- Prioritize personal relaxation, setting aside at least 30–60 minutes daily for calming activities like meditation, crafts, or baths.
- Emphasize physical health through nutritious eating, hydration, quality sleep, and regular exercise.
- Ensure dedicated one-on-one time with your partner to strengthen the relationship, even if it’s simple at-home activities.
- Maintain friendships for mental well-being and lean on supportive communities like mom’s groups.
- Continue engaging in hobbies that offer personal fulfillment, from the arts to sports.
- Gradually declutter your living space to reduce stress and create a more harmonious environment.
- Cultivate self-compassion by recognizing the challenges of parenting and celebrating small victories.
- Incorporate short breaks and mini-getaways, even locally, to refresh and recharge.
Parenting is one of life’s greatest adventures, but it can also feel overwhelming at times. Finding a balance between caring for your children and caring for yourself is an ongoing challenge. This two-part blog shares ideas to help you make more time for your own needs while being the best parent you can be.
In this post, we’ll explore ways to prioritize self-care as a parent. Then, in part two, we’ll cover fun ideas for spending quality time with your kids. Our goal is to provide helpful, realistic tips to make your days as a parent a little easier.
Let’s get started with some self-care strategies to recharge your mind, body, and spirit.
Make Time for Relaxation
Between work, chores, and childcare duties, it’s easy for parents to neglect their own need for downtime. But regularly relaxing your mind and body provides immense benefits. Simple acts of self-care, like meditating, enjoying a hobby, or taking a bath, can dramatically lower stress and leave you feeling refreshed.
Aim to schedule at least 30–60 minutes per day just for yourself. Protect this time and use it to engage in an activity you find calming and joyful. Your improved mood will allow you to be more patient and engaged with your kids.
Ideas for Relaxation
- Take a bubble bath
- Sip a warm drink while reading
- Try a short guided meditation
- Go for a nature walk
- Curl up with your pet
- Listen to soothing music
- Enjoy a few minutes of stretching or yoga
- Crochet, knit or do crafts
- Light candles and practice deep breathing
Remember, you don’t need huge blocks of time to relax and decompress. Even 10-15 minutes here and there to unwind can make a big difference.
Focus on Your Physical Health
It’s all too easy for busy parents to put their own health and nutrition on the backburner. But taking good care of your physical well-being benefits your entire family. When you have more energy, you can play actively with your kids, remain patient through tantrums, and model healthy habits for them to follow.
Be intentional about eating nutritious foods, staying hydrated, getting quality sleep, and exercising. Little daily actions like taking the stairs, drinking an extra glass of water, and choosing veggies over chips really do make a difference!
- Stock up on easy, healthy snacks like fruit, nuts and yogurt
- Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night
- Drink water throughout the day
- Take a daily walk with your child
- Do strength exercises like squats and push-ups at home
- Meal prep on weekends to set up healthy eating all week
- Schedule regular check-ups with your doctor
Plan Couple Time
It’s vital for couples to spend one-on-one time together, apart from parenting duties. Schedule a weekly date night or fun activity with your partner, without the kids. It doesn’t need to be fancy; even takeout food and a board game can create special bonding moments.
If hiring a sitter isn’t feasible, get creative. Have your grandparents watch the kids while you enjoy a picnic at the park. Or put the kids to bed early and then watch a movie together at home. Show your partner you value your relationship by being intentional about couple time.
Make Time for Friends
Your mental health depends a great deal on meaningful connections. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain friendships, even during busy parenting seasons. Social support reduces stress and gives you an outlet separate from family demands.
Schedule weekly coffee dates, join a mom’s group, or host casual potlucks at your home. Your friends provide community and laughter that recharge your spirit. Don’t isolate yourself; prioritize playdates, phone calls, and get-togethers.
Engage in Hobbies You Enjoy
When you became a parent, you didn’t stop being a unique person with interests and dreams. Make time for hobbies that connect you with your passions and bring you joy. Creative outlets provide immense stress relief and mental stimulation.
Maybe you love painting, photography, gardening, or playing sports. Find ways to incorporate your interests into your schedule. Ask your partner to watch the kids for an hour while you pursue a hobby. You’ll return refreshed and better able to appreciate time with your family.
