Diary Adventures of LagosMums: DALM | How Self Care Affects Parenting
This year I have been so much more deliberate, by reaching out and intentionally building positive relationships. Spending more time with people who are living life and not people who life happens to. Do you know the difference? There are people who make you see possibilities versus those who have a problem for everything.
I had a fantastic conversation recently with a new friend. We ended up having a WhatsApp call (we meant to use skype but the internet connection had other plans). She is British and asked me what made LagosMums different. She wanted to know how a mum in Lagos differs from say a mum in Bombay, in New York, London, in Kenya or anywhere else for that matter.
In reality, we are more the same than different. Any mother or parent wants the best for their child. While we are really the same I think one of the major differences with living in Lagos is the stress and hustle that we all seem to accept and a culture that is somewhat unique to us. Living in Lagos as an individual takes a certain focus, parenting in Lagos needs even more intentionality to raise children the right way.
Today is Valentine’s day and many people will think about roses, chocolates and dinner reservations. Lagosians in our true style have taken Valentine’s Day celebration to another level. While the outward expression of love is great, we need to start with self-love and self-care. I always think about the ways children are watching us in everything we do (not what we say) and it got me thinking about how self-care affects parenting? Do we teach our children to look for others to love them more than they need to love themselves?
Why Self-Care is a Big Deal
Self-care can simply mean taking care of yourself right? It sounds so simple but in reality, many of us are not doing this. By the time we run through our busy schedules, hustle lifestyle, traffic and constantly marinate in stress; we end up giving the remnant to those who should matter most, ourselves, our spouses and our children.
Parenting takes two people, both the mother and the father (or mother figures and father figures). So I am not focusing only on self-care for mothers, but for parents. While we all react to stress in different ways, we are all affected by stress and all need to have healthy coping mechanisms.
Self-care includes no longer accepting certain things that affect your ability to achieve your goals. No matter what type of multi-tasker that you brand yourself you only have a certain number of hours per day to be actually productive.
Some of the things to let go of include procrastination and fear. I believe that procrastination is actually the cousin of fear. You can tend to put things off because you are actually fearful of facing it, either you are worried about succeeding or failing. You keep saying tomorrow or some other time and it never comes. No matter how busy you are you make time for the things that are important to you.
When it comes to parenting, imagine you stop putting off spending quality time with yourself and your family for fear that work will suffer, or fear that you don’t know how to. Yep! Some parents do not know how to spend time with their children after they pass the diaper stage – aka no longer cute and do everything that you want.
When you don’t do what you want to do, it lingers and affects other areas of your life. Your children will grow up quickly and the time you invest in them will pay off when they become adults.
Become the Author of Your Life
Faith we need faith, but do we read the part that says that faith without action is dead? Becoming the author of your life means that you take charge of your life. You do not have to accept all the things that happen to you; do not believe the lie that you cannot change what is happening. Change might be difficult in certain situations, but it is never impossible.
As a parent every time you take action that results in an outcome, you pass this energy and vibes on to your child. As an intentional parent, there are so many chances to share wins and challenges with your child in ways that empower them to achieve their goals. A child who is raised by parents with a positive attitude is likely to grow up to be an author of his or her life too.
Self-care includes being real, Lagos is a melting point of several cultures, activities, and demands on your time. There seems to always be an event and a fantastic Instagram photo moment. We are masters of packaging, looking great on the outside but sometimes struggling on the inside. We are masters of balancing the many hats we wear but not quite feeling that we are doing everything as we should. There is this pressure that affects everyone; unless you stop and take control. Read Lami Phillips on Being Real as Mums
This happens to fathers and mothers both! Fathers are striving hard to make money and provide for the family and it seems so tough. Mothers have more of the responsibilities of taking care of the home and striving to make money too because let’s be real most homes are dual income homes thanks to the cost of living today. The end result? Everyone is stressed but no one is talking about how they really feel.
This might be where self-care really starts from! Be real with yourself first. Stop feeling bad about all the things you wish you could do, wish you should be doing and missing out on the things that you are doing. Do things that you like to do for yourself, relax, sleep, listen to music, socialize with friends and more. When you take care of yourself you are a better person and in return can be a better mother or father. Your children are happier when you are happier!
To sustain being in a place of joy you have to constantly work on it.
For more on Mum Life, Read the Diary Adventures of LagosMums posts.