Do you make time for YOU?
I love working with all parents: couples, single parents, working parents, parents of toddlers/tweens/teens, big families, single child families, mixed culture parents, bilingual families, same gender parents, parents with SEN children, shy children, wild children – you name it!

They are all unique and all have very individual needs according to their values and situation. But one thing I find that they all have in common is lack of time.

So much to do and too little time. Some of their time might be occupied with mental activities (with planning, organising, worries or anticipations) and it’s all very time consuming.

One aspect of their life that then tends to suffer is the famous ‘Me-Time’. All parents know they need more of it and that it is good for them, but when time is tight they feel that this is the area that needs to give, or go altogether.
Parents often put their needs last or push them to “when they have more time”. When the kids are in school full time, when this court hearing is over, when I have finished that project, when the kids leave home, when..when.. when…

But here’s the thing, there will never come a time if this is how you think. Something will ALWAYS pop up on your to-do-list. It will never end. So, make today the day where you DO make time in your busy day for you.

And don’t feel guilty! You are not only doing it for you and your wellbeing, you are doing it for others too. When you are OK, rested, recharged and energised it will rub off on the people around you. Your kids will sense and see the energy you have and enjoy being with you. You will have more patience, become a better listener and be willing to be curious instead of furious. You will be more productive at work and make less mistakes. In general people like to be with happy people, so you will find that people will want to be with you.

Start small and keep it simple

I know it can be hard in the beginning to put yourself first. It might be challenging to find the time. Maybe you feel guilty. It could even be that your family or colleagues think you are selfish. It all takes time, so start with small, simple steps.

What if I told you that 10 minutes a day was enough to start with? And that simple things matter. A walk around the block. A bath. Meditation. Reading a few pages of a magazine. Standing and watching the grass grow. Anything that you like that gives you energy and hope and puts you in a better place.

• So, when will you carve out your 10 minutes?
What will you do?
• But also, how will you do it? Do you need to talk to your family about how important this is for you and how you need their help to make it happen? Do you need to ask a friend to pick up the kids so you can get a bit of time? Your happiness is not yours alone to obtain – you can ask for help from people who care about you. And maybe there are some areas where you can save time as well? Instead of going shopping, arrange for a food delivery from your local supermarket. Cook once and eat several times, i.e. when you cook a lasagne, make a big one and freeze some. If finances allow, get a cleaner a few times a month. Think creatively and see what you can come up with.

And remember, self care is not a luxury for when you have time, it is an essential NOW!

Best wishes Mette Theilmann, Director of Predictable Parenting & Founder of the Parenting Community App