“Self-care isn’t selfish.” We’ve all hear that saying, haven’t we? And although it’s true, if we only define one way of ‘doing’ self-care (the kind where you need time alone for an entire day, doing something extremely relaxing and indulging yourself), then I think we are doing a disservice to the many people who can’t do that. Are we creating even more anxiety and stress with this idea that is unattainable to so many [parents]? And is that even the self-care everybody wants? Prior to having Collins, my kind of self-care would’ve been a day in the mountains, getting that hiking elevation in, versus a day at the spa. That’s because, self-care is different for everyone.
For some, it may look like a day away from your phone; for others, it may be the opportunity to completely get caught up on everything on your phone. Is your kind of self-care where you cook yourself a beautiful meal or where you don’t have to cook at all? Do you see what I’m saying? There are so many different versions of self-care and I think it’s important that we each individually find ours. But today, the voice I’m speaking to you from on the other side of the screen, is the voice of an attachment parent. If you too are an attachment parent, or someone who isn’t able to get away from their kids for an entire day… someone who doesn’t want to get away from their kids for an entire day, then this post is for you! So, what does self-care look like when you aren’t solo?
What is Attachment Parenting?
Attachment parenting puts the relationship and connection between parent and child at the forefront of everything. From pregnancy, to feeding, to sleep and contact, to behaviour and discipline, the nurture of attachment parenting aims to raise children to become adults secure in their emotions, their lifelong relationships, and their independence (built from the dependence they have on you [the caregiver]).
That all sounds very technical, and maybe some of you practise attachment parenting without even knowing it. And if attachment parenting isn’t for you, and you want to click “x” out of here for now, fair enough! But, maybe some of my thoughts on self-care with children will resonate with you regardless.
How do you incorporate self-care into Attachment Parenting?
Everyone’s idea of self-care is unique to them. So, I can only speak from my perspective. Prior to having kids, I posted about what self-care for me looked like. One of the big things I used to do was take myself on a monthly date…a solo monthly date. Have I done that since having kids? No. Am I upset about that? Actually, not at all. Taking a day away to myself would be the opposite of what I personally want for self-care. I would be away thinking about my family and missing them the whole time. But if that’s your idea of self-care, totally do it, and work it into your life!
For me, self-care with kid(s) has looked like this: Shower, Feed Myself, Move My Body, Do Things I Enjoy (with my kid(s)).
Okay, maybe it’s breastfeeding hormones, but I need a shower daily. Good thing [my] kid(s) like to play in the bathroom…quick solution – they play, you get clean. It may not be a long, luxurious shower, but making sure I’m clean sure makes me feel like I loved up on myself that day!
I often hear people say that they forgot to eat, or that they didn’t have time to feed themselves. From day one of having a little human, I put nourishing myself at the top of the list. It helps that with breastfeeding, you need to eat. I always make sure I’m well-fed and I eat enough times throughout the day to fuel my body. Like the bathroom, it helps that my little one likes to enjoy time in the kitchen, too. If you can food prep, that makes all the different. When I was first postpartum, I had a ton of food saved in the freezer, so I could eat things one-handed while nursing. Now, I make sure I have snacks ready for me when my little one naps, and I really savour all our meal times together.
Move My Body
There can be a lot of pressure to get big workouts in. And don’t get me wrong, I love a big workout. Also, if you can get a big workout in, please go for it! But I’ve reminded myself that what’s most important is that I’m simply moving my body. Postpartum, lots of my workouts have been hiking and walks – getting outside in the fresh air is good for everyone and it’s brought me memories with my little that I’ll forever treasure. So, even if I don’t get a bigger workout in, I know I gave my body a gift. When I can get a bigger workout in, and my little one is there with me, I’m glad she’s able to see her mom taking care of herself. PS. Along with moving my body, I also stretch my mind via meditation!
Do Things I Enjoy (with kids)
A couple of the many things I enjoy to do are make music and make food! Both of those, I feel like I can enjoy with my child! Once again, because she’s little, it may not be as extravagant as it was in the past – I may not be able to sit down at the piano and play for hours, or make a meal that takes up a whole day, but different is okay – different is great! This season of life, of exposing my child to the world around her and soaking up all the things I love alongside her, is a season I’m cherishing. One day she may not want to do my activities with me, and things will change again, but for right now, I’ll thank my lucky stars that she wants to sit on my hip while I whip up some dinner, or bang on the piano keys half way through my song!
Well, that’s that! That’s how I give myself self-care in this period of my life. Or at least that’s the lens I see it through. Happy self-caring in whatever way it works for you!