Thursday 30 May 2019

Finding Time for Self Care as a Parent.

**Collaborative Post**

I became a mum when I was still fairly young, in fact I had just turned 19 when James was born! Whilst I may not have known or ever really thought about what "self care" was, I had time for myself and the things I liked to do before I became a mum.

So when James came along that all kind of just ended. I was a mum and my new tiny bundle came first in everything. Now as all parents will nod in agreement with is that being a parent is exhausting, its all consuming and its often draining. It feels like all that love you give all day leaves you with little in the tank for anything you want to do at the end of each day. Then before you know it your kids are 5 and 10 years old and you realise you cant actually realise the last time you took time for yourself, when you did something you love just because you love it or the last time you had time to just relax in silence!

Well that right there is me, right now! Evelyn is about to turn 5 and James will be 10 later this year and I hand on heart cannot remember the last time I took time for me. Apart from sneaking in a bath at some ridiculous time of the evening once the kids have finally settled (and even then having to lay as still as I can as to not wake the kids!) I don't think I have done anything for myself.

And I have really started noticing that recently. I hate the idea of doing anything for myself because I can always usually think of someone else or something else that needs doing. But honestly right now it feels like I am running on empty, like the tank is so empty its dry and I am still pushing myself up the hill in the hope it will magically refill. A few days ago someone called me by my real name (its Jess by the way) and I didn't even realise they were talking to me! Mum seems to be about the only name I go by now and its pretty shocking that hearing my "real" name now sounds weird, like it isn't connected to me because right now I am "mum" and that's it.

I realised (after a gentle nudge from friends and my husband too) that actually I need to take time for me, to take time to be me and not mum. To reconnect with myself and the things I love doing for me and not for the kids or the house or whatever my latest endeavour is.

With that in mind I asked some other fabulous parent bloggers to share the ways they find time for themselves and what they do to relax, unwind and just reconnect with themselves. They all had so many great suggestions! Here are some of my favourites that I am definitely going to make sure I find time for going forward -

Doing yoga at home using an online yoga teacher. Either daily or weekly, whatever you can fit in around your day, can really help relieve stress.

- Getting a good night's sleep! If you fancy going to bed and sleeping at 8pm do it, instead of staying up until 1am just to get some alone time. Your body will definitely thank you for it and you will feel more refreshed thanks to the extra hours of sleep you get. 

- If you live near the seaside or beach then a walk along the beach in the morning before it gets busy is a great way to blow away any cobwebs. Hearing the sea and the waves crashing or kicking off your shoes and feeling the sand between your toes can be soothing and calming. Taking time just to take it all in is so good for the soul. 

Going to the cinema! Either along, with your friends/partner or even with your kids! If your children are old enough to sit through a film this can be relaxing and enjoyable for everyone.  Being in the cinema screen means you know exactly where the kids are, and you can't do anything. No housework, no chores, you can't even look at my phone, it's brilliant!

- Try to make time for regular outings with your girlfriends/ mum friends. It could be breakfast after school drop-off, or the occasional night out. The great company, being able to talk about things that are stressing you and of course just dressing up and letting your hair down rejuvenates you.

- Make time for a bit of pampering during your bath. Most of us can find time to squeeze in a bath at least once a week, even if it is after the bedtime routine. Treating yourself to a face mask, bath bomb or even some relaxing bubble bath and some candles can really help you wind down after a long day (or week!). 

- Get your partner or husband involved! They can take over baby/child duty after they get in from work for a set amount of time and then you can return the favour the following day. Perhaps it's just the chance to head into town or to the library for some quiet or maybe just to take a long uninterrupted bath, catch a tv show you have been waiting to watch, or read a chapter of your book without having to stop and start every other word. The time to yourself can make all the difference. 

- Spa day or care/healing treatments. When you are feeling low or have an issue that is causing you pain or worry such as a bad back or sore muscles it can really get you down and actually affect day-to-day life. Take time for a spa day and book in for some treatments in could be a local beautician offering massage, a healing reflexology session, or heading into the city for something different such as acupuncture. Any treatments that make you feel better are going to be a great boost for your self-care. 

- Walking can be a fantastic and totally free way to find time for yourself. Go for a walk in the woods or around a rural area on your own before school pick up or after drop off. It’s a great chance to clear your mind ready for the working day or day ahead and get some time for me before the chaos that descends after school or nursery. 

Do you manage to find time for yourself now you are a parent? If so what are your favourite things to do?


Thanks so much to Jenny, Lianne, Stephanie, Lucy, Nicole, Georgina, Sophie and Laura for their ideas and contributions on this post!

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