Declutter Your Home
Cluttered, disorganized homes create subconscious stress. Make time to tackle the clutter and create peaceful order in your living space. You’ll be amazed at how refreshed you feel when your home emanates calm rather than chaos!
Start small—maybe just one drawer or shelf at a time. Donate unused items, file away paperwork, and find a home for stray toys and belongings. As you slowly conquer the clutter, your whole family will benefit from the welcoming environment.
Parenting comes with constant challenges. Be gentle with yourself when you make mistakes. Talk to yourself with the kindness and empathy you would show a good friend. Remember that you’re doing the best you can, and progress happens slowly over time.
Let go of rigid expectations and celebrate small wins. Give yourself permission to ask for help when you need it – community creates strength. With self-compassion, you can build resilience and thrive during this beautiful and demanding journey of parenthood.
Travel across the globe isn’t required for an energizing getaway! Even short trips can take you out of your everyday routine and provide renewal. Drive a few hours away and spend a weekend camping, touring a museum, or exploring a quaint mountain town. Or check into a local hotel just to relax in the pool.
Treat yourself to a spa overnight while grandparents or friends care for the kids. Lean on your support system so you can enjoy occasional mini-breaks. You’ll return feeling refreshed and ready to embrace parenting once again.
Unplug from Technology
While technology connects us, it can also distract us from being fully present. Make time each day to completely unplug. Avoid glancing at your phone constantly. Turn off notifications and take social media breaks. Immerse yourself in an activity like reading or hiking.
Protect device-free time, especially in the evenings, so you can unwind and prepare for restful sleep. Your kids will benefit from seeing you engage their attention in real life rather than on a screen.
Recharge with Mini-Getaways
In addition to short local trips, consider planning quarterly 3-5-day mini-getaways to give yourself an extended break. These could include:
- A weekend visiting out-of-town friends or family
- A mother-daughter spa retreat
- A road trip to a few national parks with your partner
- A fun weekend in the city with your mom and friends
With a bit of advance planning, you can find affordable flights and accommodations. Take advantage of residency discounts if visiting family members who live in alluring vacation locales! Share your getaway highlights with your kids through video calls and postcards.
Embrace Help from Others
We all need help sometimes, so embrace your community resources! Possible support systems include:
- Trusted family members and friends for childcare
- Housecleaning services to tackle heavy chores
- Grocery and meal delivery services
- Mother’s helper to entertain kids while you get things done
- Online parenting communities to connect with those facing similar challenges
- Therapy or life coaching
- Hiring a babysitter so you can enjoy couple time
You don’t have to do it all alone. We all need help sometimes, so build your village and allow others to support you on your parenting journey.
Reflect on What Fuels You
Self-care looks different for everyone. Reflect on what makes you feel loved, fueled, and renewed. Consider these questions:
- What activities help you de-stress and feel more calm?
- How do you best recharge – with quiet alone time or with supportive friends?
- What makes you feel nourished physically? Emotionally?
- When do you feel most confident and alive?
- What memories bring you joy?
- What dreams fill you with energy and purpose?
Tune into your unique needs. Then purposefully nourish those areas through daily habits and occasional indulgences that fill your cup. You deserve to thrive!
Summary of Self-Care Ideas for Parents
|Make Time to Relax||Enjoy hobbies, meditate, and take baths|
|Focus on Physical Health||Eat nutritious foods, exercise, and get enough sleep|
|Plan Couple Time||Weekly date nights, shared activities|
|Spend Time with Friends||Join mom’s groups and schedule play dates|
|Engage in Hobbies You Enjoy||Crafts, sports, gardening, reading|
|Declutter Your Home||Organize in small chunks and donate unused items|
|Practice Self-Compassion||Be gentle with yourself and ask for help|
|Unplug from Technology||Limit social media and be fully present|
|Take Mini-Breaks||Local staycations, spa overnights|
The Parenting Journey Continues
We hope you found this article helpful as you seek balance in caring for yourself and your kids. Keep trying new self-care strategies until you discover what works for your life. Be patient and celebrate small progress. You deserve to nurture your mind, body and spirit!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can I make time for self-care when I barely have a minute to spare?
A: Start small—even 5–10 minutes helps! Squeeze in what you can, like listening to a podcast while folding laundry or enjoying tea after the kids are in bed. Ask your partner to cover both kids for 20 minutes so you can take a bubble bath. Set an alarm reminding you to take a brief walk outside. Little bits of self-care add up!
