Since the coronavirus pandemic we have probably all heard about the importance of ‘self-care’.

For mums (and dads) this is something that I feel is an important part of being the best parent that you can be. When you have some time out to do something that you enjoy or is good for you then it helps to refresh and re-charge you. That, I believe, facilitates a happier and healthier relationship with your children.

When our first two children were of pre-school age, I used to go to my local swimming pool for one hour a week. I dropped Michael and Victoria at the creche and then had time for a 30- minute swim, before needing to get changed to collect them. At first, they protested loudly, and with feelings of guilt off I would go! However, I told myself that this was just ONE HOUR out of the whole week that was for me!

Later on, when we moved to a new area and had our third child. I discovered a ‘Ladies Leisure Morning’ at my local sports centre and attended there twice a week. The children had a creche for an hour, then their own mini gym session. They loved it and made some new little friends too.  During this time, I had an hour in the gym (my jaw did more exercise than anything else as I chatted with the other women), followed by coffee together and an hour aerobics class. I honestly didn’t initially go for the exercise! (although in time I grew to enjoy that aspect too). I went because I needed a break from child-care.  I had no family living close by and my husband worked away from home at times, so it could be lonely. My two mornings a week helped me to feel physically, mentally and emotionally well, of certain benefit to my children as I cared for them.  I also met some new friends, one of whom remains a very special friend 20+ years later!

Whether you go for a pedicure, or to the hairdresser, or have a massage, or sit and read a book whilst your child is sleeping, or play a sport one evening a week whilst your partner looks after your little one – it is okay to still be you and to schedule in some self-care. It really isn’t selfish! It is about being the best parent we can be, alongside enjoying the journey and renewing and sustaining ourselves to meet the needs of parenting.