Three ways to parent intentionally and care for yourself
Parenting is as much about us as it is our children. In fact, sometimes I feel like I’m a juggler, trying to parent well and care for myself. It just seems like there is too much to do and think about. However, I think I’ve uncovered three simple ideas that can encourage us all.
Intentional parenting and self-care are linked.
Read more below to see how this can translate practically? Certainly, parenting involves sacrifice. Is it possible amongst the financial strains, relational pressures, illness, new adventures, beginnings, and endings to thrive? I would like to sound a hearty, “YES”. We can parent intentionally and still care for ourselves so that we call thrive.
Three ways to guide you into intentional living
The body benefits from movement
Our children learn and grow when they move. Since the beginning of time, we were made to move. Being active has many benefits, including increased health, physical strength, it builds mental resilience, and it gives us energy for life.
So, take stock today. Are you exercising? If we intentionally encourage our children to be active, would it not follow that we do the same?
You can read more about my journey to health in this area. I learned first hand that running beats stress, it increases my health and my capacity. Plus, I’m a better mom, wife, daughter, and friend for it.
To illustrate how hard it is to get moving, look at these stats*
- Only one in three children are physically active every day.
- Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day; only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week.
Your children are watching you. Like the novelist, James Baldwin wrote, “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”
The mind benefits from stillness
Have you ever thought, “I want to be calm when I’m home, but I lash out at those I love, or even I want to be still in God’s presence, but it’s so hard! I can’t seem to stop the buzzing thoughts in my head, and it’s frustrating!”
In this fast-paced world, we rarely get to experience stillness and peace. Yet, seeking stillness might be the very thing that we need because it doesn’t come easy. Consequently, learning to be able to be still amongst the noise is something worth fighting for. Stillness might be a breath of fresh air, the physical rest you are longing for, and the emotional freedom combined.
A case for being still
Your mind will benefit from being still and the atmosphere at home will reap the rewards too. Remember, your children might fight you in the beginning because it might be something different, but they will thank you for creating that space. I believe that stillness is the gateway to creativity. It’s a mystery but so very helpful.
“What is the biggest obstacle facing the family right now? It is over-commitment; time pressure. There is nothing that will destroy family life more insidiously than hectic schedules and busy lives, where spouses are too exhausted to communicate, too worn out to have sex, too fatigued to talk to the kids. That frantic lifestyle is just as destructive as one involving outbroken sin. If Satan can’t make you sin, he’ll make you busy, and that’s just about the same thing.” ~ James Dobson
So often, we fill our minds with all sorts of noise. Authors Marcus Warner & Jim Wilder in Rare Leadership say that a well-trained brain can return to joy in ninety seconds. They wrote that a less well-trained brain can take hours, days, even weeks. So, I’d like to advocate embracing stillness at different times during the day.
Examine these verses for more inspiration to learn to be still:
Psalm 46:10 (ESV) “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
Isaiah 30:15 (NLT), “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.”
Furthermore, be patient with yourself, with your children and those you love. Learn to move past the awkwardness of stillness and see what will happen.
How could you practice stillness in your home?
Firstly, sit quietly; offer the sacrifice of love by listening to what the Lord has to say to you today.
Secondly, you can practice active listening, choosing to be still rather than offering words quickly.
Thirdly, you can let your children and family know that all devices are to be switched to silent for a while. Be comfortable with the silence and listen to the natural noises around you for a while.
Finally, offer your presence to someone hurting and be present. Or perhaps offer it to yourself. Make a cup of tea or go for a run and embrace stillness.
The heart benefits from love.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Love is like a light; it shines into our hearts and lives. In a home filled with love, our children grow into who they are destined to become. Love gives our children capacity and security to dream and adventure into life.
When I think of love and family relationships, I am reminded that we cannot survive without love. Love is food for our heart and vitamins for our soul. We love our family and friends through our actions, our words, our gifts, our touches, and our time.
In conclusion, teach your children to love well. For if you leave a legacy of love, you can raise children to change the world they live in. They can shine light in their schools and communities by the way they love. Let love be the foundation in your home.
“Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built.” James Dobson
Let me know, what would you add as the fourth tip for parenting intentionally or caring for yourself? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. And please share this post with your friends or sign up to my blog if you haven’t done so already.