Connection Time: Nourish Yourself

This month I am talking about self care and want to encourage you to take time to nourish yourself.

Here is something to think about:

In order to be the parent you want to be, you have to take care of yourself. If you are tired, depleted and overwhelmed than how can you show up as the loving, fun and patient parent you want to be?

Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

  1. Journal
  2. Take a walk
  3. Paint
  4. Take a Yoga class
  5. Have someone watch the kids and just do nothing
  6. Sit outside and listen to the sounds of nature (the birds, the wind blowing the trees, the cars,…)
  7. Close your eyes and just breath

These are just suggestions. You can use mine or create your own but please take time to care for yourself. Everyone in your life will thank you for it.

Happy Parenting!

Beth

Nurturing Yourself

Did you take time for self care before you left the house this morning?

As you may have noticed, this month my focus is on self care and helping you take better care of the most important person in your life—you!

So, let me share a little secret with you.

If I don’t schedule self care first thing in the morning I often run out of energy and just crash at the end of the day.

Can you relate to this? Once you start your day do you just keep going, work, run your errands, take care of everyone else and then when the kids go to bed you are left without any energy to do something nurturing for yourself?

I know you want to do more for yourself. I know you want to create more balance and I know you are really busy and often have a hard time putting yourself first.

Putting yourself first is easy. It may not seem like it, but it is. The hard part is making self care a habit.

Like any habit you have to first make the commitment and declare that you want to increase your self care. Then start with a small change.

Here is how I started increasing my self care and how I have my clients start.

First thing in the morning spend three minutes doing something that feels nurturing to you. You can meditate, breath, do some stretches, have a cup of coffee outside and listen to the birds.  What you do does not matter. What matters is that it FEELS nurturing to you.

Three minutes can make a HUGE difference in how you feel for the rest of the day. Just three minutes can put you in a happier and more peaceful place. The goal is not to overachieve and spend as long as possible. The goal is to get in touch with you, turn the volume down on your stress and up on your self care in a way that is doable and sustainable for you.

Three minutes might not seem like long enough. However, it is to achieve my first goal for you which is to make time in your life for you. This will help you feel happier. Then you will parent happier and be happier. It is a chain effect.

For at least the next week please put yourself first and take at least 3 minutes first thing in the morning to nurture yourself.

Happy Parenting!

Connection Time: Remember What Summers Were Like

Summer is in full swing! Most likely your kids, like my son, are ready to spend lots of time at the pool. This week, I encourage you to play with your kids at the pool and remember what summers were like for you as a kid.

I loved the pool and would spend hours in it. Did you?

If pool time was not something that you loved, then remember something about summer that was great fun for you. The idea here is to let loose and PLAY! Jump in the pool, dive down to catch things, play Marco Polo … Just play with your kids.

As you play, my hope for you is that you rediscover the kid in you-a part of you that you have probably not spent time with for awhile. It’s summer. Relax, have fun, and enjoy your kids.

Feel Happier. Parent Happier. Be Happier.

This might sound like a no brainer, but if you feel happier, you are a happier parent. I know you know this, and I also know it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Let me ask you a question: What do you do each day to increase your happiness?

Do you take time each day to take care of yourself and consciously increase your happiness so that you feel more relaxed and enjoy being a parent?

I don’t think anyone consciously decides that they will put their happiness last, but often this is what happens to parents. Parents tend to get caught up in the busyness of life and put themselves last. They tell themselves that at night, when the kids are asleep, they will give to themselves a bit. Maybe they will read a book, journal, do yoga, or another activity that they LOVE to do. However, the reality is that when the kids go to bed they are often too tired to do these activities and really enjoy them.

I understand what it is like. As a single mom, I have to make a conscious effort to check in with myself, make self care a priority, and increase my happiness. Just like you, I can easily get caught up in day to day duties and my son’s needs and forget to give myself a happiness dose. So I’ve created a habit of happiness/self care, making it a part of my daily life. I even schedule it if I need to.

It does not have to take a long time to rev up your happiness and create a self care vibe. There are many things that you can do, but you need to find one that works best for you.

Creating a little routine in the morning (even if it is only 3-5 minutes) can go a long way toward increasing your happiness and overall feeling of well-being. What could you do every day that would give you a little dose of happiness?

Happy Parenting!

What grade would you earn?

If I asked you to rate your level of self-care what grade would you give yourself?

If you are like most parents you would give yourself a C or less.

Now let me ask you this.

How important do you feel it is to take a little time each day for yourself?

I think this is very important and one of the most important things you can do as a parent. Taking care of yourself allows you to feel better and parent better.

I know you are busy and being a parent is demanding. I get it. I am a single mother and know how hard it can be to schedule a little me time. However, if you don’t then you really are not taking care of yourself properly.

Look, I’m not saying this to be mean or tell you that you are doing a bad job.  I am saying this because it really upsets me how many parents I talk to that do not take time to care for themselves.

I know you don’t have much time but I would like to see you set up a regular self-care routine. Taking just a few minutes can drastically change how happy you feel. When you feel happier you are a better parent and really a more pleasant person in general. It is just the way it is.

