Pamper Yourself (Your Kids Will Thank You for It)

| Posted On Jan 17, 2012 | By:

Whether you are raising kids or enjoying your “empty nest” or retirement, taking care of yourself affects not only you, but also those around you and all those who care about you.  It is not selfish to take a little “me, me, me” time.  When you are raising kids, you need time to recharge your batteries, relieve the inevitable stress and rejuvenate for the challenges of tomorrow.

And let’s face it: by the time your kids are grown and you are done raising them, you deserve some pampering!    Retirement in particular is well-earned and for many, it is the first time in your lives that you actually have plenty of time to take care of yourself.  Not surprisingly, your kids may be too busy with their own careers and their own families to help.   But at the same time, adult children worry and want to be reassured that their parents are taking care of themselves.  Pampering yourself is a “win-win:” wonderful and good for you and one way you can save your children some worry.

Whether your children are growing or grown, here are some ways you can help your kids by helping yourself:

Care for your health.  When you are raising kids, everyone else’s needs seem to take priority over your own.   It can be easy to ignore your own health needs and to avoid recommended screenings when you have play dates to keep, soccer games to make, groceries to buy, bills to pay.  But remember, you are in this for the long haul, and a healthy body helps with endurance.  And raising kids right is a lot of work.  Imagine how much more effective you can be in parenting your children when your body is functioning optimally.

And when your kids are grown, they shouldn’t have to worry that you haven’t followed up with your medical appointments.  Eventually, you may appreciate your children taking you to your medical appointments and helping you follow up with the care you need.  But attention to your own health needs will keep you independent longer into your older years.

Refresh spiritually.  As you are raising children, your spiritual practices may be focused on teaching your children ethics and morals.  It may be important to you to instill faith or spirituality into your children, but what about you?  When was the last time you communed with your own spirit and felt refreshed?   When you are raising a family, feeling refreshed will energize you for dealing with parenting challenges.   When your children are grown, they will worry less when they believe you are at peace spiritually.

Stay flexible.  I mean this literally and figuratively!  Physical flexibility can save you from all sorts of avoidable aches and pains, as well as helping you as a parent.  With physical flexibility you are more likely to catch a child before she falls or to avoid breaking a hip when slipping on an icy sidewalk.  You are more able to keep up with your children or grandchildren when your body doesn’t protest the activity.  Exercise is usually the key to staying physically flexible.   Martial arts and yoga are especially good at developing physical flexibility.   Harvard Vanguard also offers some great classes, like Strong Women Stay Young.  Consult with your primary care doctor about what exercise is best for you.

In addition to physical flexibility, mental and emotional flexibility means letting go of the things you are unable to change.  This takes some practice.  Sometimes it takes professional counseling.   Mental and emotional flexibility helps you cope when your children do outrageous things like dyeing their hair purple or refusing to consider attending college.

So, the next time you feel a strong need for that “me-time,” don’t consider it a luxury to be buried under necessity or time that detracts from your family time.  Rather, know that time well-spent on yourself is time well-spent for your family.  Enjoy!

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  1. Raising kids, working full time, financially preparing for college expenses and retirement, as well as all the other challenges an active father or mother are confronted with while raising children definitely takes a toll on the body both mentally and physically. The fact remains however, we are no good to anyone if we do not take care of ourselves.

    I speak from personal experience and know how exhausting all the responsibilities that we take on can be on a daily basis. Having and maintaining a positive, upbeat attitude is very important. With the right attitude, much more can be achieved.

    Taking a little time for ourselves goes a long way for the entire family. It allows us to be more productive parents and spouses which has a positive ripple affect on everyone. Take the time to eat well and get a little exercise. Exercising can simply include walking a few days a week for a couple miles.

    Point is, yes it is very important to pamper yourself a little bit, your kids will thank you for it for sure!

    Comment by FWT on January 22, 2012 at 10:11 pm

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