Make Sure Your Emotional Needs are Met
As a parent, your emotional needs may go through many ups and downs as you struggle to balance family, work, “me time,” and hobbies. Taking care of your own mental health is critically important, not just for you, but for your family. There’s an old saying: “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” It’s true. This saying could be equally true for fathers. If you don’t take care of your own emotional needs, you won’t be as effective at parenting.
As your family grows, you may not have time to do the things you used to do to boost your spirits: go out with friends, work on a hobby, or pamper yourself with a long bath. However, there are many things you can do to nurture a positive attitude. Tell yourself every day that what your family needs most is a happy parent. Then, find some time each day to do something that makes you feel good and fulfills your emotional needs. For example:
Getting the housework done is not as important as getting the rest you need. Make it a goal to go to bed just ten minutes earlier each night and work up to getting at least eight hours of sleep. It’s important to your emotional needs and very worth it.
Ask for Help
Realizing and accepting the fact that you cannot do it all is not easy. But, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your spouse, your family, and your friends.
Lower Your Standards
Don’t fret about the dust. Visiting moms and dads understand the demands of life. Chances are you notice all the imperfections much more than anyone else. There will be plenty of time to spend on cleaning, ironing, dusting, etc. when your children are grown and out of the house. So, fancy meals are out and salads and sandwiches are in!
Increase Your Omega-3s
Omega-3s fight depression, sharpen the brain, and keep your body in biochemical balance. Don’t skip this important supplement if you are not consuming omega-3s in your diet. Eating 6 ounces of wild salmon or other fish high in omega-3s is an easy way to get adequate amounts of omega-3s.
Take time for yourself each day to make sure your emotional needs are met. Take at least five minutes to do something you enjoy—something that makes you feel good—or do nothing at all. Soak in a hot bath, go for a run, meditate, or journal. Make “me time” a daily priority – even if it’s just hiding in the bathroom for an extra five minutes!
You’re Doing the Most Important Job in the World
Whether you are working outside of the home or work full-time in the home, remember that your role as a parent is the most important job you will ever have. Don’t lose sight of the big picture in the midst of the business of daily demands.
Because you love your children you try hard to do your very best as a parent. You won’t always succeed. There will be times when you won’t be able to help them, heal boo boos, or protect them from a broken heart. There will be times when you mess up and get mad and treat your children poorly. Don’t beat yourself up about these things. Your family doesn’t need you to be perfect, so forgive yourself and let them go!
Get Some Support to Meet Emotional Needs
Mothers need other mothers. Fathers need other fathers. When you talk to other parents, you discover that everybody—not just you—finds juggling your role as parents is a very challenging job. Connect with other parents at clubs, sports, church, your neighborhood, etc. You can learn a lot from other parents, and knowing that you are not alone will help you keep going on the rough days.