Self Care for Parents is Important: Balance Life, Work & Activities
It’s hard to believe that New Year’s is already upon us here in the metro area. As we say goodbye to 2017, it’s important to thinkin about ways you can practice self care in the new year. As moms, it’s easy to get burned out balancing a busy schedule with work, family, and everything else in between. When’s the last time that you spent some quality time with YOU?! Liz, from our iFamilyKC Mom Squad team, shares some great ways you can practice self care in the new year. Take a look…
The Importance of Self Care for Parents
With the New Year comes excitement and anticipation for the upcoming months ahead. It also comes with the stress of the traditional resolutions and how we can better ourselves in the next 12 months. It can be overwhelming to even think about all the things we want to achieve. Your list may look something like this: I will go to the gym every day and have great weight loss, I will cut back on caffeine, I will have more patience with my kids, I will finish my 5 year old’s baby book, I will cook more recipes for my family to focus on healthy eating, I will do more Pinterest projects with my kids and I will organize every single room in the house before February. Sound familiar? Let’s break it down and be real. You will probably not have every room in the house organized and you will probably lose your wits with your child on New Year’s Day while attempting to finish his baby book.
If you are going to make one resolution this year that involves all of the above, take some time for you mama! When you put everyone else’s needs before your own needs, it’s only natural that you are going to break down.
I am going to share some tips and ideas on how to implement some simple ways to keep your cup (not just coffee) and heart filled. I hope this ignites some self-care habits that you can use for yourself this New Year.
Having a busy schedule is part of life when you’re a mom. Finding ways to balance life, work, and kids activities will help you keep the chaos to a minimum! Connie shares a few tips with us on how she balances her crazy busy, wonderful life!
10 Ways to Balance Life, Work, and Kids’ Activities
…Or At Least How to Fake It
Life is busy. Crazy busy. I thought maybe life would slow down once I had kids (nope!). Then I thought it might slow down a little bit once the kids were in school (nope, again!). The truth of the matter is, as far as my own crazy life, a lot of it is my own fault. I want my kids to be active and involved in sports and activities if they want to be. I want to play volleyball. If my husband wants to bowl, I want my husband to bowl. I want to be busy. I want to enjoy life—all of it—time with friends, and family and activities. Balancing it all—now that’s a challenge.
Currently, I work 5 different part time jobs. Some are as little as 4-5 hours a week, some are every other week jobs, but all of them are jobs that I enjoy doing. I do all of these during the day while my children are in school. I play volleyball one night a week and coach my daughter’s t-ball team as well.
Currently, my son is playing both baseball and soccer. This means he usually has two games per week of each sport and at least two practices. Sometimes we miss practice for a game, but we make as much as we can. My daughter is playing t-ball and taking dance and tumbling classes. Again, this means one night a week at the dance studio and usually two games a week. My husband works full time and bowls one night a week. Most weeks, we have at least one activity per evening, many times, two. On especially rough weeks, we have three in one night and have to miss something.
So how do I keep it all together?!
Create a visual
In order to keep my life straight, I sit down every Sunday and write out all of the things I have to do that week, starting with Monday. I make a daily list, and then try to check items off as I get them done every day. Having this visual helps me keep side tasks in mind as well. For example, if Monday says Bailey—dance 530-615, Tumbling 615-645 and Mason—Baseball 6pm—this will remind me that I need to find someone to take Bailey to dance class so that we don’t miss Mason’s game and that I need to make sure Mason’s baseball uniform is washed and ready to go.
Get Some Help (When You Need It)
I often enlist the help of my mom if there are more activities going on than I can handle. She will take my son to practice while I coach a t-ball game or take him to a baseball game while my husband bowls and I coach. Friends will take my daughter to dance with them so that I can go watch my son’s baseball game.
Have a Plan for the Day
Even if you don’t always stick to it. I try to at least know what I have coming up that day and make a mental plan for how I am going to get everything done. We usually have at least an hour of down time between picking the kids up from school and getting them to their activities. I use this time to go over any school work they might have, talk about how their day went, get them a snack and just spend some time with them. We use the time to decompress and just hang out.
Use Extra Time to Your Advantage
Yes, there are days where using time to my advantage means sitting down for 30 minutes and just taking a breather. But that can also mean using a free moment to switch laundry or read a book to your kids or helping my son with his spelling list while my daughter is in dance class and we’re in the lobby watching.
