This time of year finds parents and caregivers facing a new rhythm—one that includes early bedtimes, a plethora of sign up emails littering our inboxes, calls for fresh plastic binders and sharpened pencils. While we see the anxious looks on our kiddos’ faces as they sling on their backpack and move into their next year ahead, we often neglect to notice our own emotional reactions to all the transitions. We constantly hear about how to prepare our kiddos for their school year—but what about us?
Some tips as you navigate this new year ahead:
Think about last year. What was challenging—or downright diffucult—about the school year? Was it in your control or outside of it? If outside, consider what will be a new normal, what will need to change, so that challenge will be met and overcome more easily this year.
Carpool. Grocery delivery. Babysitting. Grandma. There is a whole world out there that can be accessed to help you and your family. What would life look like if you accepted help?
A cliche, but a good one! We parents are often running on a hamster wheel. What would it be like if you stopped, even just for a moment, breathed deeply, and took care of your needs?
4–Remember the end game.
Imagine yourself 10, 20 years from now. What does life look like? Is anything happening now that you’d regret? What would you want your life to look like then—and what are you doing today to make that a reality?
5–Stop and hug those kids.
Our children, in the end, don’t really need much, but they do need our love. The dishes can wait, and sometimes we absentmindedly forget that. Hugs are known to increase the “love hormone,” oxytocin. Give them extra snuggles today—for not just them, but for you, too.
I hope this season for caregivers and parents will find one that is a little less chaotic and more intentional and maybe even have a moment or two of peace in it. You are worth it, and when you take care of yourself, you model this glorious behavior to your growing kids. They learn by watching you—show them how to kick butt at the game of self care!