Why self care should be your number one priority as a parent

Ruth Kudzi45

Part of the reason I know self care is so important is because I never used to do it. I used to burn the candle at both ends and had that work hard, play hard mentality. I was exhausted half the time but it didn't matter so much as I only used to have to look after myself. 

If I think about me 20 months ago I was doing an even worse job at self care and I had a 1 year old. Because I felt so guilty for working full time I used to think doing anything else for myself would be too much. I used to make so many excuses – I wasn't exercising because I didn't have time, I was eating too much chocolate and drinking too much wine as I was stressed. I wasn't happy and my relationship with my daughter wasn't as good as it could be.

I thought that time with her was what I “should” be doing and that if I did anything for me it would mean I wasn't as good a parent and she would suffer. 

Getting pregnant again for a second time really helped me realise I needed to look after myself. I got back into hynobirthing, I did yoga and I started to pay more attention to what I was eating. I was in a much better place and was therefore a better mum. 

I speak to clients every day who are in a space where they are struggling with their business or their career and when I ask the question – what do you do for you? they say nothing. By simply putting themselves up to the top of their priority list and giving themselves time every single day they feel better about themselves. When you feel better about yourself you take action and you do things, you also attract the right people.

When you are happier, you are a better parent. Last week my mum said to me that she couldn't believe how calm I was as a mum (my temper has always been pretty legendary). The reason I am calm is because I have worked at it, I do yoga, I meditate and I can control my frustration because I realise it doesn't matter if it takes Jessica 25 minutes to decide which tracksuit bottoms to wear (unfortunately she got daddy's dress sense).

I have read endless articles about self care and I am not going to say I have the perfect formula, what I will say is it doesn't need to cost a penny. It can be a long walk, reading a book, meditating, speaking to a friend. Yes, having great hair and nails are great but they aren't always number one on my agenda.

It is the simple things you can do every day for yourself – switching off from social media and speaking to your partner, exercising, eating well, meditating, journalling, doing what you love. These are the habits that you want your kids to pick up and develop. 

I know that by spending this time on me I am a better mum and a nicer person to be around. I am saying to myself that I value myself every single day and this not only makes me feel more confident it has made me more successful.

Think about what you could change about your day and how you can build self care in, it doesn't need to take hours the headspace app takes 10 minutes a day and can have a huge impact. You will thank yourself for it and your kids will thank you too.

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