It’s almost become a cliché to remind parents, and especially moms, to “put yourself on the list” of people to take care of.  But as with many things that you hear time and again (but only sometimes pay attention to) this is a very important piece of advice.  How many of us parents go through the day running from one activity and errand to the next, hurrying our kids along as we go, only to feel exhausted at the end of the day?  And an ugly truth is that even though most of these tasks and activities are for our children, it does them no good to see us stressed out.  (So we get to soccer on time, but we lose our patience on the way… and so the little one doesn’t get to put his shoes on by himself which always makes him so proud, and the older one forgets her water bottle in the chaos and feels unsettled throughout the game). So while I’m not usually a fan of new year’s resolutions, this year I am going to try to take a little better care of myself, and I urge you do try it, too.  And if you need a little extra motivation, remember that when we parents feel better (i.e., calm and energized) we can do a better job of taking care of the family.  Here are some tips to remember:

  • Schedule some time just for you.  Even if it’s just five minutes per day to stretch or close your eyes.  But really put it on the schedule!  Put a reminder on your cell phone, write it in your planner, or do whatever it takes.  Choose one thing that you really miss doing since life got so hectic, and find a way to add it back in, a little bit at a time.
  • Talk to your friends and be social.  The younger kids get playdates, and the older ones seem to be talking to their friends all day long.  Let’s learn from our children on this point, and add our friends back into the mix.  Meet a friend for coffee, or if your dearest friends aren’t close by give them a call or even plan a weekly skype session to keep in touch.
  • Exercise, even a little.  Take a 10 minute walk a few times per week (around the mall pushing a stroller definitely counts).  Get a workout dvd from the library or bookstore.  Wipe the dust off that old exercise machine in your basement.  Whatever works!
    Eat well.  Many of us or more careful about what we serve our children than about what we feed ourselves.  Add fruit, vegetables, or yogurt back into your diet.

  • Remember your annual trips to the doctor (general physician, dentist, gynecologist, and dermatologist). If you wouldn’t skip your children’s check-ups, why skip yours?