As the mom of 2 high school students and a college student, this past year has been anything but normal. My oldest moved out of the house at the end of the year (in the middle of a pandemic!) and my younger 2 struggled through virtual school.
We've all had all of the "social distancing" we can stand and everyone is craving normalcy! Parents have worked hard to provide that normalcy for our children, while often not getting our own needs met in the process. Even as things are opening up and many people have elected to get the vaccine, we still struggle with this new normal!
I teach clients about mindfulness and self-care all the time, to the point that I probably sound like a recording! But do you want to know a not so secret secret? I am terrible at practicing self-care for myself! I am great at making sure my children's needs are met, and I am always a hard worker for my clients, but I am horrid about practicing the skills for myself! Why would I share this with all of you and out myself so publicly? To show you that all of us forget to take care of ourselves at times. I know we are all busy with our lives and probably struggle to find time for ourselves, so let me give one small suggestion for all of us: Take a parenting pause. It can be for one minute, 5 minutes, however much time you have! Just take a minute. Find a comfortable spot to sit and just allow yourself to be present in the moment. Maybe drink a favorite cup of tea and allow yourself to focus on the warmth of the cup in your hands and in your throat as you drink. Notice the wonderful aroma of the tea. You can use coffee if you prefer, or any other drink that you enjoy. Just allow yourself to enjoy the moment!
Needing a little time to yourself? Schedule it! We get the message that we have to be "on" all the time when actually we all need time to relax and reset. Take a walk, take a bubble bath, listen to your favorite music on your headphone, use a YouTube video to learn how to make a new meal, sing along with your favorite song. One of my favorites is to visualize myself on the beach, feet it the sand, waves gently splashing my legs. You can even add an audio or visual aid!
Another great parenting pause is to take a moment with your child(ren). Ask them what their favorite part of the day was and share yours with them. Have dinner together and ask them what super power they would want to have and why. There are a lot of fun questions you can use to stimulate some silly discussion around the table (or in the car, living room, etc.)! Having a hard time thinking of some? Use ours, make some up, or Google some! Some of my favorites are listed below. I hope you try some of these suggestions, or make up your own! The options are limitless!
If you could visit anywhere, where would you go and why?
Would you rather be a dolphin or a squirrel?
Would you rather be a famous performer or a quiet inventor?
If you could go back to any time, when would you time travel to? I f you could make one law (or change one), what would it be and why?
If you found a magic lamp and the genie gave you only one wish, what would you wish for?
If you had a million dollars, what would you spend it on?