I once heard an interview by Jada Pinkett Smith, wife of acclaimed actor, Will Smith, and what she said in that interview resonated with me on a deep level. She said in order for me to take care of my families, I first need to take care of myself. Since then I have heard the same saying in different ways: “love yourself…so you can love others, etc.”

A lot of mothers ask me why I run or how did I manage to find time to run/walk even when my daughter was a newborn. The answer to it is rooted back in the same philosophy, running or some form of physical activity is my way of taking care of myself. After a run, I am more at ease, relaxed, and ready to take on the day and be there for my family. In short, taking care of myself, helps me take care of my family.

As mothers we get lost in running around our kids, partners, home, relatives, social commitments, etc. Often times being stretched too thin or not having time for doing the 1 thing for ourselves, gets to us and our parenting.

For me the answer is running. One hour or even 30 minutes in the morning, just by myself, and I am set for the day.

Now, I am not saying everyone has to go out and run, but I encourage moms to take out time and prioritize what will make them happy. It can be 15 minutes of reading, coloring, or knitting. The list could be anything, but make time for it. It may not seem easy at first, as questions such as “who will take care of the baby then,” or “my house won’t clean itself up.” These are valid concerns.

I am a big proponent of splitting responsibility as a parent. What happens in our house, my husband takes care of the child during the mornings while I am out and then we switch. He, too, sees what a difference it makes in my attitude and behavior. To make it work long-term takes time and effort, but the benefits are tremendous.

Self Care Tips

1) Acknowledge yourself as an individual

2) Find your one thing that makes you happy (reading, coloring, knitting, cooking, tv shows, etc.)

3) Talk to your partner or hire help (if possible) to split responsibilities and schedule that time for yo

urself. Use daycare if necessary, an hour a day at daycare will not harm the child.

4) If you cannot use daycare and have no help at home, use baby’s nap time or time after your child sleeps to do something for yourself, even if you need to finish “housework”. Your needs are more important than chores.

5) Don’t hold in guilt; the beauty is that our kids give us plenty of opportunities to make up for the lost time. We will be in better spirits to take care of our children as a result of “our” time.

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