Parenting may be the most important job you have, but let’s be honest—it’s not always easy. No vacation days, no option to call out sick, and no fail-proof protocol to follow when things are getting out of control. Sure, kids are awesome and most of the time the good stuff outweighs the messy, stressful stuff, but even the steadiest parents out there may start to loose their balance from time to time. How do you know where you stand when it comes to managing your stress level and making sure it doesn’t sabotage your parenting? Take this quick quiz (count your YES’s based on how you’ve felt for the past two weeks) and find out:
RED ZONE: 4-5 YES’s
Right now is a great time to stop worrying about your child(ren) and focus on self-care—unapologetically! Just like on the airplane, you have to put your oxygen mask on before you can help your kids. In order for you to bring your A-game as a parent, you have to take care of yourself as a person first. Want an action-plan to get things back on track? First, for the next week, accept that things will not change in terms of your parenting approach. This is totally fine because trying to reinvent that wheel when you’re down for the count won’t be productive and kids are resilient. Next, in order to regain your parental footing commit to taking time each day for yourself. If and when guilt, shame, or self-doubt shows up, notice them but don’t buy into their message. Know that just thinking or feeling something does not necessarily make it true (if that were the case, you would have definitely won the lottery by now!). Last, to really seal the deal, remind yourself every morning that prioritizing your needs is the absolute best way to put your best foot forward as a parent.
YELLOW ZONE: 2-3 YES’s
Some days are better than others, but stress is creeping in, getting the best of you, and turning parenting into a chore at times. Slowing things down and checking in with your self-care efforts now is the best way to regain your balance before things get too far off course. Commit to making sure you get enough rest and know that whatever you do at the end of the night after you’re past your limit is draining your resources rather than getting you ahead. Then see if there’s anything you’ve been putting off that can be moved to the top of your “to-do” list. Are you making it a priority to do things you enjoy even if they have nothing to do with parenthood? Is there a workout or yoga class you want to try but can’t find the time to schedule? Are you taking care of your physical and mental health? Are you taking steps you make sure you’re happy with your appearance? Even carving out ten minutes a day to do something that’s just for you—guilt-free, knowing that it will help you be the best part possible—is a great start. Finding an hour or two a week to devote to your needs is even better.
GREEN ZONE: 0-1 YES's
While there may be a bump in the road here and there, things are generally going well. To maintain this balance amidst the daily grind, take note of what you’re doing to recharge your batteries because it’s working! Continue these efforts, knowing that self-care trickles down to your child in a powerful way. When you make it a priority to meet your own needs you bring the best version of yourself to your parenting. As a bonus, you model this mindset for your child, which instills the importance of self-care and sets them up for long-term success when it comes to stress management. Moving forward, if you’re facing a busy week (especially as the holidays approach) resist the temptation to cancel your doctors visit, hair appointment, or even a phone call with a friend. Swapping out your “activities” for things that seem more important at the time can backfire and leave you depleted and overwhelmed. Holding your “me-time” sacred will help you keep the balance you’ve worked so hard to establish.
P.S.- If you took the quiz and couldn’t think of a single time in your parenting career when you would have said yes to any one of the questions, you’re in the RAINBOW ZONE and you’re probably a unicorn (please message me if you make house calls).
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