Self Love for Parents – Self Love Sunday

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It is back-to-school and if you are a parent, or teacher, you are feeling the burnout. Your energy is depleted. The vacations and get aways are coming to an end and children are back to the grind of routine and, new teachers and friends. Teachers are expected to navigate new rooms full of different personalities and learning styles. It’s a big transition for all. I personally told friends to keep me accountable. “Don’t let me get in the habit of not doing anything for myself,” I said aloud.

Moms, especially single Moms, feel they have to do it all. I notice those of you reading this pride yourselves on a great looking home worthy of real-estate listings, healthy meals posed for Pinterest re-pins, molding kids into unique star-beings who shine their own light all the while attempting to have a social life and time with with your family and friends. Unplugging might make some feel unworthy.

What have we gotten ourselves into? Social Media is one of my businesses but I see its pitfalls. It creates a sense of competitiveness, as if every home and lifestyle needs to mirror Hollywood, a design magazine or the music industry. The Mom culture has become full of lifestyle-preneurs.  Are you a budding food-photographer or the next reality tv star? Your home has become your studio, your garage the video location for your next yoga project. You have options like no other culture – do you want your kid in the next Disney channel show or can you settle first place at the 4H Fair? There’s nothing wrong with either, but know that competition and modern mom-performance becomes an endless pressure.

America has headed into this interesting hipster-style parenting trend that asks us to be both beautiful yet natural or even a little dark and rebellious, successful yet not too corporate, building big change in the world with crowdfunding while managing a household with our not-enough job funding, meanwhile creatively managing every kiss, promotion and cute outfit completed with makeup strategized for Instagram.

You are asked not to settle. You are encouraged to have it ALL. You risk having less in the bank account for the future because what you can have today seems much more fun and noteworthy and you must make your lifestyle work, because it has become work. After all, you have friends and fans you need to keep interested and they pay you back with attention and likability. When do you get to get a break from being on display? Can you unplug and still feel like you are worthy?

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Self Love for Parents – Cynthia Djengue
image credit: Shutterstock

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Find the time to unplug. Ditch the distractions, the influx of invitations and activities and don’t regret having a whole day in the house. Catch a caterpillar in the crevice of a branch. Look at the clouds while floating on a dollar store air mattress. Never mind the makeup or lighting.

You can even exclaim to the family that electronics are off limits for the week or month (and not later write about it on your blog), all hugs and kisses are private, and your young girls can meet young boys without apps and ratings. You can teach your child that pride and confidence do not rely on external reinforcement, not because it’s more spiritual or trendy, rather it’s a test.

Can you continue to feel good about your parenting and your kid’s growth if it was all off the record? Consider the fact that most of you don’t admit you spanked your kid last night, yelled at your spouse for being inconsiderate, watched another Tinder date fall by the wayside, gained 11 pounds in the past two months. The full picture of what’s shared and displayed is not you, it could never capture the fullness of your life.

Unplug and don’t worry about trying to impress. You can write down our thoughts and feelings in an actual journal rather than a Tumblr post. Your kid can create their latest Lego empire without you having to record it and then having everyone congratulate. What are we teaching kids if we tell them everything they do is amazing, when it really isn’t?! Being positive and encouraging is definitely helpful to their budding personalities and esteem, but plenty of experiments have proven that some were born with resiliency. This means you can mess up as a parent and they can still turn out fairly decent (learned this a long time ago in grad school).

All of that pressure to pose, progress, and perform may reveal the values of others, rather than your own. Many of us have been influenced by what’s thrown in front of us. You may need to unplug and recharge in order to clarify your values. If your not moving closer to your dreams, then it may be time to re-evaluate. A few months ago in a marketing training I filled out a values exercise and realized my biggest value and surprised a bit by the outcome. Believe it or not, recognition wasn’t it. Neither was family. In my Coaching, I help clients discover their values and its connection to styles of communication, relationships and goal-setting.

Some of you meditate, go to yoga, attend church services, or hang out by your pool listening to birdsong. It doesn’t matter how you unplug and recharge but just that you find the time to do it and do it because it helps you pause. Pause to hear your own voice, to remember who you are, where you’re headed in life. I remember being pregnant and people kept telling me, ‘children grow so fast, time just flies’. I find myself telling new Moms the same now with careful consideration. Life does move quickly when you are a busy parent. Make sure to take time for yourself. Use self love, forgive yourself, manage to unplug once in a while.

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6 Replies to “Self Love for Parents – Self Love Sunday”

  1. The power of unplugging is awesome and I thank you for this reminder to do it more often. I am not a mom or a teacher, but I too feel the constant pull to do more or be more and often I feel that I cannot say no because I don’t have family as a reason to say no. People think that because I don’t have kids I should have all the time and energy in the world. This has not been a relaxing summer for me and I’m really feeling the need to unplug and have a day or week to just be at hime and enjoy my peace. Thanks for this post.

  2. Oh man, as a single mom, entrepenuer, 3/4 time job, no family to help, I am stretched to the max. I just this week realized I’ve truly lost my passion for life. I’m just plain tired. So I’m saying no. I”m cutting back, cutting myself slack, making time for me, the things that nourish my soul. My kids are spending an extra 45 minutes at the sitter so I can fit in working out. I’m journaling instead of working every night. I’m creating recipes, I’m working on posts that share the things I’m really passionate about, I’m getting back to ME. So what if it takes longer for my business to be my main income, at least I’ll be a happier person, more available mom, and better friend. With a cleaner house.

  3. Great advice! I have to intentionally take the time to un-plug, set boundaries around my work hours, and get out of town time to time. This has made it possible to remember what is important and keep some balance in my life. It is always great to get these reminders, it’s something that can slip away without noticing. Thanks!

  4. Love this! In a perfect world, I would live in the mountains and live off the land and internet would not be a part of it. However, with most of my work online, I don’t see that happening. I will be the first to admit, I don’t “un-plug” nearly as often as I should. Right now I am working on being transparent when I am plugged in (my life isn’t perfect by any means, I certainly am not, and if there is something I am doing that I wouldn’t want others seeing, maybe I should work either accepting it or on changing it), and un-plugging on a regular basis. This is definitely something I needed to hear today, thank you!

  5. Get off the grid! Music to our ears. Hiking and kayaking come in high on the list. We find what used to happen naturally now for many needs to be scheduled. Date night sound familiar? The world seems to spin faster and faster. When children our days seemed to last for weeks. Today’s breakfast now becomes tomorrow’s before we can turn around. For us the response is and the relief comes from living in the moment fully engaged. This gives us joy. Thanks so much for this reminder.

  6. This is such a great reminder of what goes on everyday. Finding balance and remembering who you were before all the roles gives peace-of-mind. I must say, that things have been different for me since I moved to Boston and my boys stayed in Kansas City with their dad. At first I didn’t know what to my life…then I tapped into all those suppressed dreams. It’s been amazing. Providing the life and experiences I desired for all of us. It’s cool to see how proud my boys are of me seeing me go after my dreams and making a difference in the world. Thanks for sharing this article with us.

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