Today I’m reflecting on the things I do for self-care. Life often gets hectic when a deadline approaches for work, or one of my men (the big one or the little one) gets sick, a trip is coming up, or a major household repair is necessary.

Before becoming a working, stay-at-home parent, many of these things we on my list (thank you Rachelle at Info Counseling for this excellent compilation):

After becoming a parent… self-care? Ha! Needless to say, most of my strategies for remaining sane were out the window. Sleeping for more than two hours straight became a luxury.

Eventually my list changed. It now includes more things that reflect the reality of my daily life. One thing I’ve had to alter is my expectation that I will not be interrupted. In fact, I’ve had to intentionally identify activities that are renewing and refreshing and that can be interrupted at any time without adding to the frustration or stress I am trying to escape in the first place.

  • Play with Legos (my current long-term goal is to construct my own interpretation of Howl’s moving castle)
  • Walk outside barefoot
  • Fall asleep on the couch in the middle of the afternoon (note that this must coincide with the toddler’s nap time as well…)
  • Draw with crayons on big paper (I like newsprint rolls – available from many newspaper offices)
  • Play with a ball (and the self-retrieving toddler)
  • Paint watercolors over a surface I don’t have to clean
  • Go to the playground and try everything at least once
  • Pull weeds from a garden where nothing is really sacred (if it gets pulled, it’s not the end of the world)
  • Go to the zoo or arboretum and take blurry pictures with my phone while chasing a small human bent on self-destruction
  • Get a drive-through coffee/mocha/chai latte/ hot chocolate and not share
  • Eat a doughnut in the closet (ours has a window)… and not share*
  • Draw/write a blog post
  • Text a friend without the obligation of arranging logistics
  • Scroll Facebook aimlessly (looking for funny cats and other things that make me smile)
  • Water the houseplants
  • Braid my hair
  • Put on music and dance in the living room (my favorite is swing, but I’ll dance to anything)
  • Sing a prayer

Note: All of the above* can be done in the company of a toddler (some toddlers may inspire other variations on a theme).

*This is the one exception – most toddlers object to being left out of the doughnut eating experience, but most are also still learning the finer points of hide-and-go-seek.

I’d love to hear from other parents and caregivers. How do you care for yourself day-to-day?



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