Repeat after us: self-care is not selfish. It is a necessary part of parenting. It is the best way that you can be there -- physically and emotionally -- for your baby and others who depend on you.
Explore this page to learn more about the importance of self-care, tips for practicing self-care, and resources.
Have you ever heard the phrase 'you can't pour from an empty glass'? It means that you have to take care of yourself first in order to take good care of others. If you are healthy--emotionally, mentally, and physically--you are better able to be present for, and enjoy, the people who depend on you the most.
Self-care is about taking care of yourself so that you can show up for your family. Self-care can look a lot of different ways and includes taking care of yourself:
Whatever self-care looks like to you, give yourself permission to practice it. You're deserving of that kindness to yourself.
Know your worth
As a parent, you’re one of the most important people in your child’s life. Sometimes the non-birthing parent feels like they are not as important. Rest assured, you are a pillar of your child’s development—a positive relationship with you provides your child a sense of physical and emotional security. For example, children who have involved fathers, regardless if their parents are in a relationship or not, do better in school, make more money, and have healthier romantic relationships than those who do not.
There’s no way to be a perfect parent, but there are endless ways to be a good one.
Having a child is a big change, so it is normal to feel stressed or confused. There is no parenting manual, so everyone makes mistakes. What's important is how you deal with your mistakes—acknowledge them to yourself and your child, and then move forward with a plan to do better next time. And remember, it is ok to ask for help.
What are you carrying and who else is carrying it?
Build your village
Being a parent can feel overwhelming at times. It helps to talk to others who are going through the same thing. Building a network of other parents is a great way to get advice or just have people to talk to who know what you’re going through. Building this support will not only help you, it will help others, too. A lot of people suffer in silence—it takes all of us to stand up and make it ok to talk about it.
Schedule 'me time'
Kids thrive on routines--so do their grown ups! Try to find one hour or even a few minutes in your day to do something for yourself. If you have a partner, create a schedule together that includes time for both of you. That could be taking a walk, nap, or bath or having dinner with a friend.
Get to know yourself again
What did you like to do before you had kids? Did you have a hobby that you don't have time for anymore? Schedule time to revisit that hobby. You can even find a way to share it with your child. Both of you will enjoy the opportunity to connect over something you love and your child will benefit from knowing that there is more to you than being a parent.
Commiting to taking care of and loving yourself is a great investment in your family's future. Here are some ideas:
Parenting can be exhausting. Try to find 15 minutes in a day to slow down, or even take a quick nap.
Connect to Yourself
Keep a journal and use it to vent, express gratitude, and write affirmations.
It is ok to tell people no. When you say 'no' to something, you may be saying 'yes' to more time for your family and peace of mind for yourself.
Talk to Someone
Everyone can benefit from therapy. A therapist can help you work through difficult feelings and challenges and help you get peace.
Knowing when and how to ask for help is one of the best ways to practice self-care. Here are some great resources for getting support and building your village.
Talk to other birthing families about dealing with stress.
Patterson Park North & East:
The Family Tree
Call their parenting helpline or take advantage of their drop-in childcare program.
Free weekly fitness and nutrition program.
Black Mental Health Alliance
Mental wellness support, including finding a therapist and healing racial trauma