Truthyfully, the title of this blog post could more accurately be: 3 Keys to #winning at Parenting…Even When [ insert Life Challenge here].
Because these 3 Tips are what enable any Parent dealing with any issue be more present, loving, and ninja-like in their ability to navigate anything parenthood and life has to throw at you.
Life can be challenging enough just getting ourselves through it. But getting little people (or big people) that we are responsible for through it too? That takes all the life-hacks and resources we can find, doesn’t it?
Add to this any kind of chronic suffering – migraines, auto-immune disorders, exhaustion, work or financial stress, relationship tension, or emotional challenges like grief, anxiety, depression, or loneliness – and so often we can feel like a Parenting #fail.
When my daughter was younger, I had such high hopes for being a parent. I read all the parenting books, signed up for all the parenting blogs and newsletters. I made my own baby food, wouldn’t let sugar touch her lips, kept all toys battery free, read books, listened to music, co-viewed educational shows, and narrated endlessly what I was doing.
I jumped on Pintrest and pinned like a mad-woman: the perfect birthday parties, the perfect halloween costumes, the perfect holidays, the perfect summer fun activities, the perfect arts and crafts, the perfect room decor.
All the while I was suffering from depression and chronic headaches. So many of my best laid plans and intentions for being a great parent fell by the wayside as I curled up in bed and waited for the pain and exhaustion to pass.
I’ll do better tomorrow, I always told myself. Tomorrow we will make play-doh and go to the library and play together. Tomorrow I will find my #win.
Tomorrow I’ll be the Parent I want to be.
The “tomorrow” I was always hoping for never came.
Until I had one of the most profound experiences of my life. I went on a Retreat.
A full week of complete focus on my Self with intention, compassion, and a resolve to take exquisite care of my body, mind, emotions, and spirit.
My life changed after that Retreat. And I realized that #winning at Parenting isn’t about the Doing. It’s about the Being. Being my authentic, exquisitely cared for self with my daughter was the exact gift she needed from me.
She didn’t need the best birthday party, or lunches, or craft projects, or room decor.
She needed the best version of me.
And I couldn’t give her the Best Version of Me until I did these 3 Key Things.
3 Keys to #winning at Parenting…Even When You Feel Like Crap
1. Make Yourself a Priority
I know, I know – this sounds Crazy right?? How selfish would I put myself at the top of my To-Do List?
The truth is, making yourself a Priority is the best gift you could ever give to your family (honestly, to anyone or anything!). When you put yourself first and attend to your needs – fill your cup – then you can show up as your Best Self. For your kids, your partner, your business, and your community.
And truly, it doesn’t take much as much as we think!
Setting out with goals of making self-care a priority can often lead you quickly into overwhelm. I’m supposed to meditate for 20 minutes in the morning and evening. I’m supposed to journal in the morning before I do anything else. I need to fit in 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of strength training. Oh yeah, I also need to read those 15 inspirational books on personal development. You can quickly feel like self-care is just another drain on your energy. Another tick on your never ending to-do list that sends you straight into bed and under the covers.
Investing just 15 minutes of self-care – in whatever form helps you feel renewed, refreshed, and exquisitely cared for – can make a huge impact! It’s honestly the best return on investment for time that I know.
Put it on your calendar. Make it non-negotiable. Enlist the support and cooperation of anyone in your world that might otherwise encroach on this time. This includes your kids, your spouse, your boss, and YOU (make a deal with yourself that you won’t give this time up!).
2. Reverse Engineer Your Life
If you live with migraines or any kind of chronic pain or challenge, you probably already “know” what your triggers are. You know you “should” get more sleep. You should make self-care a priority. You should set better boundaries, stop saying yes to all events and invitations to do more. The list of “Shoulds” goes on and on, right? But how do you actually make these things happen?
Every night you go to sleep and you resolve to get it right the next day. But your alarm goes off or your kids come jump in bed with you and you’re off to the exact same patterns and habits that you engaged in yesterday.
To make a change, you have to change something.
And to change something, you have to Reverse Engineer it.
Pick one thing you want to change. Let’s use the above example of scheduling 15 minutes into your day for self-care or “Me Time.”
Now identify all the Challenges to making that happen – make a list. Get it all out of your head and onto the paper. For instance, you might identify your kids as a challenge to getting your 15 minutes of self care in the morning. They need you in the morning. You have to feed them and get everyone ready for school. You can’t even go to the bathroom by yourself, much less get 15 whole minutes undisturbed!
Now make a list of possible solutions to this challenge. You can ask your spouse to take on Morning duties for the first 15 minutes. You can give your kids instructions for being on their own and taking on responsibilities for themselves for 15 minutes.
You’re a creative being! I know you can think of a whole list of possible solutions. And honestly, you might have to go through that whole list before you hit on something that works. But…you’ve made yourself a Priority, remember? That includes finding solutions to make things work for you!
Need a little help with this? This is what I do! This is my Zone of Genius. Let’s get on a call and find out how I can help you live a self-care centered life so you can flourish with ease and pleasure and #win at Parenting!
3. Draw on your Strengths and Victories
You’ve won at something in your life, right? Maybe you’ve had Career Dreams that you’ve gone for and absolutely hit it out of the park.
Perhaps you have a deeply enriching spiritual life. Or maybe you’re a whiz at your finances.
Somewhere in your life, you’ve experienced a Victory. Where is it? What is it? How did you do it? Why did you do it?
Use all of those same skills, knowledge, wisdom, and willpower that served you in this area of life where you’re already #winning to Reverse Engineer your solution to Making Yourself a Priority so you can #win at parenting too!
Your pain – whatever it is, is a cry for help from your system. Something isn’t working. And until you make space to turn toward yourself to address the problem, that chronic pain will hang out with you like that often harsh but honest friend who always tells you a hard truth when you need to hear it.
These 3 Keys to #winning at Parenting (really at Life)…even when you feel like crap – are simple. But they aren’t necessarily easy. Getting support to make these shifts and changes is the first step to finding your way out of chronic suffering and into the Parent you want to be.
Are you interested in learning more about natural approaches to long-term relief from migraines and chronic headaches? I’ve teamed up with Indigo Healing Acupuncture to offer a unique holistic program for anyone suffering from headaches. We help people (who have tried everything) break free from headaches by discovering hidden obstacles to healing. We empower them with knowledge and tools to find long-lasting relief so they can thrive with freedom and joy in their life.