SELF CARE AS A PARENT

Everyone seems to be talking about self care these days, encouraging spa days, trips out, spending time focusing on yourself and generally just doing 'you', it all sounds fantastic right? But when you're a parent sometimes thinking about yourself is the very last thing you do, we usually put ourselves at the end of any list and when you have dishes to do, clothes to wash, family meals to cook and littles to get to bed, self care can really pale into insignificance. But that's so wrong, even though it feels right to get absolutely everything else done first, I feel like I should share just why discovering self care as a parent is so important and why it doesn't have to always be face masks and meditation.

Parenting is never a task that leaves you with bundles of spare time, I think we can all agree the times we are sat around wondering 'what on earth do I do with myself now' are few and far between, we could probably count them on one hand. It's more often the case that when you do have a hot minute to yourself you're so overwhelmed by everything that you need to cram in that time. I'm always torn even in an evening when the boys go to bed, do I have an early night or do I push through and actually enjoy some time to myself, or do you do the 21921 chores that you couldn't get done while the kids were around? It's a constant battle, if you choose to put yourself first and pick either of the first two options, you know that the housework and cleaning burdens only get heavier for the next day. Believe me I know how first world problems this all seems, but with the notion that taking time to self care should be part of a daily or weekly routine, I can't help but wonder if anyone who sprouts that motto truly has small children.




I quickly realised when the self care hype appeared that as a parent now it means something completely different than what it would have if I was a single girl in my mid twenties, I certainly can't afford nor do I have enough time or friends willing to be popping out to the spa every month. And whilst the idea of sitting on a yoga mat and meditating for a good thirty minutes does sound blissful, it's really not very me and the chances you're going to get a peaceful half hour in my household is very unlikely I'll be honest. Self care is really just about discovering what makes you happy, what fulfils you and ensuring it's something that preferably only involves you.

For me lately I've really enjoyed just taking a long bath, especially during the day time as it feels that little bit more luxurious (just me?) whacking in some of my lush bubble bar and putting my favourite songs on a spotify playlist, you could even swap that up for some spa music and candles to really set the mood as just because you can't make it to the spa doesn't mean the spa can't make it to you. Face masks are a fab idea too, I know I mentioned them above but they're really easy to pop on whilst you've got other jobs to do, especially if you're torn between having one thousand errands, shoving on a face mask whilst you crack on with ironing or washing dishes is not going to hinder the process, but it will make you feel that bit better once it's all done. I enjoy a lot of things beauty related as a form of self care, getting my nails or eyelashes done, neither of the boys come with me to those things and honestly just to sit in peace for an hour or so feels like pure bliss but I am well aware that beauty isn't everyone's cup of tea. Reading a book is therapeutic for a lot of people and I know so many Mums and Dads who can't remember the last time they sat down to read, getting lost in a good book would definitely count as investing back into yourself. If you're more like me it can be flicking on the nightly episode of love island and demanding you're not disturbed for the next hour, John is more than happy to be on baby listening duty (to be fair they never wake anymore) and for the full hour I live vicariously through people that were born better looking than I'd ever be, it's definitely my guilty pleasure.



I think the important thing to remember with self care is it's so subjective, just because you're not eating flax seeds and practising yoga doesn't mean you're doing it wrong, heck sometimes getting twenty minutes alone on the toilet can feel like a retreat to us parents. It really is about finding what makes you tick and doing more of it without feeling guilty, you cannot pour from an empty cup and so it's important that you do take time away to invest in yourself. Have the early night, watch the trashy romcom and eat the damn donut, a happy parent = happy children.

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