Moms are always conscious of their children. Motherhood is joyous. It is filled with a newfound sense of love, and huge excitement. You find yourself being more selfless and sacrificing things that used to seem so important to you. Now, your main thrill comes from the thought of your little one achieving his or her new firsts – whether it be the first time they crawl, or their first day of college. Your life is now completed devoted to another human being, and it is your responsibility to ensure your child is properly cared for, and has a good foundation to succeed in life.
To some, that means ensuring that your child is enrolled in the proper extracurricular activities and is well fed on a daily basis. But beyond this, it is important to remember that the best way to care for your child is by caring for yourself. This does not mean missing a championship soccer game for a day at the spa, but rather, recognizing when it’s time to prioritize yourself. And please know that it is okay to do so.
Self Care Sets a Healthy Parenting Foundation
Parents, especially moms, do not often realize the importance of putting yourself first, but they ought to start. In order to give your kids the best of you, and set a positive example, moms need to ensure they always remember to take care of themselves as well. This means maintaining regular physical activity, finding a healthy diet that works for their lifestyle and sticking to it, and continually engaging in their favorite hobbies or activities that have absolutely nothing to do with their kids. It may seem like you’re neglecting your children, but by following these guidelines, you will actually be doing the opposite. Once you start giving yourself the best possible care, that will naturally allow you to give your children the best care possible.
As an extra bonus, you’ll also be setting an example for them to follow during their own lives. Kids who have healthier parents are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors [i]throughout their life. These health factors extend to their emotional, mental, and physical health. So really, by helping yourself, you’re actually providing a great base for your child’s future.
Exercising on a regular basis is difficult for all moms, whether you have a career or stay at home. But mothers often find it especially difficult to make time for exercise, for reasons ranging from a lack of childcare opportunities to moms themselves considering it to be selfish. While these reasons are sufficient (you have to keep a watchful eye on your child and you are taking away time that would have otherwise been spent with them), there is a beautiful way to combat that.
Take your child with you! And I don’t mean finding a gym with a daycare, but rather find ways that you can exercise while also being able to watch your child, and spend time with him/her.
- Invest in a jogging stroller so that you can still reap all of the benefits of running regularly
- Attach a bike trailer to your bicycle as a fun way to bring your child along for the ride.
- Purchase an elliptical for your home and set up a playpen with a few of their favorite toys. They will be entertained and safe, and you’ll be able to watch your child and keep in shape.
As your child gets older, you can gradually shift from chauffeuring them around, to actually playing with them. Find unique ways that you can get your child a few exercise minutes, while also accumulating them yourself!
- Give them regularly swimming lessons. Almost all kids love the pool, and learning how to swim is a vital lesson. Give them the opportunity to get ahead of most kids their age, and make use of the fun ways to exercise in a pool.
- Find a simple sport that you both like, where you can run around a lot and they can have fun. As an example, throw the ball a small distance and race to chase it together. You can even run in circles around your child to garner more fitness time since they’re likely much slower than you.
While exercising may be especially difficult to make time for, a healthy diet is not. You have to eat so much a day, so why not make a count? Even if you can’t make yourself a feast every night, there are still plenty of healthy alternatives that you can cook at home. For example, always keep a boxes of pasta in the house, along with some fresh vegetables, olive oil, and chicken bouillon cubes. You’ll easily and quickly be able to whip up a delicious pasta primavera within 20 minutes. Or if you want something a bit easier to eat, there are a variety of healthy snack options you can chose from (we recommend peanut butter and hummus). And best of all, your kids can share these foods with you, and they’ll probably like it too!
Hobbies & Activities
Everyone likes something! Whether you enjoy the calm feeling you get from an adult coloring book, or love to engross yourself in your favorite novel, it is important that you always reserve a little bit of time each day to do something that has nothing to do with your child or motherhood. You can do this activity while they take a nap, or if you have a friend/neighbor/relative who will watch the child for an hour.
This is definitely an important component of your life to prioritize as simple activities will help your mind destress and stay focused. This is an especially important skillset to master since it’s well-known that motherhood is filled with stress and turmoil (in addition to endless love and joy). In turn, you will portray a positive facet to your child, and unconsciously teach them how to handle stressful situations themselves. As mentioned previously, kids learn most of their healthy behaviors and habits from their parents, and coping mechanisms is no exception. So when they’re suddenly swamped with four high school exams in the same week, you’ll be surprised at how beautifully they’ll master the stress.
Even if you love being around your child 24/7 and are happy to devote your lifetime to caring for them, it’s imperative that you remember the best way to care for them is by caring for yourself. Not only will you be in the best possible way to care for your children, but you’ll also be setting an example for how they too should go about their life, even at a young age. Children are very impressionable so make every impression count!
Monica LaFerla graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a degree in Communications. Since then, she discovered she loves to write and enjoys contributing guest articles as often as she can. Other passions include horseback riding and Sudoku.