Are you a busy parent who can never find a minute for yourself?
If you are looking for more tools in your parental tool-kit, a single consultation with Biteena can significantly boost your confidence and enhance your effectiveness. Learn more about her services at Best Parent, Best Child.A_BestParent-BestChild_STANDARDLOGOJPG

Here’s a great guest post for you! Thank you to my friend and colleague Biteena Frazier who is a Parenting Specialist working with parents and children in the greater Annapolis area. When problems walk through the door uninvited and refuse to leave, Biteena helps families gather their resources to escort them right back out again.

Everyone knows that an expectant mother who takes good care of herself also takes good care of her unborn child. The time and money spent on her own health and well-being benefits both her and her developing fetus. It might be surprising to consider how this continues to be true long after the mother gives birth.

The author with her daughter Maia Frazier and mother, Diamantina Frazier, by the seaside in 1991

The author with her daughter Maia Frazier and mother, Diamantina Frazier, by the seaside in 1991

Parental responsibilities evolve as children grow and develop over time, but that connection lasts a lifetime. A mother who makes room on her priority list for her own health and well-being, enhances her child’s well-being. Flight attendants advise you to put your mask on before assisting your child because we are much more able to respond to the needs of others when our own are being met.

In young families, parenting is a full-time job, both exhilarating and exhausting. Parents of young children often have other work, family and community responsibilities as well. “So,” you might ask, “how is it possible for parents, who are often filling the equivalent of two full time jobs, to take good care of themselves?”

That’s a fair question! There is one key that can help parents find time for self-care: balance. Balance need not be perfect, may not look neat and isn’t static. Achieving balance simply means that no area of self-care is perpetually neglected over time. It doesn’t mean that we have to give equal time to our mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, social and financial needs, but that each must be honored in its own way in a meaningful time-frame. Ignoring any essential need is not sustainable in the long run and the effects of imbalance can impact the family in adverse, unpredictable ways. Think of a pillar holding up a house and what can happen when that pillar starts to lose its structural integrity. Parents carry many responsibilities and have long priority lists. Having self-care on the list is key to avoiding overwhelm and providing a strong foundation for your family is paramount to family well-being.

Here are some signs that indicate you could be out of balance. You miss spending time with a good friend or often feel lonely. You rush from work to daycare to home to evening activities with never a moment to yourself. You yearn for time alone with your spouse and notice that you haven’t had a real conversation in a while, much less any intimacy. The earlier you pay attention to signs like this the better. This could mean developing a schedule that includes a daily five-minute meditation, a weekly workout, time set aside to build career-related skills, or planning a monthly date night with your spouse. Think about what you need to feed your soul, put it in the schedule and underline it in red.

There is no set formula for finding balance. Every person and every family is unique. But feeling like you’re giving without ever receiving is a set formula for parent burnout. It is not easy to find time in a busy life to create balance. Remembering that your child’s well being is inextricably connected with your own can help. Time and money spent on self-care directly benefits your child. Far from being “selfish,” noticing and finding some time for taking care of you is taking care of your child.

If your life has slipped out of balance, you’re not alone! You may find it helpful to speak with someone who understands the challenges and can help you plan next steps. Best Parent, Best Child offers private sessions and group classes in a peaceful setting where you can reflect, refuel and regain your balance.