Fulfilling the role of mom is arguably one of the most difficult jobs out there, but it is also one that is equally as rewarding as it is demanding. With each new day comes dozens of problems to fix, hurts to help heal, opportunities to teach and needs to meet. During all of this hustle and bustle, it can be a challenge for a mom to find time to meet her own needs for relaxation and rest. There are a few simple things you can do to help meet those needs.
From an early age help your children understand that their needs are important, but they are no more important than your own needs. It can be difficult for a small child to let go of her mom for even a small amount of time. However, if from infancy you make sure you carve out some time each week to be on your own, even if it is just to take a shower every day, you can begin to build this idea in your child. Truthfully, she may not like it. Your infant may not be able to be soothed for this short period of time, your toddler may throw a temper-tantrum when you leave and your preschooler may do everything in her power to hinder you leaving, however this step is not only important for you, it is also a vital developmental step for your child.
Don’t let the stress build up. Moms seem to have a knack for powering though all of the chaos. It can be easy to get to the end of the week and discover that you have been running on emotional fumes. You are worn out, cranky and short tempered. Avoid this crash at the end of the week by making time for a midweek break. Maybe all you can find is 30 extra minutes to read a book, take a walk or soak in a bubble bath. If that is all you can do, then do it. If you have to enlist the help of friends or a babysitter, then it is worth it. Wouldn’t it feel great to get to the end of the week and still have more energy to give to your family without being frustrated with your children?
Have a plan of action for when you begin to feel stressed. While it is important to get away from time to time, the reality is that it is not always possible to get away the moment you begin feeling overwhelmed. It might be a good idea to keep a game, video or other activity close at hand that you know your kids love. When you find yourself suddenly overwhelmed, bring that out and use the time to practice an activity that will help you to unwind.
Involve your child in the things that bring you peace and contentment. You won’t always be able to get away. You won’t always be able to find a babysitter. That is life. By practicing some of the activities that help you unwind with your children, you not only provide yourself with a way to relax in the presence of your children, you also teach them a very valuable lesson. Children have the same need as adults to find activities that help them decompress. Maybe you find practicing yoga relaxing. Your child might enjoy it, too. Maybe reading a book is one of your favorite past-times. Your child might discover that joy as well. Perhaps a nice walk gives you all the refreshment you need. Your child might find this also helps her. Even if she does not love your relaxation activities as much as you do, witnessing you modeling the activity will show her the value of relaxation.
Do yourself and your family a favor: avoid giving every ounce of your energy to them and keeping nothing for yourself. You may think that doing so is what it means to be a parent. In the end, this will only work to hurt them. If you are not at your best, you cannot give them your best. By keeping yourself emotionally healthy you will be able to help those in your family with whatever problem, hurt, need or learning opportunity that they face.