Why Parental Self-Care Is Essential For The Child’s Emotional Wellbeing
Expectant parents are looking forward to that day when their bundle arrives. Especially for new first-time expectant parents. That is because they are about to have a brand new experience and they are looking forward to embarking the journey of parenthood. They also have a good idea that their freedom that they once had will no longer be at the same level as it was before giving birth (until their kids are older and independent, but that is years and years away). However, what first-time expectant parents don't realize is how much of their freedom they will really have to give up once the baby arrives.
After the baby arrives, the excitement is up. The baby that the new expectant parents were looking forward to meeting for so long is finally here. Though once reality hits, that changes drastically. That baby is the focus of the parents' emotional and physical attention. The baby has no schedule and needs to be fed every few hours during the day and the night. The baby needs changing, bathing, and comforting.
Even though the newborn phase is temporary and as the baby grows, they will be less needy. However, they also enter phases and milestones such as teething, eating solids, walking, and eventually going to school that becomes time-consuming for the parents. The stress usually falls on the mother unless the mother has chronic health conditions or the father is a single father.
This results in the parent who is the one most involved in the care of the child not having time to care for their own needs.
Whenever parents put their own self-care on their back burner, this can result in depression, anxiety, and apathy. Apathy can mean having the attitude of Oh I know my hair is a mess and I know I have worn the same shirt for a week but I really don't care. The parent can burn out easily, and loses their identity. Parents who neglect their own needs are also doing a major disservice to their kids. Kids are sponges. They pick up what the parents are feeling. And if the emotions are not positive, this can have a strongly negative impact on the kids emotionally.
Parents must stop neglecting their own needs for the sake of their children.
How Is Parental Self-Care Important For The Child's Emotional Development And Wellbeing?
Think about it. If you keep pouring from an empty cup, you won't get anything out of it. That leads to frustration and negative emotions. That is the same as parents neglecting their own needs while they keep putting their children first. As it was already stated, parents that neglect their own needs will suffer from poor mental health. That will easily rub off to their children which will have a negative impact on the child's emotional wellbeing and development.
In addition to that, parents that keep giving to their kids while they neglect their own needs become resentful towards their kids. Their fuses become short, and they can lose their temper easily. Their kids will be well aware that their parents resent them and get angry with them easily. They will begin feeling unloved, and they will be afraid to tell their parents about anything that is bothering them as a result. These kids will also be not concerned about their appearance since their burned-out parents show that attitude towards them. All of that increases the chances of the children ending up with serious mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and the feeling that they are just a burden.
That is why it is essential for parents to take care of their own needs! Because the fact of the matter is, if parents are caring for their own needs, they will have the patience and energy to nurture their kids. And they will also be happier, enthusiastic, and will have the reserves to do constructive projects with their kids to nurture their overall development. Parents to care for themselves will increase the chances of having kids that will be emotionally healthy and will grow into well-rounded individuals.
If you are a parent that has been neglecting your needs for the sake of always putting your children's needs above yours, you need to stop that right now. Read this carefully because your needs are just as important as the needs of your child! If you think about it carefully, as long as you neglect your own needs, you are neglecting the needs of your child as well.
And self-care does not mean that you can throw your kids' care at the hands of a nanny for a week to go on vacation every month. When you made the decision to have kids and you used to travel, that is one sacrifice you had to make. The occasional trip without the kids you can take if you can arrange a trusted sitter to be in charge while you are away. But, there are other ways to replenish and recharge.
What Self-Care Methods Work For Parents?
The thing with self-care is that parents need to find the time to do so daily. And it is not hard, and it does not take much to replenish and recharge. Ideas for parental self-care are:
● Meditation - Meditation is so healthy for the mind, body, and soul. All parents can find at least 15 minutes each day to go into a comfortable darkroom and meditate. After the meditation session, the feeling of freshness is fantastic. If it has to be done after the kids go to bed, so be it.
● A Bath - There is nothing more relaxing than taking a bubble bath, reading a relaxing book, and enjoying a glass of wine with a piece of chocolate. That is something that any parent could look forward to after the kids go to bed.
● Healthy Eating - The fact of the matter is, if you eat nutritious organic foods, you will have more energy to care for your kids. If you are on a diet of fast food, that will deplete your energy reserves drastically. If time is an issue for cooking, subscribe to a meal kit.
● Exercise - Wake up 15 minutes earlier to get a good workout in, and that will give you the energy you need.
● Plan To See A Friend For Coffee - Arrange to babysit or arrange a time when your partner will be home so you can see a friend on a coffee date. You need to maintain some type of social life for your own well-being
● Join Supportive Parent Networks - Parenting can be lonely, and if you are in a group of those who are dealing with the same parental struggles as you are, then you won't feel alone. That can help your mental health.
● Take Time For Yourself - Lock yourself in your room to listen to music, write in your journal, or anything that relaxes you. You need that time.
● Get Ready for the day - Pick out an outfit, brush your hair and style it, put on a little make up or a lot if your like me lol do whatever you need to do to feel like YOU!
If making time to care for yourself means putting housework on hold, then do it. Your housework can wait. Your wellbeing comes first so you can be there for your kids, and keep them emotionally healthy. You all deserve to be healthy and happy. Make it a priority to take care of yourself.