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easiest thing to do at night, once they are in bed, is to flop on the couch, throw on the television, or start mindlessly clicking through your phone. Before my twins were born, my husband and I figured out who we trusted to watch them even at an early age and made plans to start resuming a twice a week date night schedule when they were a month old. In the early days, we did not go far or stay out for more than an hour or two, but there was still something liberating about spending that one-on-one time together. We have maintained that regular babysitting schedule and my girls just turned nine. The long-term benefit is that they are very comfortable with us going out and also see that the love and connection between their dad and me is a priority. If finances are a concern and will make getting a sitter difficult, it still works to commit to at-home date nights. This to me means that phones are plugged in and left in another room. Instead of just flipping through shows, pick a movie or a series to binge watch, grab some popcorn, dim the lights, and make it more of an event. Don’t multitask while watching because the focus should be on each other. For any single parents, this type of self-care is as important for you if not more so, and the same guidelines can work to help you feel like you are taking care of the side of you that needs some fun and a break. Personal enrichment is an area of self-care that can help you achieve a feeling of accomplishment. Personal enrichment to me means finding something that is fulfilling or satisfying for you to do that is not directly related to your

children. This may be fitness related like a sport or a particular favorite exercise class, or it could be a long-forgotten hobby like painting, photography, or reading and joining a book club. You should explore options that require at least 30 minutes of your time each week. If you can find things to work in daily like an exercise class, that will prove even better for you. A few years ago, I started back horseback riding lessons which have been so much fun and something that is 100% just for me. Feel guilty about spending money on yourself or it’s just not in the budget? Activities for personal enrichment don’t have to cost anything at all. Get creative and try having a schedule for going for walks on certain days or certain distances. You can set a goal for reading a certain amount of new books each year. Any of these activities just require a real commitment on your part to be consistent in your participation. Another area of self-care that needs your time and attention as the parent of multiples is in the area of cognition. Cognition as it relates to self-care refers to the thoughts, senses, and experiences that you as a parent are having about yourself. As parents, we need to try to actively manage negative thoughts that we are having about ourselves or our capabilities as parents. This means getting rid of negative self-talk where you get down on yourself for decisions or choices you have made. We have all felt bad at times for raising our voices, mishandling a tantrum, etc., but we need to turn that around and remember the times where we have been positive parents and give ourselves second chances. To help in improving positive self-cognitions, parents will need multiplicity

to try to set attainable goals. A long to-do list can feel like an impossible mountain to climb and because it seems insurmountable, you don’t even try to do any of it. What I find works instead is to pick one or two things to get done in a short amount of time. Be kind to yourself and try to stay away from expectations of perfectionism and unrealistic goals. Too many of these and you will be headed for parental burnout. Finally, the last important task for good self-care is to enjoy a shower or bath. Yes, that’s right, make sure to take a shower. When the babies are little, it is so easy to say you didn’t have time to shower. This can end up having a major effect on your entire outlook for the day. When I was on bedrest for 9 weeks, with 4 weeks of that in the hospital, I still made an effort to get showered and dressed because I felt better to not be in pajamas all day. Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that you should be taking an hour to get ready each day. The reality is a shower can take less than 10 minutes and a child can cry for 10 minutes without it being harmful. Showering is a basic, but very important step in feeling like you are still a functioning and productive adult. I used to park my twins in their bouncers right in front of my shower door so they could see me and I could see them. This ensured we were all okay. What all of these tips boil down to is finding out what you need to do to take care of yourself. With so many options for self-care, try to focus on one or two and leave the excuses for another day.

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Profile for Multiplicity Magazine

Multiplicity Spring 2016  

Multiplicity's spring issue is loaded with tips on keeping your family safe! From things to consider for sleepovers and summer camps, tips f...

Multiplicity Spring 2016  

Multiplicity's spring issue is loaded with tips on keeping your family safe! From things to consider for sleepovers and summer camps, tips f...

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