Visualize an imaginary cup inside of you that depending on how full or empty it is determines your sense of physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being. Certain situations or habits either fill or drain the cup and it can help us thrive as parents if we can find balance and keep our cup at least half full and “refuel” when we are feeling drained.
Taking care of your well-being which can also be called self-care is not something to do when you find the time but an absolute necessity to schedule time for, for optimal health and well-being. This can include exercise, being alone and engaging in activities that you enjoy, pampering, quiet time, hobbies etc. By sometimes completely “unplugging” for a while full recovery and restoration can take place within yourself.
Connect with yourself and meet your needs.
When you are triggered, meaning something has happened and you are having an emotional overreaction (not appropriate in relation to the event). Take a pause, remove yourself from the situation if you can and become still and breathe. Come to terms with what happened and determine what your physical and/or emotional needs are in that moment and find a way to meet that need as soon as you can.
Journaling is the most important tool that I recommend for all challenges for example, if you are having a difficult day you can find relief by writing or typing everything out on your phone, computer or in a notebook. It can specifically be helpful to use for inner child work, to release emotion and find clarity.
Meeting your needs can be simple
Sad = Cry, journaling.
Angry = Exercise, punch a pillow, journaling.
Stressed & Overwhelmed = Conscious breathing and EFT tapping www.tappingsolution.com.
Hungry/Thirsty = Keep healthy snacks and water handy.
Tired = Rest/Nap/Sleep as soon as you can.
To connect with your needs and meet them accordingly sounds so simple, but the problem is that we tend to not do it. What we generally do is feel uncomfortable and either rage outward or numb our inner discomfort with unhealthy habits like overindulging in food, substances or mind numbing social media/television. Although those habits feel temporarily satisfying they don’t solve the underlying problem of feeling burnt-out and/or emotionally overwhelmed. In addition to meeting your needs the most important aspect of self-care is to be kind, understanding and forgiving towards yourself.
It helps to know what your child is experiencing developmentally.
My little girl’s behavior was developmentally right on schedule; starting to explore, be adventurous and try new things. As well as reacting to her emotional impulses and expressing her will and frustration as she starts to experience boundaries and disappointment. Also, I didn’t fully realize and acknowledge that the big change in our lives was having an effect on her.
In every stage of childhood as well as adolescence there are emotional challenges that the child is dealing with and it is very helpful to be aware of them and know what to expect and create a “game plan” so to speak. As a first time mommy I was not aware and prepared at all and that added to my difficulty. Our children are not purposefully aggravating us; they are dealing with how they are experiencing their world in the moment and behaving accordingly. Any form of acting out is a response to a need or fear that they are having in the moment. How to support your child in each developmental phase can be further researched but my advice would be to take care of yourself physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally as discussed here and that will make all the difference in how you parent your child.
How did I come to these conclusions?
My daughter is almost 6 years old now and I can say that I am back to feeling bliss as a mommy as I have learnt to navigate the challenging moments. It took me a long time to get to this point of clarity and understanding by being completely open, ready and willing to learn and change and a lot of Soul searching.
It is with all my heart that I share this information that I have applied to my own life hoping that it could perhaps help somebody. What I have learnt is that acknowledging your feelings and taking good care of your well-being is an absolute necessity when it comes to wanting to be a good parent to your children. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate because just the awareness that your well-being matters and 5 – 20 minutes a day of any self-care practice can make all the difference.
Helpful parenting resources: