not starting 15 minutes earlier, even though you left the house at exactly the same time as usual. It’s an all-too-common scenario, but what good can come from that kind of thinking?
When we are not confident, our lives take a serious turn for the worse. Every relationship we have – with our spouse, children, work, and the world around us – will not be as enjoyable and as high-quality as it could be if we learned to think a bit more highly of ourselves.
Teach Your Kids Something Amazing
By being more kind to yourself, you will also be teaching your children an incredibly valuable lesson: that they are important and that taking care of oneself is not selfish.
Our kids pick up incredibly fine-tuned signals from their surroundings. They will notice how we speak to ourselves and how we view and value ourselves. If they are taught, even subconsciously, that negative self-talk is normal, they will need to dig themselves out of this hole later in life.
Now that you understand the importance of being kind to yourself, let’s take a look at some daily self-love habits you can start implementing.
Drink More Water
Everyone keeps telling you this, I know, but the importance of staying hydrated can’t be understated. With all the responsibilities and frequent chaos that parenting entails, refilling the water bottle is something busy moms often forget.
Dehydration will negatively impact both your mental and physical health. So, to set yourself up for success, do your best to drink a glass of water as often as possible.
Get one of those water bottles that will remind you to drink, and lug it around. Yes, it’s one more thing to remember to take with you, but it will definitely be worth it.
Set up a Pamper Routine
The one thing we can all benefit from as parents is pampering ourselves more. It’s a great way to de-stress, take care of the body (and mind), and set aside some time that’s all about ourselves.
What the routine includes will be up to you entirely. You can do a skincare routine and work on the smoothest complexion you have ever had. You can take a bath and read in the tub. You can set up a monthly reflexology appointment.
Sometimes, all it takes is some time in front of the TV on your own, with your favorite takeout meal by your side, and an uninterrupted couple of hours to catch up with your favorite show.
After all, self-care comes in many shapes and forms. You just have to put in some effort to find the time to enjoy it.
Do Something on Your Own
No matter how much we love our children, we will need some time away from them. It will not only benefit them but also help us feel better about life in general. Missing someone is good for the soul. Even if you and your spouse go for dinner and talk about nothing but the kids the entire time, you will still enjoy the benefits of time apart.
Try to find a hobby that you indulge in on your own. Whether you just go for a walk or sign up for a pottery class, try to do something that does not require human interaction. That way, you can spend some time reaffirming your love for yourself while you’re also doing something you enjoy.
Don’t Expect to Do It All
Parenting is often about putting out a series of fires, one after the other. If you were to stop and think about all the different tasks you accomplish in a day, you would be amazed.
The little things pile up fast, and even if you don’t feel like turning the washer on and making a meal amounts to much – it’s actually a huge undertaking.
When you focus on the things you haven’t managed to do in the day, you indulge in a negative spiral. Instead, do the kinder thing: congratulate yourself on all the things you’ve managed to do today.
Stop Judging Yourself
My biggest downfall as a parent is that I always believe I could have done something better. The cake could have been decorated better, the dishes could have been washed sooner, we should have finished homework before dinner, and so on.
The minute I stop judging myself and putting myself down, everything gets done better and faster. And even more importantly, these minor details become much less important.
Do yourself a favor and stop expecting yourself to be superhuman. Your human traits are more than enough. You don’t need to be the best at everything you do, and what you are already doing is more than enough.
Being kind to yourself as a parent will not only help you face the day and make yourself feel better about life; it will also help you raise happier, kinder human beings. So the next time you find yourself indulging in a negative thought process or habit, stop and give yourself a compliment out loud. The difference it makes will soon become apparent.