Today our meet up, Central CT New Parent Resources, will focus on how do we take care of ourselves, because these brave moms and dads have learned that if we don’t, we won’t have the source of patience required to be great parents. Often we as parents neglect ourselves-it is a side effect from our laser like focus on giving our children 100% of our attention. We neglect ourselves is in basic ways such as putting off going to the bathroom and even forgetting to eat, and we neglect ourselves in bigger ways, such as failing to make health appointments.
Please note that the words, that bear repeating “we won’t have the source of PATIENCE required to be great parents“- patience, not love. Love doesn’t get exhausted as easily as patience, love is always there deep inside, and often, but not always, can be tapped in an emergency parenting challenge. But patience requires fairly consistent self-care-filling our pitchers so we can continue to fill other’s cups.
The challenge of developing and maintaining self-care habits is significant, especially with babies, who don’t have consistency at all at birth. We also have our own resistance to routine. I believe both with babies and ourselves, a flexible routine works best-we must develop some routines around sleep, waking, eating, exercise, and resting, and yet have a source of new and different ways to stimulate joy, interest, connection. We also need to be able to attend to what we need this moment, today, with the ability to “get back on track” with the routine that “fills our pitcher”.
I recently have had the privilege of joining women in our neighborhood who have begun walking every morning from 6:00am-6:30am. Since I had tried and failed many times to get back into a morning exercise routine (which is the only way I have ever been able to be consistent) I was happy to get the email asking for walking buddies to provide mutual motivation and support. I was thrilled to meet wonderful neighbors who make the time and the exercise fly by in a great start to my day, and have enjoyed this for almost 2 weeks now.
Last night, I was so tired after two nights of restless sleep, I was nodding off on the couch and started to bed early. My husband reminded me-“it’s supposed to rain tomorrow, are you walking?”. After confirming this truth, I texted my new friend “80% chance of rain tomorrow, I’m sleeping in! See you Thursday”.
This morning I awoke late, refreshed, hearing the rain on the roof, and smiled. My friend had texted back “hope you have a good day, see you Thursday”. Yes, there are different ways of self-care on different days. And sleeping in on a rainy day is simply delicious.