Sometimes, you put your kids to sleep; other times, they put you to sleep. Shucks, sometimes nobody sleeps.
But one thing is for sure: parenting is a full-time job.
Today, I’d like to share with you a few tips I use when the day winds down and the tired/hangry hits our house in full gear.
Tip #1: Prioritize self-care needs over self-care wants.
When I finally have a minute to myself, I try to practice self-care in genuine ways, but I tend to start with my wants: like hiding on the other side of the bed with a good chocolate bar, or reading a book in the bath.
Don’t get me wrong, chocolate and books are great; but you should also ensure your needs are being met.
- If you find yourself with an available second: pee first, because heaven knows you held it while you changed the baby’s diaper four times, wiped a plethora of runny nose fountains, and got lunch on the table (and then off of the ground). And, it should be a given (but I know because I’ve been there) — the kids will survive if you use the restroom on your own.
- Get dressed for the day, even if it’s 5pm.
- Can’t squeeze in a luxurious bubble bath? Take a quick shower.
I promise, you will feel better about your parenting when your needs are met, as well as your wants, each in their own course.
Tip #2: Don’t be afraid to vary the meals you eat with your children.
I recently set a goal to eat more often with my kids. We almost always eat family dinner together and, from developing a regular eating schedule, to providing meaningful presence, the importance of mealtime togetherness cannot be overstated.
However, every day looks different. And kids are generally pretty self-contained while eating, which makes it a great time to get things done.
So, my tip is to rotate, not necessarily the time of day, but the meals you eat together each day, based on:
- their moods
- how well/when they sleep for you, and
- what you need to get done that day.
In other words, eat at least two meals with your children, daily, and use the third meal (your choice) for some sensory rest, or to catch up on the pile of clothes/toys/books amassing in the family room.
If the baby doesn’t nap that afternoon, you might give yourself a free moment during lunchtime. Or use breakfast to get ready for the day. Alternatively, if you feed grumpy, tired toddlers an early dinner of PB&H and put them to bed, you can rest easy knowing you already shared quality mealtime with them earlier in the day.
This allows for more flexibility and a few extra minutes of peace.
Tip # 3: Bring back the blanket fort.
We hope to finish our yard come Spring, but, without a lawn or a fence, this simple blanket fort we make with our Papasan chair keeps them giggling and occupied for at least an hour, sometimes more. It’s also great for cold weather days. Besides,
I love to watch their imaginations run wild. Fond memories, anyone?
I also use this trick almost every day for my little girl’s naptime.
“You don’t want to nap in your bed?”
“How about I build a fort?”
Check! Mom for the win!
Tip #4: Move up bath time.
I don’t know about yours, but my kids love the bath.
- Diaper blowout? BATH.
- Mac ‘n Cheese for lunch? BATH.
- Stubbed toe? BATH.
You don’t have to wait until bedtime. If baths are a part of your nightly routine, you can always throw in a second bath later.
For water conservation and safety, ***keep playtime baths to an inch or less of water.
Essentially, it’s an indoor splash pad, for which your kids will endlessly praise your name.
Tip #5: Say you’re sorry.
Sometimes, you can have all of the best tips in your parenting arsenal, but you still. Just. Lose it.
Because no matter how hard we try, or how great of a job we do 80% of the time, we are not perfect.
The secret to avoiding the guilt trip? Apologize.
When your doe-eyed 3-year-old gives you a big hug and says, “I love you” (because, let’s be honest, their capacity for forgiveness is next level), it goes a long way toward helping you forgive yourself.
So give it a try. And hang in there.
You can do it!
God gave your children to exactly you for a reason.
And, as always, if you have any tips of your own, let us know!
Here’s to making it through the day together.