3 spiritual self-care tips for parents facing burnout
What kind of parent do you aspire to be? Joyful, involved and loved or angry, disconnected, and resented?
Without a doubt, God-loving parents want to fall into the former description. So they do all they can, to give the best parenting to their children, but they often slack in self-care.
When I became a new parent, I was a regular visitor to dear therapist Google and would nearly make myself go crazy reading all that I was supposed to do as a new mom. I bookmarked so much that my bookmarks tab ran out of space. The number of routines to follow, the poop colors to keep track of, the sleep training methods to fail at, the best kind of onesies to buy, and whatnot. Soon it was a frenzy of activity around the clock, with no time for self-care. All of it was aimed at this one little baby whose needs were nothing more than eat, sleep, and poop. Oh yes, and cry like she was exercising the rights of her lungs.
Boy! Was I exhausted?
Without proper self-care, soon I was snapping at things that wouldn’t have bothered me earlier.
I had reached a place where I was mechanically going through the motions. I’d spend the little downtime I got, numbing myself by scrolling through social media or binge-watching Netflix.
Been there, done that?
I looked like I was doing great on the outside. Inside me was a turmoil of confusion as to why I didn’t feel contentment and peace despite doing everything to the dot. I was tearing at the seams with the pressure of parenting, it was time to invest in serious self-care. I took some time to really reflect on why I was feeling so awful and what sort of self-care I needed for a fresh perspective in enjoying motherhood.
Here are three self-care tips that I practice when life gets overwhelming. Practicing this will help your soul be better equipped to handle the God-ordained task of parenting.
I call them the 3 Cs of biblical self-care.
1. Connect to the Source of Life
Healthy parenting and self-care go hand in hand. Caring for your child is like drawing water from a well. You won’t draw from an empty well, would you? Neither is an infected, muddy one an ideal source.
You can only parent well if your outflow is healthy.
For your outflow to be healthy, you need to drink from the Living Water.
but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”www.biblegateway.com
The first and foremost role of Christian parents is to lead our children to Jesus and thus to eternal life. If we don’t constantly fill ourselves with the love of Jesus by spending time with Him, we will be pouring from an empty cup and soon feel the burnout weighing us down.
Parenting, like everything else, is full of challenges and feelings of failure. We need to provide our souls with affirmations of God’s love even when we feel like we messed it up.
God is an excellent parent. He understands us and models for us the best lessons of parenting.
He understand our need for rest and restoration. Who better to go to cast our cares?
2. Clean your spiritual mirror
When you connect with God, the Spirit of God will also start showing you, your real image. He will give nudges to where your character needs confrontation and improvement.
Social media is notorious for breeding feelings of inadequacy, comparison, and discontentment and portrays a wrong self-image. Unless you learn how to use it, it’s like a knife in the hands of a child, mostly self-harming. But God’s presence brings life.
The best and worst thing, I feel, about kids is that they don’t always do what you tell them, but they always do what you show them (or they see us doing).
Children are our reflection, just as we are called to be the reflection of Christ. It is our responsibility to make sure our image is worth reflecting.
We can’t expect our kids to behave exceptionally well when we are full of bad examples. Do you remember that Vodafone ad where a puppy follows a kid everywhere he goes? Your kid is that Pug and this imagery is not leaving your mind again.
Don’t let that stop you. Don’t even expect perfection because we are always in the process of being made perfect in the image of Christ.
You will make mistakes but your children will forgive when they see you genuinely work on yourself even as you parent them. Trust me, kids have a knack for calling out your shots, so be honest with them.
Isn’t it a great relief to know you have room for mistakes and space for learning even as a parent?
3. Create a God- centric home
When you start becoming more like Christ, you will naturally emulate a life that revolves around God. Make ‘God‘ a common word in your home. Let your children know that you are a family that serves God.
Sing songs together. Play instruments and invite your kids to dance along. Bedtime stories can be about Jesus other than a prince or princess who always seem to need rescuing. Create opportunities to relax as a family instead of always running through a time table. Watch family movies or go out and play with the kids.
We aren’t perfect so being intentional is the key to practicing these tips
While you practice these self-care tips, it not only benefits your soul but also creates a home that is full of joy. It’s a time first for you to relax and revere the One who gave you a generation to nurture.
These tips have helped me restore my soul from the burden that parenting can bring if not handled well. It has also immensely helped me in my walk with God.
I have gained more confidence in asking my kids to imitate me because I am more healthy and whole when I am rooted in Christ.
I invite you to give these tips a try and see if it gives your soul the much needed, long due self-care it craves.
Have you felt the need for some spiritual self-care lately? Has parenting felt like more like a burden than a ministry? Share your thoughts in the comments below.