Q: I feel too guilty spending time or money on myself. How can I overcome this?
A: Remind yourself regularly that taking care of your needs allows you to better care for others. When you’re operating from a place of depletion rather than renewal, no one benefits – including your kids! Self-care is an investment in your family. Start small with free activities like spending time in nature or checking books out from the library so it feels more manageable.
Q: I want to exercise more but can’t seem to fit it in. Do you have tips?
A: Look for ways to multitask: go on family walks or bike rides, do squats or lunges while waiting for dinner to cook, put on music, and dance with your kids. Break exercise into short chunks rather than full workouts. Or wake up 30 minutes earlier to workout before the house is bustling. Ask your partner to cover the kids for 20 minutes after work so you can go to the gym. Be flexible and squeeze in activity whenever possible throughout your day.
Q: I want to take up a hobby, but I’m not sure what to try. Do you have any suggestions?
A: Great question! Here are some accessible hobby ideas to consider: photography (use your phone camera), writing (start a journal), arts and crafts (Pinterest is full of fun project ideas), baking and cooking (try new healthy recipes), puzzles and board games, reading (join a book club for accountability), gardening (start small with pots on your patio), bird watching, learning to play an instrument like the ukulele or guitar, and adult coloring books. Think about what sounds enjoyable and start small!
Q: I’m an introvert and don’t really enjoy large social gatherings. How important is mom-friend time?
A: If large groups wear you out, focus on nurturing a few close friendships instead through regular phone calls, walks, or coffee. Or join an online group for moms where you can connect from the comfort of your home. Don’t force socialization that stresses you out. Just find a few trusted friends who provide meaningful support and understanding.
Q: My partner doesn’t seem to think couple time is very important. How can I get us on the same page?
A: Have an honest, vulnerable discussion about how you each feel loved and connected. Share your desire to strengthen your relationship and ask for their thoughts. Schedule set dates and protect that time. Try new activities you’ll both enjoy. With consistent effort, your partner will begin to see the value. Counseling is also an option if you continue to feel disconnected.
Q: I’d love to travel more, but it seems unrealistic right now. Do you have simpler getaway ideas?
A: Absolutely! Book an affordable hotel or cabin just a few hours away and spend the weekend relaxing by the pool or exploring local attractions. Take advantage of warmer seasons by camping or renting a lake house with another family. Or splurge on a couples massage near home and enjoy brunch afterward. There are many quick, budget-friendly getaways to try!
Q: My house constantly feels messy and cluttered. Where do I even begin to tackle the disorder?
A: Break it down into manageable chunks. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and focus on organizing just one area—a closet, drawer, cabinet, etc. Do a little each day and celebrate every success. For ongoing maintenance, develop habits like putting items away as soon as you’re finished using them. Enlist older kids to contribute by storing their own toys and more. Slowly but surely, you’ll gain control of the clutter!
Q: How do I say “no” to extra activities without feeling guilty?
A: Know your limits and learn to prioritize your family’s most important commitments. Politely decline any extras that would push you into overload. Remember that you’re modeling self-care for your kids by not overextending yourself. Keep social media use limited so you don’t compare your schedule to others. Share age-appropriate details with your kids when turning down their requests “Mommy is feeling very tired, so we’re going to stay home tonight.” Be confident in doing what’s right for you!
Q: Do you have any strategies for limiting technology time for both kids and myself?
A: Absolutely! For kids, set usage time limits, have tech-free areas/times, store devices overnight to avoid bedtime battles, schedule tech-free days, provide engaging alternatives, and set a good example yourself. For yourself, turn off notifications, delete social media apps that distract you, charge devices outside your bedroom overnight, and make a habit of plugging into people rather than screens in your free time. Start small and build consistency.
Q: I want to improve my eating habits, but I’m so busy. Help!
A: Look for shortcuts like buying pre-cut veggies and washing or chopping produce on weekends when you have more time. Stock your pantry and fridge with healthy grab-and-go items like nuts, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, and hummus. Choose recipes with five ingredients or less. Make simple swaps, like having a salad instead of fries with your meal. Use a crockpot or instant pot for hands-off, healthy cooking. Meal planning and prep will become your best friends!
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