The Art of Self Care as a Parent

The first step to happier parenting starts with you and your level of self care.
Is self care a priority in your life?

If not, would you like to learn how you can take better care of yourself in just three minutes a day?

To help you be a happier parent, I have created a new program: The Art of Self Care as a Parent.
Through it, you will learn techniques, strategies, and gain tools that will allow you to feel more balanced, in control of your life, and happier. As a result, you will be a better parent!

Through this program, you will learn:

  • How to make self care a priority
  • How to fit it into your busy schedule
  • How just three minutes a day can have a huge impact on your happiness
  • How you can show up as the parent you want to be
  • How to increase your connection with your kids
  • How you can feel more balanced
  • How to reduce anxiety and guilt
  • How to feel happier!


Click here to find out more  —–>    - The Art of Self Care as a Parent

Celebrating love, peace, and joy!

Phil DentonAs we head into the busy season of holiday parties, traditions, traveling, and visiting family, it’s important to remember what the holiday season is really about.–It’s about love, peace, and joy.

Before you get too busy, I think it would be valuable to take a little time to explore what love, peace, and joy means to you.

Does it mean getting together with those you love, laughing, playing games, and eating a great meal? Does it mean going on a great vacation? What does it really mean to you? What matters most to you?

By identifying what love, peace, and joy means to you, you can head into the holiday season with a plan to thoroughly enjoy it. This is part of self care, moms and dads–knowing what you need and honoring your needs and values.

Let me give you an example from my own life. As I have mentioned before, my son has been having some health issues, so we are spending a lot of time at the doctor’s. So, when I did this exercise–sitting down and asking myself what love, peace, and joy mean to me, and how I want to bring that definition and value into our holiday season celebrations–I came up with laughter, fun, and time with my son doing things that we both enjoy.

What did I do with that? I planned our holiday activities with this insight in mind. I made a motto for myself for the next month or so. I am planning activities that we can do together and that make us both laugh. Our goal for this month is love, peace, and joy–which for us means lots of fun time together.

Take time to identify what love, peace, and joy mean to you and your family, and plan your holiday activities with that insight. If you love to be around people, fit in lots of time doing just that. If you prefer to be on your own, do more of that. If you love to travel, or attend holiday celebrations, then do that.  The whole idea is to take better care of yourself, honor your needs and desires, and do more things that bring YOU love, peace, and joy.

Feel happier, parent happier, be happier!

Connection Time: One Hug at a Time

One Hug at a Time

This week, I’m going to let you guess what the activity is, and then I will write more about it within the next couple of weeks. I want to see what you come up with! In fact, I’ll make this a contest.

The goal of the activity is to increase your relationship with your kids one hug at a time.

Send me an email with your guess as to what the exercise is, and  if you are correct—or close to correct—I will give you one month of The Art of Self Care as a Parent for free. That’s a $97 value for free, for guessing how to improve your relationship with your kids. Doesn’t that sound like a win-win?

No One Said Parenting Was Easy

dr seussThose of you who are parents know that parenting is not the easiest thing you have ever done, to say the least! It takes a lot of physical, emotional,  and mental energy. Parenting is also fun, of course; and if you let it, it can be the best teacher you’ll ever have as well as the most rewarding thing you’ll ever do.

True enough, parenting is hard for most of us, but you can do it and even enjoy the ride. You just need to give yourself the tools and support you need.

How do you do that?

I tell you this all the time—take better care of yourself.

Look at parenting like anything else you do in life that you want to achieve and be successful at. You get educated about it, you get support, and then you do what you have to do, including take care of yourself, so you can achieve your goal.

If your goal is to pass a test, you learn the new skill—meaning you study and practice, and maybe get some teaching or tutoring, and then the night before a test you eat a good meal and get plenty of sleep.

If your goal is to be a great parent (which I’m sure it is), and you’re struggling a bit (which most of us do from time to time) then help yourself toward that goal by taking better care of yourself.

Most parents take better care of themselves when preparing for a test than they do when preparing to succeed at  parenting. This seems kinda crazy to me. Parenting is much harder than taking a test. You are learning new skills every day, and need to do what you can to be at your best to be able to learn.

The first step is to know yourself and what you need. Don’t sacrifice yourself if you don’t have to. One of the skills I teach is allowing yourself to quickly notice what you really need, and then finding a way to fit it in that works for you and your family.

Let me tell you a personal story. 

My son has been having health problems, and has been spending more time than usual with me. So when I dropped him off at daycare today, he begged me to not leave him. He wanted to stay with me. I’m taking about uncontrollable crying. This ripped my heart out, and made me feel sooo guilty. We all want to make our kids happy, and often sacrifice ourselves in our attempts to do so. I struggle with the same things as any parent.

I almost took him home. However, I took a couple of deep breaths, and used one of the techniques I teach my clients, and was able to ground myself and make the best choice at the time. I made sure that nothing has happened at the daycare that would be putting him in harm’s way, and then I was able to realize that I really needed the time to write this letter and do many other things that I would struggle with getting done if he was around. I am so glad I made that choice.

He is having fun (I have to admit, I sent his care provider a couple of texts to make sure of that), and I took a walk, meditated, coached a couple of clients ,and got a lot of work done. Now, I am on my way to pick up my son. And I feel great because I took time to give myself a bit of self care. I took care of my guilty feelings, and was able to realize that this was coming up for me because I am worried about my son’s health and just want to snuggle him and watch him to make sure he is okay. However, the truth is that by taking time to give to myself and keep up with my work, I feel renewed and can better care for him.

By the way, I didn’t have to spend a long time on my self care. Recognizing that I needed it, and then doing one of the  five-minute exercises that I teach, was more than enough. Self care doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of time on yourself. It’s about learning a technique that works for you, and using it—regularly.

