We can't give what we don't have. I think this is the first and most important rule of parenting. We absolutely must care for ourselves, treating ourselves with loving kindness, if we are to give our best to our children.
In the busyness of parenting, caring for other people's needs can feel urgent and seem endless. Even when we have a few minutes to ourselves, it can be easy to get caught up in things we don't love but that are somehow compelling (social media, perfectionistic projects, etc.). Sometimes we lose track of the small things that we can do do to nurture ourselves.
Is there music that you love to listen to? Make a great playlist to enjoy while you cook dinner, drive to school, or change diapers! Do you love to do yoga but don't have time for a class? It might be wonderful to do one pose on your own every day. (maybe the same pose each day or try a few favorites). Do you care deeply about beauty? You may love to keep a fresh flower next to your bed each day. Do you want to practice mindfulness but find it hard to have time for a formal sitting practice? You could take a moment of mindful awareness each time you wash your hands or close the car door.
As you do small things that bring you joy, I hope you find yourself getting into the habit of nurturing yourself.
And when parenting feels hard and these small practices don't feel like enough, consider budgeting time and money for bigger things-- to get counseling, join a yoga class, have lunch with a friend, get a massage, or join a parent group. You deserve this and more!
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.