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parent break

Take a “Parent Break”: Refresh YOU!

parent breakBy: Tavana Darris

Dear friend,

This may be hard to imagine, but sometimes you do need time off from parenting. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about this time. Your feelings are valid. Yes, parenting is essential, honorable, and rewarding, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a break to help you reset. Mental and physical health is so important, especially in today’s world where both parents work and provide for the family. Just like your job at work, if you don’t perform to the best of your abilities, it could mean a bigger mess to clean up later – right? So, find the time to take for you to perform your best for yourself and your family.

When my child was a baby, a family member told me I didn’t have time for myself anymore and that I needed to focus on working and providing. They further explained that my “life is over,” and everything I do now is about my child. I was dumbfounded! Yes, my actions affect my family, but the way she spoke to me sounded like bondage, and in my heart, I couldn’t live like that. So, I did what I needed to do – when I wanted to have “me time,” I didn’t hesitate to call a trusted babysitter.

My child is now 11, and we have a full schedule during the school year. I sometimes feel like I’m serving my child through parenting, homeschooling, co-ops, sports, art class, cooking, cleaning, working, and all the in-betweens. When that feeling comes, I must stop myself and remember that I am important and have needs and wants that require attention. Then, I make plans for myself for “self-care.”

I want to share with you some things I’ve started to do over time that’s helped me make time for myself – that show my life’s NOT over – changed maybe – but just as important.

Self-Care Is Not Selfish

Self-care is not being selfish. It is listening to the needs of the mind, body, and spirit. It’s the deliberate care you give yourself to ensure you stay healthy. Self-awareness helps you recognize triggers and stressors and the activities you take to prevent or soothe them. Self-care can be carving out time to read a book. It can be a solo stroll in the morning or planning a meet-up with friends. It can even be eating cookies in the car or listening to music while the kids are watching TV. Self-care doesn’t have to be done alone, but it’s giving yourself a priority in a world that pulls you in multiple directions.

Practice Self-Care Often

Somewhere on YouTube, I was listening to a lifestyle vlogger, and something she said made total sense. She asked why we only perform self-care when we’re stressed. Why don’t we incorporate self-care into daily, weekly, or monthly routines? Up until that point, I didn’t think of it that way. Although routines can change, I strongly urge you to incorporate self-care into your routine. It doesn’t have to be something expensive or at a distance. It could be right before or after an obligation. It could be Thursday evenings or the last weekend of the month. However you schedule them, make sure others know your needs and plan accordingly.

The Power of “No”

I told myself a few years ago I’ll use the word “no” unapologetically. In the past, I allowed myself to get sucked into things I didn’t want to do and regretted it. During that time, I wish I had been more confident in expressing my feelings and not feeling guilty for doing as I felt.

The word “no” isn’t a bad word and should be used when needed. I say “no” if something is unnecessary, causes delay, puts me out of my way, or I don’t have time for it. Don’t get me wrong, understand I don’t live in this world alone; others do depend on me, and I want to do my part, but I had to learn and respect my limits, remember the word “no” isn’t a bad word, and I am not a superwoman.

Remember Your Likes

Becoming a parent caused me to forget I enjoyed going to the movies, social time with friends, drawing, and traveling – I lost myself in “mom .”I love being a mother, but I cannot be a “mom” without tending to my needs. It took me a while to do this, but I prioritize doing those I like, even if that means getting up two hours earlier, getting a babysitter, and reminding those around me I need time for myself.

Sleep Well

None of what I wrote above means anything if you don’t get quality sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic and Healthline, adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night. I know this can be hard while juggling life, but it’s a necessary step to a healthy you.

According to Healthline, here are a few sleep facts you should know:

  • Sleep Improves concentration and productivity.
  • Sleep supports a healthy immune system.
  • The lack of sleep affects emotions and social interactions.

Being a parent is an amazing role to have; I would never give it up –  but it’s just as important to remember to refresh and reset myself. So take care of yourself, learn your triggers and stressors, and work to take time for yourself.

You are worth it!

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