Taking care of mummy: Five tips for Self-Care as a parent

Let’s face it: being a parent is incredibly difficult and self-care is a luxury. The endless nappy changes, messes that need to be cleaned up, and the never-ending crying are only a few of the challenges of parenthood. As much as we love our kids, it’s undeniable that parents can have a hard time. It’s important, therefore, that you take the time to make sure you’re in tip-top shape so that you can be at your best for your child(ren). If you’re feeling exhausted by your duties as a parent, here are five tips to help you take care of yourself in between taking care of your baby.

Remember to take time for yourself 

While it’s easy to feel like your baby is your number one priority, it’s important to remember that your child isn’t your only priority. You can’t do anything for your baby if you aren’t taking care of yourself as well. Parents don’t stop having needs once a child is born. Remember to take time to decompress and destress every once in a while. Human beings aren’t made to be constantly working without any downtime.

Excessive build-up of the neurotransmitter responsible for stress, cortisol, can have wide-ranging negative health effects in your body, including muscle weakness, severe fatigue, and irritability. Those aren’t symptoms you want to have as a parent, are they? Let yourself unwind when you feel overly stressed or anxious. Your baby will thank you in the long run.

Accept help from a partner 

Fact: having a child is a two-person job. That doesn’t stop being true once the baby leaves the womb, either. It’s no wonder you’re feeling exhausted and drained if taking all the responsibilities of childcare on your own. If you have a spouse or partner present in your life who’s meant to be involved in raising your children, they should take on an equal amount of the work. There’s no excuse for your partner not to carry their own weight if the two of you agreed on raising a child together beforehand.

However, it’s also important that you trust your partner to take on the responsibilities of childcare; many parents aren’t willing to delegate work to their partner for fear that they aren’t as equipped for the task. If you learned to parent from scratch, they can too.

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a natural partner to share childcare responsibilities with, however. If that describes you, there are still ways to obtain the necessary support in raising your child. Perhaps you could share your responsibilities with a willing loved one, such as a parent or sibling, or friend. Otherwise, government and private childcare programmes may exist to help you. Though it may be difficult, be willing to allow other people to carry the burden of childcare with you.


Don’t put off visits to the doctor 

Even though it may seem like parents are always running to the doctor’s office, the vast majority of the time it’s for their kids, not themselves. It’s extremely important that parents take care of their own health as well as their children. After all, if you get sick, your children will have one less parent to take care of them. Remember to get regular check-ups at the doctor’s office. It’s easy to think that you won’t get sick if you’re not going out much, but many illnesses, including STIs, can lie dormant for years before manifesting. Routine health screenings and tests at check-ups are very important to ensure long-term health, for both you and your child.


Allow your children to be independent

Since babies are so helpless when they’re first born, it’s easy to forget that as your children grow up, their abilities increase in kind. Not only is excessive helicopter-parenting extremely draining on you as the parent, but your child will also be frustrated that they’re unable to manifest their own growing abilities, and a child’s overdependence on their parents can actually result in problems in their development later on. It’s hard to let go and accept that your child is growing up, but it’s far healthier for both you and your child in the long run. Just be sure that you strike a balance between allowing your child more independence as they grow older, and making sure they still feel safe and secure.


Remember that your needs matter, too

Many parents spend so much time making sure that their children’s needs are met that they forget to meet their own. Oftentimes the same parents who obsess over making sure their children’s meals are healthy and balanced will nevertheless neglect to provide themselves with the same service, opting to grab something quick so that they can get back to their kids. Don’t forget that you can only take care of your children as long as you’re in good shape to do so; be sure to try and eat healthily and get enough sleep (as hard as that might be!) so that your kids have a good role model at home.


Striving for balance as a mum

As a mum, it can be difficult to remember to ask for help when you need it, and it’s far too easy to think you handle everything by yourself. Hopefully, these five tips will help you to take care of yourself just as well as you take care of your kids. As much as it may seem like it, parents aren’t superhuman, and it’s important that you don’t disregard your own health in the process of raising your children. By keeping yourself healthy mentally and physically, you can ensure that you’re a positive influence in your child’s life through all of their stages of development.

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