The average mom gets 17 minutes of free time to herself every day. She also works as a mom for 98 hours a week.

When we think of burnout, we often picture stressed out workers at their hectic office jobs. We rarely think about parents. And with the stats on how busy and involved parents are, it’s no wonder that so many parents are feeling worn down.

Self-care is hard to practice when your whole world revolves around the care of your children. For that reason, our child care center has compiled a list of things that you can (and must) do as a parent. Try out some of these tips, and visit one of the Growing Kids Learning Centers in Elkhart, Valparaiso, South Bend (at Ireland Road, State Road 23, and North Bendix Drive), Chesterton, Goshen, Warsaw, Plymouth, or Bristol today.

Make Time for Yourself

We all complain that there’s not enough time, but that’s not really the problem (although, our child care center will be the first to say that parents have very little free time, if any!). It’s what we’re doing with the time that makes the biggest difference, and how we manage our energy.

It’s far easier to scroll through social media without intention than to sit down and do something that will truly make you feel better. When you purposefully make an effort to do an activity that brings you true joy, such as reading or playing an instrument, you’ll feel exponentially more fulfilled and refreshed.

Of course, spending time on social media isn’t a bad thing, and it can be a great source of connection. But more often than not, we end up mindlessly scrolling through news feeds and consciously or subconsciously comparing ourselves to others. If you catch yourself feeling this way while browsing Facebook or the like, it’s a sign to switch to something more restorative.

Cut Out Obligations

Whether it’s carpooling for your child’s fourth after school activity or a work meeting that could absolutely be resolved in a weekly email, there’s something in all of our lives that we don’t want to do. The good news is that we have the ability to cut some of these things out.

If you feel like there’s no time in your week or if there’s a commitment in particular that’s causing you anxiety, it’s OK to figure out a way to cut it out. Even if you’re just cutting back instead of eliminating entirely, you’ll feel so much relief from not having to do something you don’t want to. Saying no is definitely a form of self-care!

Journal Consistently

At our child care centers, we talk about expressing our feelings all the time. Journaling is one of the best ways to do so, and to feel better as a whole. Reflect on what’s working in your life and what’s not, what you’re grateful for and what you’re struggling with, and show yourself compassion through writing. Journaling is one of the best ways to help yourself process things, and it’s amazing to look back on where you’ve been and how far you’ve come by keeping a consistent, written record.

Savor the Small Things

So often we take for granted the most basic things that make up the fabric of our day-to-day lives. Hot, running water in the shower (even hot water for doing dishes shouldn’t be dismissed!), walks on the sidewalk, our children learning a new skill, or even just the fact that your coffeemaker is brewing in the morning are all pretty ordinary things on the surface. But when you take time to truly savor how incredible each thing is, you’ll feel more grounded and grateful.

Choose one thing to focus on each day, and focus on the nuances and details that make this task or activity so special.

Talk With Loved Ones

If your child was struggling, wouldn’t you want them to talk to you about it? Our loved ones are here to support us, just as we are here to support them. You are not alone in the struggles of parenthood — everyone has a tough time, because parenting is ridiculously tough!

When you feel overwhelmed, reach out to a loved one and share what’s going on. If you feel like you keep having the same struggles and you’re saying the same things, consider reaching out to a therapist for some additional great insights. There should never be any shame for talking to someone and getting the help that you need.

Sign Up For Child Care

Whether you need to clean the house without interruptions, to get to your job, or to have a moment to breathe, Growing Kids Learning Centers is here to help. We love working with children more than anything, and we still know how tough it can be to be a parent. That’s why we offer flexible child care in the Northern Indiana area for families to rely upon, and have been doing so for more than 20 years.

When you take a break for yourself, you’re still a parent, and you’re not shirking on your responsibilities. What you are doing is preparing yourself to be an even better parent in the future. Downtime doesn’t just feel good, it’s necessary! So let our child care centers help make that happen for you. Even if you end up just getting to listen to your favorite musician while on your way to pick up your 2-year-old, you’re still making time for you, which we believe every parent deserves to do. Contact us today to set up a tour!