Somedays We Need Extra Self Care

5588_575011085908907_429576576_nYou usually hear from me on Wednesdays, but I had an extremely challenging day with my son, and thought sharing about it might help you. My son, as you know, has some special needs, and sometimes he wakes up in … I don’t even have the words for it other than a funk. Yesterday was one of those days.

He was defiant, mean, aggressive, and the list goes on. Days like this happen with him, although not as often as they used to. But here is the part that is different. I was in a bit of a funk myself, and lost my temper with him—multiple times. Now, if you yell often, please don’t feel bad. I’m not telling you this so you can feel more guilty than you already do, or judge your parenting. I am sharing this with you because most days I am patient and can help my son, but yesterday I had just had enough. I needed a time out, some sleep, and really, some help.

Can you relate? Have you had a day like this?

Well, we got through the day, but it was just barely getting through it, and the night went the same. It was long and emotionally draining. So, today I have taken time to nurture myself. I have been sitting outside and am outside while I am writing this. I’m doing A LOT of breathing, I did a little yoga by myself in a nearby park, and am completing all the work I need to before I pick my son up from his camp.

See, I know that yesterday was just a bad day. I am not proud that I yelled at my son, or really hit the end of my rope emotionally, but I know that today does not have to be like tomorrow and the first thing I need to do is give myself a little self care.

By doing some things to nurture myself, I am able to bring compassion to the guilt I feel and embrace it. After that, I am able to see that yesterday my son was very difficult, and as a single parent I did not have anyone to help me. My son was also up the night before, so I had little sleep and just did not have energy for the battles that he was starting. So, I got sucked in. Which really I think we all do at times. Today, I’ve repaired my relationship with him by first saying I’m sorry and talking to him about it. Then I took time to nurture my relationship with me. Because I know that my mindset and energy is what is going to create a different day than yesterday.

So, fellow parents, when you have days like I just did, make sure you repair your relationship with you. This is a step that most of us often forget.

As always, if you need help, support, or get a bit stuck, I am just a phone call or email away.

Happy Parenting!

Connection Time: Hunting for Acorns

I thought I would share one of my son’s new passions. It’s acorns! I’m not joking. He loves to collect acorns these days (along with sticks and rocks, of course). So, I decided to join in on the fun.

We compare sizes, shapes, and colors of the acorns we find. I know there is not huge variation, but there is more than you might think. It has been a great bonding experience for my son and me. It has also helped me to get more in touch with the moment and notice what is. I had never noticed the variation in shades of brown and green, and the many difference in sizes that acorns can have.

Take a walk and try it. This exercise will help you be more in the moment, and it’s fun!

Noticing What Is

Have you noticed how kids–especially young ones–are excellent observers?

Kids tell you exactly how they feel and what they see. When they are happy, they let you know. When they are mad, they tell you. When they are hurt, they show it. They live in the moment, state what they notice, and express how they feel.

How often are you living and seeing and feeling in the moment, like a young child? When was the last time that you slept when you were tired, ate when you were hungry, and went outside to play when you wanted to have some fun?

I know that as adults you have many responsibilities, but don’t you think you can at least occasionally allow yourself to be in the moment and just notice what is?

As you know, one of the key things I talk about is parents needing to take better care of themselves, and this is one way you can do that. This is one of the basics that I teach parents who I work with. This is a hallmark of self care.

This week, take a couple of minutes a day to just notice how you are feeling, what you are thinking, and what is going on around you. Keep it simple, like a young child does. Just notice.

Happy noticing!

Connection Time: What to Do with All the Candy?

Parents always ask me what they should do with all of the Halloween candy. Personally, I let my son have a few pieces each day, keep a small stash for the year, and then throw out or give away the rest.

Here are a few other ideas:
-Let the kids exchange the candy for a toy they have been wanting

-Have the kids take it to school and share it with their friends (a great way to practice sharing)

-Take the candy to a retirement home or shelter and give it to those who need a little sweetness in their life

-Have the kids take it to the local fire station or police station and tell them “Thank you” for all they do for us

-Use it for an art project. Make collages, necklaces, a wreath, building, or anything else creative and fun

The sky’s the limit here. Have fun! And remember, you can eat what you create too :-).

It’s Halloween! Let the Fun Begin

Across the US, Halloween activities are in full gear. Most kids have at least one costume picked out, and many people have already been to multiple parties. It is a fun time to dress up, act silly, and pretend you are someone else.

During this time of year, I love to encourage my clients to dress up and pretend they are someone else. Why do I do this? Because it is a great way to express a part of ourselves that we often hide. It is also a great way to connect and bond with your children.

Kids love to be silly and to pretend they are someone else. Do you remember how much fun it was to dress up and play pretend as a child?

Most of us parents and adults in general are so busy with our day to day responsibilities that we forget how good it feels to be silly. It’s fun and it can be healing—not to mention a great way to have fun with your kids.

This year my son, our dog, and me are all dressing up. My son is Spiderman, our dog is Super Dog, and I am Super Mom. Yes, I have the cape and all of the gear, kinda like Wonder Woman for those who remember the TV series. Every time I put on my super mom cape, mask, and cuff links, my son gets so excited. He wants to “fly” around the house with me and save people. It is a great prompter for me to have fun.

This Halloween season, take a little time to dress up, let loose, and get in touch with your inner kid.

Happy Halloween!

Connection Time: The Tree of Lights

At this time of year my son and I pull out our mini Christmas tree and put little ribbons or tie pieces of paper on it. Each day we put up two more pieces of ribbon or paper. On one of them, we write how we helped light someone’s way, and on the other we write how someone lit ours. This is a reminder to me to both give and receive. For my son, this is a great way to learn about giving and receiving, and how both are equally important parts of life.