This is the fifth in a ten part series called, Extreme Self-Care: It’s Not Selfish!
Kids often make it difficult to take the time for self-care. Something as simple as curling up with a book or taking a bath becomes a lot more difficult when the little ones are involved. Yet, it’s even more important to take time for yourself when you are a parent. When you take time to rest and rejuvenate, you are less likely to snap at kids and more able to enjoy them. You just need to be a little more creative about it.
First of all, make good use of your downtime. If you have an hour to kill while your daughter is in dance class, take a short walk or have a favorite book or magazine in the car that you enjoy. Slip out after class starts and then slip back in before it’s over. You can have a nice half hour to yourself.
Again use that babysitting barter arrangement to get an evening alone. Have a friend with kids have your kids for an evening or a sleep over once a month and you take their kids once a month to give them a break.
As your kids get older, you can explain the need for some down time to them and strike a deal. Negotiate. You want to take a relaxing bath. Let them know that this is an excellent time for them to do their homework. When you are done, you will review their work and then they can have some time to play their favorite video game or watch their favorite DVD. However, if you have to cut your bath short, or they don’t do their work, all bets are off.
If you have older kids who are able to watch younger siblings, give them the responsibility for watching their little brothers and sisters in exchange for a reward of some sort.
Taking time for yourself is also a good exercise to model for your children. It shows and teaches them the importance of balance. Kids need to see that while their interests and needs are important, it’s equally important to recognize and respect the needs, space and time of others.