Take Time for Yourself
For me this means getting up before my family at 5am and hitting the gym. I have to have time for myself in order to be a happy and sane mother and wife. It took a long time for me to adjust to getting up before the sun, but now that I am used to it, I miss it when I sleep in. I use the gym as my time to focus on me and my mental and physical health.
This also means playing volleyball one night a week. Volleyball has been my favorite sport since birth I feel like and I love that I can still play it as an adult. For you, me time might mean getting up early and reading a book and having a cup of coffee before the tiny humans need you to start getting them ready. It might mean a massage or a manicure or a night out with your friends. Whatever it means for you, make it a priority. Schedule it.
I have to keep my husband updated on all of our activities. We share a calendar so we know what is going on. We are a team, we help each other out in whatever ways we can. I don’t add anything to the calendar without making sure there isn’t a conflict.
Know When It’s Too Much
There are times when I am overwhelmed. When I feel like I can’t keep it all going or get it all done. There are times when I am stretched too thin. Those are the times when I reach out to friends for help or I try to slow things down a bit. I try to work a little less at some of my more flexible jobs, or I put in some late night time on some baking I’ve committed to and sleep in the next morning instead of hitting the gym.
When I know I have big commitments coming, whether it be an event I am helping host, or a baking gig that requires a lot of time, or a week that I know will be crazy at work, I try to plan ahead and get as much done as I can ahead of time. I buy the ingredients for the cupcakes the week before I have to bake, I make some of the props/decorations for the Halloween party in September so that I know they are done and I am not rushing through last minute.
Try to Enjoy It
Yes, being busy means being tired and little to no downtime and stress. But it usually also means your kids are playing sports they enjoy and getting exercise and making friends, and you are getting to watch them do that. It means that you have a job that you enjoy, maybe multiple jobs that you enjoy and that are helping provide for your family. That you are taking care of yourself so that you are able to take care of your family. It means you are living life. Enjoy it!
Embrace the Crazy
While I feel like I have a decent hold on things for the most part, there are days and sometimes weeks where I am just along for the ride. Know that no one is perfect, no one has it all together, and that everyone messes up sometimes. Learn to find the funny in the fails and move on. You’re human, and you’re raising tiny humans who are soaking up everything you do. Let them see that while you are their superhero parent, you are also a person who gets overwhelmed or who forgets a water bottle for soccer, or who feeds their kids chicken nuggets at 830 because they just now had time for dinner. They’ll love you for it.
#1 Get Outside
I will be honest, this is not my favorite thing to do when it’s chilly and windy but living in Kansas City there is the chance it will hit above 50 once in a while in the winter so make it a habit to get outside at least once during the day, either alone or with your kids. After a little fresh air I instantly feel refreshed and ready to tackle whatever is next.
#2 Take a Bath or Hot Shower
Get a good clean while using some bath salts and essential oils for added detox and relaxation.
Even if only for 15 minutes. Close your eyes. Sleep if you wish or just do nothing. This can make a huge difference for your mind and fuel up some energy to get through the rest of the day.
Pick your favorite. It doesn’t have to be running miles outside or making to the gym. Crank up the music and have a dance party in your kitchen, google yoga moves, get yourself an at home workout that you can do in 30 minutes while the kids are napping. Would you rather be binge watching Netflix? I give you permission to turn it on, get on the ground, do some push- ups, crunch some sit-ups and stretch. Also, stretching will make all the muscles in your body feel amazing. Our mom bodies get over worked with all the carrying, leaning, chasing, bending and squatting we do throughout the day.
#5 Try a New Recipe
Don’t think you need to change the ways of your kitchen by adding in a new healthy recipe every night. Start out by searching for some ideas and try a new meal once a week.
# 6 Say No
As mothers and natural nurturers we aim to please. This can be hard but there are some things on you’re to do list that are not critical to the needs of your family. Give yourself permission to say no and focus on what really matters. Create that extra time and space in your day to keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
#7 Get Creative
Ignite the creative spark within you! Think about what you use to fill your time up before you had kids. Did you paint, draw, write, craft, cook or garden? Find time to invest in a hobby that you love.
# 8 Keep a Gratitude List
A daily gratitude list or journal is a great way to shift your prospective and focus on what really matters. Also, you can look back on previous lists when you need a little boost of happiness.
From iFamily to Yours,