I was laying in bed last night quickly sub-coming to the comforts of my pillows when I had the most interesting thought: In order to take good care of my children I must take good care of myself. I’m sure I must have heard that somewhere before, possibly a doctor or nurse during my early days of parenthood.

This message isn’t just for mothers or homeschoolers, but for everyone who takes care of children. It is hard work, and in order to do it effectively we must ensure we are meeting our own needs as well. This has been a topic The Spouse and I have been discussing over the last few weeks, maybe that is why I finally had the epiphany. The Spouse constantly tells me to take my vitamins, sneak a nap during the day, or just get adequate food and water, but that doesn’t always work in with the plans of the day.

So what is a parent to do? Well here are some realizations I have made and that I plan to implement.

Realization #1: Sleep is not overrated! I have the following quote by Wolf Blitzer on my FB page “Sleep really is overrated”, and while it is nice to think that, reality says otherwise. Our bodies need sleep and according to WebMD lack of a good night’s rest can have some pretty horrible effects on our health. The average amount of sleep an adult needs is roughly seven to nine hours, The Spouse and I don’t achieve this. In fact most adults don’t, so what can we do to change this? Start a bedtime! Yes I know that may sound silly, just think about how often as kids we fought against bedtime, but there is a sound reason behind the bedtime practice. Other than the fact that mommy and daddy need peace and quiet. By setting a bedtime for ourselves like we do the boys, The Spouse and I will ensure we get the recommended amount of sleep. As well as pay a little on our “sleep debt” so we can eventually wake up feeling happy, refreshed, and energetic just like Child #1 and Child #2 do every single morning.

Realization #2: Animal crackers are not a food group! We have all done it at some point in time…running this way and that…we stop to feed the kids not acknowledging that the rumble, that could be mistaken for a car on its last leg, is coming from our stomachs. By the time everyone has enjoyed their meal it hits you…that sound is coming from ME and I should probably eat. So you dig in your bag, pocket, ect., and find it, that slightly stale day old animal cracker. It sure does taste good going down, you pause…maybe you should actually eat something…then the phone rings, someone screams, and as you spin in a million directions you notice your sink full of dirty dishes. Just like that lunch has taken a backseat to life, no big deal, there is always dinner.

According to the USDA this unhealthy eating, just like lack of sleep, isn’t good for us either. Eating three well proportioned meals, and two healthy snacks is the goal. I know, I know you are asking yourselves the same thing I’m thinking “What parent has time for that?”. But if I’m already planning and making meals for the boys then adding another plate or two *if The Spouse is home* shouldn’t be that difficult. Just taking the time to plan and prep my own meals would ensure I also sat down and ate them. In the end that is the goal, to actually eat something other than the animal cracker at the bottom of my purse.

And Realization #3: There is power in Yes and No. Just because something needs to be done, that doesn’t mean it has to come before your health and wellbeing, it’s ok to say no even to yourself! For instance tonight if it gets to the time that I have set as my bedtime and I still haven’t finished cleaning x, y, or z, it is perfectly ok to walk away. Will the world end if I don’t put that last load in the dishwasher? No. Will my house be overtaken by the roaches from Joe’s Apartment? No. Will I get the sleep I need in order to function the following day? Yes!, and is that more important than a spotless house, or any other chore I may need to take care of, YES! That is the power of realizing that there is power in yes and no. In just five minutes I can determine how my whole next day will play out, by taking the time to use those two little words. It doesn’t just stop there, it extends to saying yes to a 30 minute kid’s show so I can work in a healthy snack or a chore that would cut into my evening downtime *which is important when trying to obtain a good night’s rest*.

These are just a few of my realizations, there are others, but for now I’m going to focus on these three. I’ll fill you all in on how things are going a month from now, and if they are going well I’ll share some other realizations I’ve had.

Copyright (c) 2010 Rayven Holmes


  1. Succumbing to sleep is my biggest problem - I'm so with you there! The irony there is that we seem to define it as "giving in".... it literally means to "lie down". I need to stop fighting it - then I'm not "giving in". ;-) Who knows....maybe the problem is all just in the semantics of it?

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