Contributed by: Ashley Taylor
New parents quickly find themselves squarely focused on caring for their child. Their own needs are often all but abandoned in the pursuit of parenthood. This is an understandable situation, as a baby is helpless and completely dependent on its parents. In our busy lives, it seems that the only way to provide appropriate care for your child is to deprive yourself of your care. Although it is not easy, it is important to make sure that your life is healthy and that you provide yourself with the fuel and tools to be the best parent possible. Making time for self-care is one of the best ways for someone to strengthen themselves as a parent.
All about self-care
Self-care in general is any supportive action that we take for ourselves. Self-care can take many forms, from pampering to rest, from exercise to taking a night class. Regardless of the form it takes, self-care makes us comfortable and happy. When we are satisfied with our place in life, our stress levels decrease, which immediately benefits our children and strengthens our families. Although pampering can be a component of self-care, it’s not frivolous or selfish. Happiness is important for effective parenting. Parenting is hard work! When we reward ourselves from time to time, we are able to recharge ourselves for the next round of challenges.
While many may think of self-care as getting a massage or meditating, there are more subtle ways to incorporate a sense of happiness in one’s life that may be easier for new parents to pursue. Decluttering one’s home is a way to reduce stress. Although you may be busy caring for your child, and the child may be the cause of a lot of the clutter you may have, seize opportunities to minimize and organize your things. Here are some simple ways to create a simpler home.
– Only buy what you need. With new children, it’s tempting to buy every toy and gadget on the market. You want the best for your child so you can ensure that they develop and are happy. The more you buy, however, the more things pile up and become unruly. As a bonus, if you rein in your spending, you can add money into you budget for the future.
– As your baby grows, purge along the way. Clothing, toys, outgrown diapers and books are some examples of baby things that can accumulate. Box up what you do not need and donate or discard it.
– Don’t forget to purge your things as well. Apply a decluttering philosophy across the board in your home. Make rules such as you cannot buy a household good – like a coffee mug – without discarding two similar items.
Sleep is precious, so make sure it’s maximized
If you are a parent of a newborn, you have likely learned how your sleep is a luxury. Invest the time and effort in making sure that your bedroom is a sanctuary of sleep. Try to keep your room minimally decorated and as distraction-free as possible. Avoid the TV trap – a TV in the bedroom will only tempt you to stay up late binging Netflix. And put that phone down before you go to bed! Many people toss away minutes and hours of sleep staring at their phone while they’re wasting time on social media or just browsing the web. It has become our default idle activity, but it is senseless when your sleep hours are limited.
Make sure that you can control the light in your room to make it sufficiently dark for optimal sleep. Invest in a sound machine as a way to soothe your night – just make sure you can still hear the baby monitor.
Parenting is difficult, but self-care can help lessen the burden. Get as much rest as you can and keep your homelife organized, and you’ll have tackled two simple ways to do something nice for yourself.
About the Author: Ashley Taylor
Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created DisabledParents.org to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.
Visit Ashley’s website for further information and resources!