By now, you know that parenting isn’t a sprint—it’s a marathon.
And especially when we bring children into our home with extra or unique challenges and needs, it can feel like an ultra marathon. Dr. Karyn Purvis—now with the Lord—was (and is) one of the most respected child advocates in the world. In her research and writing, she championed children from trauma. And she often liked to say—
One of the best gifts you can give to your child is taking good care of yourself.
But how? And maybe more to the point, when?
Regardless of the demands on your time and attention, it can and should be done. This type of self-care isn’t the “me-time mentality” that seeks to solve stressful situations with simple distractions. No, this is the type of care that requires you to address your own deepest needs so you can properly care for your kids. This isn’t about being selfish; it’s about being wise.
Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)
3 ways to be a healthy parent in 2019—
1. Find a support group.
Whether this is a literal support group of people who are on the same journey as you are, or whether this is simply a group of seasoned parents or trustworthy friends you surround yourself with, it’s a good idea to connect with people who will support the path you are taking and will speak into your life with helpful encouragement.
“Find others who understand the unique challenges, the unique types of loneliness you may experience. Find people who understand.” —Dr. Karyn Purvis
Ideas: Look for online parenting groups, build a support network of parents in your church, create a small group.
2. Make time to rejuvenate.
Depending on your season of parenting, you may be unable to find a weekend or even an entire day for self-care. But making time—however long or short—to tend to your own heart and soul is vital for the task of raising children, especially when your kids have deep needs that can quickly feel all-consuming. Enlist the help of a friend, family member, or church member to help you if necessary. Seek to find help with tasks that will free up a few minutes of your day to do rejuvenating things.
“In the small ways you nurture yourself, you’ll have gifts to give to your child that are fresh and authentic.” —Dr. Karyn Purvis
Ideas: Get help with carpool. Trade babysitting jobs once a month with another family so you can go out. Take an hour after your kids go to bed to refresh.
*Join hundreds of parents, church leaders, and professionals around the world April 5-6, 2019, for the Empowered to Connect Conference. Find practical tools that bring hope and healing to any child who has experienced trauma or the loss of parental care. Please visit www.showhope.org/simulcast for additional details.
3. Nurture your relationships.
Nurture your marriage. Cultivate your walk with God. Be faithful to your local church.
Make time to feed the relationships that will bring life to your heart and soul. Anchor your worth in God. He is the One Who called you to this task of parenting in the first place. He has promised never to leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
“You cannot lead a child to a place of healing if you do not know the way yourself.”—Dr. Karyn Purvis
Ideas: Listen to the Bible on an audio app. Listen to hymns and spiritual songs. Have date nights at home after the kids go to bed.
Becoming a healthier parent in 2019 is an ambitious and worthy goal, but it will require intentionality, prayer, and support. Here at Lifesong we are here to help and pray for you however we can. If there’s a topic you would like to see us address here on the blog this year, send us an e-mail.
* the photo in this post is one of our Lifesong families, courtesy of The Archibald Project, an orphan care advocacy organization