Weekends?? What weekends?! This is parenting and it is a 24/7 gig! So, when Friday comes around, there’s little celebration about Saturday and Sunday, they are just two more days in the week (and let’s be honest, this is so opposite to my pre-baby self who used to throw a party JUST because it was Friday night).
Nowadays, our hours are filled with breakfast at dawn, big emotions, toilet training, teaching values and mindful connection with our little humans. It’s laundry, dinner and bedtime routines seven nights a week. It’s consistency and boundaries, learning opportunities and preparing our babes for school. It’s a constant output of love and energy that will ultimately result in you parenting from an ever-decreasing emotional cup.
What does it look like to parent from an empty cup? It can look like disconnection, a lack of patience, yelling, lack of attention, disinterest and exhaustion. But it can also look like messy hair, undone nails, pjs all day, and an unsocial you. At the end of the day, YOU are a central part of the parenting relationship, and YOU need to be looked after also.
It is important for our children to know that we too can reach our emotional limits, and when we have reached those limits, how to manage them. But how? We can do this by explaining to our children how we are feeling and how they can be helpful as we try to manage our own big feelings. By doing this, we show our children that we are human also. We teach them how to be empathic, compassionate and allow them to develop their emotional intelligence. We teach them how to manage and understand their own emotions as their brain mirrors our behaviours.
But how do you fit those small moments of self-care into your day, when you’re surrounded by children and can’t get a babysitter?
1. Wake up before your kids, take in the quiet of the house and have a hot cup of coffee before the day starts.
2. Put your favourite song on and have a dance party around the house with the kids.
3. Set your children up with a snack and colouring book. Go lie on your bed for 5 minutes.
4. Give the kids bubbles, and send them outside. Take this time to lie on the grass.
5. You have permission to close your eyes, block your ears and breath.
6. Have a shower, even if it’s in the middle of the day.
7. Baked beans on toast for dinner is okay, not every meal needs to be four courses.
8. Use the 15 minutes emersion rule. Tell your child that you will sit with them for 15 minutes doing their chosen activity, then you will have alone time for the next 15 minutes. Using a timer helps with this.
9. Cuddle on the couch. Love bombing can fill your cup also.
10.Call/text/ PM a friend. Make time to see or chat with them.
But at the end of the day, if all else fails, hide in the pantry and eat chocolate!!
BY DOMINIQUE BEN & MIM DART