When we have a child, we're responsible for their wellbeing. We do everything for them. We make sure they're getting the best care we can give them.
But, for some reason, we find it so easy to neglect our own wellbeing.
Whilst we put it down to being unselfish and a good parent, is there a better way?
Let's go through 7 rules for improving parent wellbeing.
Why Parent Wellbeing is Important
We can't give our child the best care if we're not at our best.
Of course, parenthood is hard, but it's even harder when we neglect looking after ourselves.
Focusing on your own wellbeing means you can be present in the moment, as the best parent you can be.
It sets not only yourself up for success, but your children too.
7 Rules for Parent Wellbeing
1. Keep A Routine (especially when it comes to sleep)
Sleep is probably the #1 complaint from parents.
Whilst it's easy for anyone to say 'get more sleep', we know that's not as easy to do.
If you could do 1 thing to improve your sleep it's getting into a routine, i.e. going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
This gets your circadian rhythm (or body clock) on a consistent schedule.
Again, it's easier said than done - especially with young children - so you don't have to be absolutely 100% on time every day, but keeping a general routine will help you significantly.
Why do you think we give children a bed time and try to get them to nap at similar times each day? Because we know that routine is best for them to regulate their sleep, mood and emotions.
So why don't we do that for ourselves?
2. Make Some Space for 'Me Time'
As parents, we're constantly outputting. Sometimes it's time to put some time and effort into yourself.
Keep that hobby you had before parenthood. Spend time alone, or with your partner. Go do that thing you've been thinking about all week but telling yourself you can't because you're too busy.
If your schedule is really too busy to have any me time, it's might be time to call in some extra help in the form of: friends & family, childcare, nannies or babysitters.
Giving yourself the time to recharge lets you spend more quality time with your child and be present when you're together. Nobody is at their best when they're burnt out.
3. Stay In Touch With Friends and Family
It's so easy to lose touch with your life before becoming a parent.
You probably feel comfortable with your new life - and so you should! Being a parent is an amazing privilege.
For some, every now and then, there'll be a feeling of missing out. Whether it's viewing yourself as 'boring' now you've had children, or feeling distant from friends, it's really important to stay in touch with the people you value in your life.
Similar to keeping your hobbies, you need to find time to do the things you love, and spend time with people who help you recharge your batteries.
4. Get Comfortable With Saying No
Whilst staying connected with your friends is important, it's equally important to have balance in your life when it comes to social events.
When a baby has been awake for too long, surrounded by people, they eventually start to get tired and cry. That's their sign that they've done too much and are ready for a rest.
That's what we do when we're burnt out, minus the crying (for the most part).
Burnout isn't just about doing lots of work. It's just as easy to burnout when you're seeing your family for breakfast, taking your child to a party, then going for dinner with your friends. Burnout can come in all forms, and we find it much harder to realise the strain that comes from social gatherings. These things are supposed to be relaxing, right?
Over-socialising can lead to severe tiredness, and when we feel like we need to attend every single event (especially if it involves our children socialising), we can very easily fill our schedules to the point of burnout.
If you're finding your schedule is hectic, it's ok to say no to social events.
Have an honest conversation with yourself and your family if you're feeling burnt out. Could a family member take your child to a birthday party? Is it best to miss this a night out for the sake of your wellbeing?
Of course, you don't want to make a habit of missing social events to favour sitting in the house, but every now and again it's good to check on yourself to see if you're doing too much.
5. Don't Put Too Much Pressure On Yourself
It's a lot of responsibility looking after little ones, and you have enough on your plate without the added pressure you put on yourself.
You can't be expected to do everything, know everything, and be the perfect parent. The perfect parent doesn't exist.
Allow yourself to make mistakes. And allow yourself to learn from them.
Don't compare yourself to your friends and family on Facebook, or the Mumfluencers you see on Instagram. Social media only gives you the highlights of people's lives and we all have our struggles behind closed doors.
The only thing you can do is compare yourself to you, and try to get better. And I'll say it again. There's no such thing as the perfect parent. So stop trying to be one.
6. Eat A Healthy Balanced Diet
Perhaps the most commonly-spoken rule when it comes to wellbeing is eating a healthy, balanced diet.
Most of us know how to do that - I don't need to give you nutrition advice - but less of us actually put it into practice.
What we eat can affect our mood, how we sleep, our emotions and more. So think about supplying your mind as well as your body with the right foods.
7. The #1 Rule That Will Improve Your Life DRAMATICALLY!
Treat yourself like you treat your child.
If your child was sick, you'd take them to the doctors. To help them sleep, you try to get them in a routine. If they've done too much socialising, you let them take a nap.
You treat your child this way because you're responsible for their wellbeing.
But guess what?
You're responsible for your own wellbeing too.
Once you start to treat yourself like you treat your child - i.e. like your responsible for looking after yourself - you'll improve your own wellbeing, and anyone who you care for as a result.