Every month, I share some of what I’m learning in my own parenting journey.

This month, I’ve been thinking about self care.  

Self-care is a hot topic for us as parents.

How can we find more time for it?  What are the best ways to practice it?  How can we support each other in taking it?

But I want to take this in a slightly different direction today, and talk about something different – self care for children.

How can we teach our children to practice self-care?

To be more specific, how can we teach our children to practice self care when we are not effectively doing it for ourselves?

This is actually a pretty profound question.

Why?  Well, for the same reason you’ve probably heard me talking about in my parent child classes.

Little ones learn through imitation.

They learn through watching us.

What we model.

How they see us interacting with other people.

And, most importantly, how they see us interacting with ourselves.

So I’ve been thinking about this a lot this month, and noticing that there are a lot of ways in which what I am modeling for them is maybe not as balanced as it could be with regards to self care.

On a spectrum from striving to peaceful acceptance, I tend towards striving.

On a spectrum from exuberant activity to nourishing rest, I tend towards activity.

As I write you now, it is the middle of the night, and I am up writing this newsletter.

And, in writing this newsletter, I am also not sleeping, which might fall more naturally under the category of self care than writing newsletters.  😉

How often do I find myself listening to a phone call on my headphones while driving, wanting to wring the marrow out of those little breaks between activities, to connect with a cherished friend?

Or running into the house as fast as I can after dropping off the children at school so that I can get to practicing my harp and not waste a second?

These are nourishing activities, activities that bring me joy, so in that sense, they do fall under the category of self care.

But my life is full.  Maybe even a little too full sometimes.

It is perhaps a universal truth of Mothering that we rarely sit down and do nothing.

My husband points this out to me, sometimes, from his happy place on the couch, and even offers to help make it happen.

And still, it’s hard for me to do it…  To set down the mental load of the laundry, the appointments, administrative stuff, all the… things.

And I have to break it to you.  I have not in any way cracked this yet.  I have not figured out how to sit down and do nothing.  Not with any regularity, anyway.

So I’m going for the next best thing – I’m working on carving out little spaces in my life for self care, and sometimes in ways that include my children.  And basking in those moment where I can find them.

Because everything good begins in the cracks.  We carve out a little time to experience spaciousness.  The more we feel spaciousness, the more spaciousness we want.  The more spaciousness we want, the more we make space for it.

So here’s a one simple ritual for making that space.  And from this, I tell myself, who knows what other possibilities for self-care might open up, for me, for my children, and for both of us together.

LAVENDER FOOT SOAK

What you need:

A basin or bathtub that your child can put their feet in
A comfy place to sit
Epsom salts, if you like
Essential oil – fun to let kids choose which scent they want.  Our favorites are lavender and rose geranium.

So, I set up the tub for them, all warm and steaming, drop in that single magical drop of lavender oil, and the room is filled with that peaceful, relaxing aroma.

And then, here’s the most important part…

I do not do the laundry.

I do not check email.

I set up a second tub, this one for me.

And I take my socks off, and I join them.

Just to slow down.

Remember.

How mothering our children teaches us to mother ourselves.

How our little ones need us to learn this from them, so that they can in turn learn it from us.

Because, it’s like I always tell them.

In our family, we are in this together.

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Thanks for reading, friends, and I wish you a beautiful spring!

In love and music,

Noe Venable