Isn’t life just one big rollercoaster! Especially when you’ve got little ones, the ups and downs never seem to stop. Generally, we’re able to weather the storms, move forwards and plunge into the next adventure. And, as our kids gets older, they too will experience some dark and stormy days amongst the mostly sunny ones.
Bouncing back from difficult situations takes skill and like all skills, it requires practice to become adept. Through recent experiences, chats with child carers and other parents, my husband and I have become much more aware of the importance of raising our children to be resilient. In other words, when they experience sad, challenging or difficult situations, they’ll be able to work through their emotions and problem-solve their situation.
Interestingly, the first step to building resilient children is for parents to set the example. Seems obvious doesn’t it? But, bouncing back from adversity isn’t always straightforward. There are some great books out there which can help teach us the best techniques for building resilience so I’ll leave that to the experts. However, one of the interesting pointers that came out of a recent talk on the subject was about the importance of looking after ourselves.
Basically, we can’t look after our kids properly unless we’re healthy. Healthy in body AND mind. Not only does it give us more energy to interact meaningfully and creatively with our kids but it sets a good example to them on how to self-care. I for one, am not very good at this. I keep going and going until I’m about to implode/explode from the stress of looking after everyone else first. But last weekend, I found that there was no more fuel in the tank. I had to stop… and take a breather. Afterwards, I felt so much better. So now, I’m trying to put in place measures from getting to this point and feeding my soul a bit more regularly.
So, next time you’re feeling a bit rundown or overwound, STOP. Think for a second about what YOU need, especially if you’re pregnant (as there isn’t as much time for feeding the soul when a little bubba first arrives in your life.) Take some time to self- care: personally, I find a massage works wonders, for others, it might be baking, chatting to friends, gardening, anything really (apart from cleaning!). Lastly, don’t feel guilty, you’ll be a better partner, a better mother and a better friend if you look after yourself.
Finally, my book recommendation for building resilient kids is “The Optimistic Child” by Martin Seligman. Down-to-earth, practical and essential reading. You can see more of his work here: http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx. My book recommendation for mums who need a few tips on self-care is Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali. By the way, even chilling out by reading a book is a good form of self-care!