Personally, I have a regular routine that I do each day that helps me stay balanced and reduces my stress. It’s my time to take care of myself. Some days all I have is 3 minutes, so that is all I do. Other days I take 30 minutes or more. I made this commitment to myself many years ago. The difference for me is if I feel more in control of my life, I am able to handle problems with more ease and really enjoy being a parent much more than before.

If you don’t have a daily self-care routine please make a commitment to increase your self-care. Take a couple minutes for yourself each day.  Your happiness is worth it!

Creating Special Memories Daily

This week, continuing the theme of Father’s Day this month, I want to take time to honor all of the dads in our lives. A dad plays a pivotal role in a child’s development, and this role is often not talked about as much as the mother’s.

What memories do you have of your father?

Most of mine are really good. I remember playing sports, him teaching me to ride my bike, singing, and ah—his cooking. One of the memories I love most is of how my father would cook dinner on the weekends. He was a great cook. He would make dinner from scratch. Often it was homemade pizza. Yes, everything was homemade! It was soooo good. But most of all, I remember how he was so animated while he was cooking. He would sing, dance, tell jokes, and just emanate joy. I loved it when my father was like this.

Now, my father was not perfect, and there are things that I wish were different, but the wonderful times stand out for me and stick in my memory. And these are the memories that I wish to pass on to my son about his granddad.

Like me, you probably have wonderful memories of your father or father figure. And, no matter what your family make up is now, you can create special memories that will live on.

This week, make a point to notice the things that might not seem so special. What type of everyday memories are you creating with your children? Often these are the memories that will last. At the time, it did not seem special that my father was cooking, singing, and dancing on the weekends. However, now that I’m an adult, and now that he is gone, I get a huge smile on my face just thinking about weekend meals.

To this day, I love to cook. It is an event for me. I love to put on music, have a glass of wine, and make it fun. Like my father, I kinda follow the recipe, but also enjoy the process of creation and like to experiment and see what works. He’s been gone for years now, but I think of him whenever I cook.

Even though my mother was around more while I was growing up, my father played a huge role in making me who I am. I would like to thank my father, and all of the fathers out there, for the role they play in our lives.

 

 

Connection Time: What is a fun day?

A fun day can mean so many things. Usually mine includes music, exercise for my son, and a little nurturing for me. Errands and cleaning are often involved too, but even days with those can be fun days.

What is fun varies for each individual, so really tune in to what is fun for you and then engage in activities that bring you a smile.

If you want to end the day with your child saying “thank you for a great day,” then:

  • First, pay attention to what brings a smile to your face
  • Second, make a decision to spend more time doing these things
  • Third, find a way to put more of these activities into your daily life
  • Enjoy more fun days with your kids!

A fun day

I just put my son to bed. Before he went to sleep, he looked at me and said, “Mommy, thank you for a really fun day.”

Would you like to have more fun with your kids and have them thank you for it?

Here’s the thing: If you are not clear about what makes you happy, about what you enjoy, then it is difficult to have a day when both you and your kids will say “What a fun day that was.”

That may sound like an odd thing to say, but think about it. It is true? Do you know what really makes you happy? And then how to incorporate that into your day with your kids?

The truth is that most people either do what they think they should do, or give in and just do whatever the kids want to do. It’s not often that I see a parent consciously thinking about what they really want and what would make them happy to do with their children.

What did you do with your kids today? Did you have fun, and make a day that both you and your kids can look back on as a “really fun day”?

Look, I know that every moment of every day is not going to be fun. However, I also know that by adding more moments to your day that make you smile, you will bring more happiness to your family.

Today, pay attention to the things you do and the choices you make, looking at them through the lens of: Does this bring a smile to my face? Put more happy moments into your day and both you and your kids will have more really fun days.

Connection Time: Being Authentic

This week, when you find you are having difficulty doing something, let your kids know how you feel.  If you burned dinner because you are tired or distracted, tell you kids that. Share your situation with them in an honest and compassionate and age-appropriate way.

How will this create more connection?

By being authentic and expressing what you are feeling in a kind and loving manner, you allow your kids to do the same. If you let them know what you are good at, and what you are not good at, you allow them to know the real you. This gives them permission to be the real them, to accept and embrace and express who they really are. That is one of the best gifts you can give your children.

If you are an artist, and are not the greatest organizer, let them see your artistic gift—and have someone else help with organization. Maybe one of your kids is a master organizer. You might never find out unless you open up this particular channel of communication.

What is your job?

I spend many hours on the phone coaching people, and often find out that they don’t really know what their job is.

I’m not talking about your career. I’m talking about your job as a parent.

Do you know what your job is?

I find that many people don’t. At times, I’m confused by the question myself. But, having given it thought, here is the way I see it.

My job is to be the best person and parent I can be. That’s it!

Be honest with yourself: Is this how you define your job as a parent?

I want to let you off the hook here a bit. You don’t have to be the best cook, the best teacher, the best counselor, the best fun guide, or whatever standard you are holding yourself up to. All you have to do is try your best to be your best self.

We all have things that we are good at. Some of us are great cooks, some of us are great at a sport, some of us are funny, serious … to be the best parent you can be, all you have to do is be authentic and be yourself. Your kids want to know you. They want to connect with the real you.  They love the real you.

Take time this week to embrace who you really are. And stop trying to be who you feel you should be. I think you will find it liberating to be yourself—and your kids will love your honesty.