The best thing a parent can do for their children is give them their time each day. Parenting is rewarding but also a very demanding role that requires a lot of physical, mental and emotional strength round the clock.
The responsibility of raising a child is one of the greatest privileges and joys for a parent. You are raising the future. In doing so, parents often forget to take care of their own well-being. You cannot pour out of an empty cup the same way that you cannot give when you are drained yourself. Once a parent, always a parent.
It’s not always easy to take some time off for yourself. Children need you constantly. You have to maintain a work-life balance as well. There are other family and social responsibilities that need to be attended to. So, where is the time left in today’s world to take some time out to relax and destress? So, we say, “have your “ME-TIME”’.
Mental and Emotional Well-being
Parenting leads to stress, burnout, anxiety, fear and a lot more emotions that come along with keeping little humans safe and secure. Engaging in self-care practices like meditation, affirmations, mindfulness or even sometimes counselling can allow parents to manage their stress or emotions better.
That, in turn, leads to healthier and more positive interactions with their children. When parents can indulge in self-care they recharge emotionally, mentally and psychologically as well and are able to be more compassionate, patient and understanding towards their children’s needs. They have more empathy than they would if they were burnt out. It will help them cope better with even stressful and challenging situations.
Model Behaviour and Increase Energy
By maintaining a good and balanced routine in your daily lives by exercising, having a good diet, getting enough sleep not only keeps you healthy and your energy levels up, but it also models behaviour. Children do not listen and learn, they observe and learn. So model that behaviour for them. Not only will this help them accommodate these in their daily lives and prioritise self-care for themselves, it will also give you the energy levels to spend more quality time with the kids by engaging in all their play activities with them leading to a stronger parent-child bond.
Building Emotional Resilience: Build stronger parent-child bond
Self-care practices contribute to emotional resilience in parents. When parents prioritise their emotional needs, they become more self-aware, enabling them to manage emotions effectively, even in tough situations. Resilient parents bounce back from setbacks with a positive outlook, influencing their interactions with their children. This self-awareness allows them to recognize and manage their emotional responses effectively, even during challenging situations.
As role models, parents’ self-care behaviour teaches children valuable coping skills and emotional management. Managing stress and emotions creates a calmer home environment, fostering open communication and emotional security for children. A positive family environment fosters open communication, emotional security, and a sense of belonging for children, actively listening to their concerns, and providing the necessary support and guidance.
Coping with Parenting Challenges
Parenting comes with its share of difficulties, from tantrums and sleepless nights to teenage rebellion. Once you start the practice of self-care you are better equipped to attend to your child’s needs and emotions. This self-awareness allows them to be more attuned and empathetic to their children’s emotions and requirements as well. Children feel understood, heard, and validated, which builds trust and emotional security within the parent-child relationship and parents tend to communicate more openly and effectively with their children. They create a safe space for their children to express themselves, fostering open and honest communication within the family.
Like I always say, listen to the little things your kids want to tell you when they are little, so they come to you with the bigger things as they grow up because for them those little things were big at that age.
In the demanding and often overwhelming journey of parenthood, it is easy for parents to neglect their own well-being in the pursuit of providing the best for their children. However, it is crucial to recognise that parents’ well-being is deeply interconnected with the well-being of the entire family. When parents prioritise self-care, they are better equipped to fulfil their parenting responsibilities effectively and create a positive family environment.
Self-care may look different for different people. Some might practise yoga, meditation, say affirmations, exercise but for some self-care may be taking a spa day or going on a trip with your spouse to get that time off. Some may want to go out for a coffee or for the night with their friends or even sit alone and read a book. See what works for you best and always add in a little mindfulness in that to keep your emotional cup full to provide the same for the kids.
In conclusion, self-care is not a luxury but a necessity for parents. Prioritising self-care is an act of love and responsibility towards oneself and one’s children. By nurturing their own well-being, parents enhance their parenting abilities, create a positive family environment, and serve as role models for their children. The journey of parenthood becomes more fulfilling and rewarding when parents recognize the importance of self-care in building strong and loving bonds with their children.
Sanjana Bhajanka is India’s first baby planner to be certified by International Parenting and Health Institute California in association with International Academy of Baby Planner Professionals. She graduated from the University of Warwick, UK, and is a barrister and member of Lincoln’s Inn,London. She educates, offers resources and support to expecting and new parents in the journey to parenthood. She also looks into digital marketing for Century Laminates.