Moms manage busy lives. We feed, clothe, and care for our family in many ways. We cook, clean, and do other things in our homes. There isn’t much time left over for ourselves.
Sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves. We think that there just isn’t time, or that we’re fine, we don’t need that time. The kids need it. Our partners need it. The kitchen needs to be cleaned, or the laundry needs to be folded for the millionth time.
All the above is true, but we also need care. We need physical and emotional attention.
When we don’t care for ourselves, we begin to tire quickly. We snap unintentionally at our partners, family members, and even our kids. Those are the people we love the most, and it hurts a lot when we hurt them. We begin to feel that we aren’t worth the time to spend on ourselves.
You are Worth Every Second You Spend on Yourself
Read the sentence above as many times as you need to until you believe it.
When we don’t care for ourselves physically, it shows. Stress takes its toll on the body- resulting in headaches, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, stomach problems, etc. Over time, these things can lead to more severe conditions.
Also Read: Can Stress Kill You? A Guide For Women
Self-care is essential for all parents, especially for parents of children with special needs. Our kids need more from us, physically and emotionally. Their conditions require more of our brainpower, which leads to a lot of stress. Sometimes we don’t know what to do. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just reality. When we lift kids that are almost our size, that also takes a lot out of us, especially those of us who have physical issues of our own.
My ideas for self-care are practical but useful. I understand the need for self-care for special needs parents. I have a 12-year-old son with ADHD and autism. It took a long time (and a mini-stroke in March 2013) for me to realize that to care for my son and his siblings, I need to take care of myself.
Ask for help
This may be the biggest form of self-care you can do. Asking for help isn’t a weakness. It is having someone else help you out, even for a couple of hours a week, so that you can have time to yourself to enjoy hobbies, time with friends/partner, etc. Time to recharge is beneficial to your emotional wellbeing. This can also be in the form of asking for physical assistance with your child if needed. Respite care can be found in many areas.
Family and friends can be great support (I have great support in my family-my mom has been my biggest supporter and is great with my son) but if you don’t have that or need outside the family support, local or online support groups can be wonderful.
Also, if you feel you need to talk to someone, a therapist can be a great place to start. Holding in your emotions is not good for anyone, including yourself. Therapy or a support group can be great for processing any feelings that you may have about your child’s diagnosis and getting any questions answered.
Go have a hobby. I love adult coloring books, and it helps greatly with anxiety. My son’s doing well these days, but I have had anxiety for years. It soothes me. I also like meditation. This helps a lot on the bad days with my kids. Have fun when you can with your kids. Parenting isn’t always as hard as it seems.
If you can’t get out, there are many at-home ideas for self-care. Try these ideas:
- Taking a long bath with candles
- Watching a funny movie
- Watching animal videos on YouTube
- Facial masks
- Pamper your skin
- Writing in a journal
- Reading a good book
Make that doctor’s appointment! Physical self-care ensures that you are around for many years to come. I went to a yearly checkup, and my doctor found a nodule on the left side of my thyroid, and I had to have it removed in May. You never know what’s going on unless you get it checked. If you’re not feeling well, go to your doctor. If you don’t have a doctor, please find one.
Take care of yourselves, moms! We are worth it, and our kids will be glad to see us grow old.