Take some time for yourself mama!

baby classes

Of course, what we mean is mamas, papas, grandparents, carers, any primary caregiver!

This is one of the most intense jobs anyone could ever do, wonderful, magical & oh-so rewarding, but boy is it intense. One of the most crucial needs that we grown-ups have is to de-stress. We all have days that we are stressed & life does not feel good, & yet, what intentional actions do we take, to minimise that stress?

Taking care of your needs is an investment for you, & being strict about this – taking a small amount of time out to de-stress, because actually, it makes us better people in the long run – makes us more able to cope with the intensity of living with & caring for young children, & any other intensities in our lives.

As a parent, some people seem to think that we should just give everything that we have, 100% of the time. In the end, we can only give what we have – if all we have is stress & pressure, what do you think we can possibly be giving? Without de-stressing, it becomes very difficult to parent the way we want to all of the time – in fact, it becomes very difficult to be the person, or perform the task, or do anything the way we want to all of the time.

The Montessori method is fundamentally about modelling to children, modelling normal human behaviours to encourage our little ones to be healthy, fully developed adults. Our little ones need role models, & to that end, they need us to role model how to deal with & reduce stress. By taking some time out, we are actually role-modelling a very important skill!
Taking time for ourselves is actually an important part of taking care of children.
Is it selfish? No. Absolutely not, we just have been conditioned to think that we must give everything that we can possibly give, it is our instinct that we must take care of everyone else around us & that taking a thought for ourselves would be considered selfish – it’s not the “acceptable thing to do”. It isn’t easy to change our thinking on this, it’s a long journey!
Does it benefit us? Yes. Actually, taking a thought for yourself, benefits you, benefits your child & benefits all those around you. In Montessori, we teach our children various Practical Life skills, such as care for the environment, care for pets –  one of the most important practises we teach in Montessori is self-care. How can our children truly learn to offer care & compassion to themselves if we don’t model this? We want our children to feel confident in taking care of their needs, we want them to lead healthy lives, to not be stressed all the time, to not live their life completely under pressure – well in order for them to learn that & practice that, they have to have a role model- they have to observe that & see that as “normal human behaviour”.
This thinking is actually the first lesson taught in First Aid – first take care of your own security after an incident before treating anyone else. On a plane, for example, the flight attendant will teach us that if oxygen masks are released, it is very important to put on your own mask before helping others.
It is hard to fight this instinct, it is not our instinct to take care of ourselves before the children or elderly around us, we have to go against our instinct because the truth is we can not care for anyone else if we cannot care for ourselves. We are much more fulfilled & emotionally healthy people when we take some time for ourselves, & the children & everyone else around us feel the advantage of this.

It’s not easy! It’s not easy to do this guilt-free, it’s not easy to find any time at all & it’s not easy to help everyone around us to understand our motives,  but you deserve it – your child deserves it – the people around you deserve it – & arguably is one of the most important things your child will benefit from. It’s not easy, it needs practice.

Taking a small amount of time for ourselves is not an absence of consideration for other people, your child or your partner, your job or your own parents, your friends or your colleagues – it is the presence of self-awareness, from one parent to another – x –

However, if you truly are unable to enlist the help of anyone else around you in order to find some time for you to de-stress, it’s very important to then be gentle with yourself – you are under a huge amount of pressure – parenting is considered the equivalent of working 2.5 full-time jobs! You very likely won’t be able to be the parent the way you want to all of the time, & so its incredibly important to go easy on yourself & don’t beat yourself up in the moments when things seem overwhelming or those late nights when it can feel hard to parent, you are doing a great job!


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