We cannot give from an empty cup
“YOU are the experts—when it comes to your children.”
I had to stop for a bit after Teacher Tina Zamora said this in our Lifesmith Live session a few weeks back.
As parents of young kids, we, too, often question ourselves: “Am I doing the right thing? Okay lang ba 'to? Okay lang ba anak ko? Am I doing enough?” It is a constant back and forth of questioning yourself and just doing what you feel is right. And hearing this from Teacher Tina, a mom of three grown children, was so…comforting.
I’d like to share with you three key takeaways I learned from talking to fellow moms, Solenn Heussaff and Saab Magalona—on parenting during this challenging time.
First, mindfulness is so, so important. And when I say mindfulness, it’s not just about meditation or centering yourself or other very zen ideas—it is mindfulness in being mindful of your thoughts or feelings. Solenn, Sab and I admitted to going through phrases of emotions during the start of quarantine, from disbelief to denial to acceptance to confusion and fear—the whole spectrum! And being mindful is not all about not pushing away or denying that the negative feelings exist; it is acknowledging these and moving forward with it. Being mindful is not pushing ourselves to the extremes when we physically know we have nothing more to give; it’s taking a break and asking for help when we know we are overwhelmed.
Next, self-care makes us feel guilty, but it is essential. There is so much on the internet about “self-care” and “loving yourself” and, at a time like this, that isn’t about going out with friends for lunch or booking a salon appointment for some pampering. It can be as simple as enjoying a cup of coffee alone, taking that extra five minutes for your skin care or giving yourself an hour to sweat and work out. Mom guilt is real; I suffer from it all the time, but I am always reminded by fellow moms that we cannot give from an empty cup.
Lastly, time management is key. Whether you are a serial planner with everything on the calendar or more free flowing with your day, some sort of structure will not only help you manage your energy throughout the day, it will also help you manage the expectations of everyone in your home about what will happen at what time of the day. A sense of routine can help you ground yourself, can give your children a sense of security and can get everyone in the home on the same page.
There is no correct “way” to deal with everything going on right now. Everyone’s situation is different, and we can’t be too hard on ourselves if, on some days, it seems like we can’t figure it out. I just hope that our conversation and these three takeaways help give you the tools you need to figure out a system that works for you and your home.
And like Teacher Tina reminds us, it’s us who are the experts and it’s we who know what is best for our kids, our family, our homes. Good luck, fellow parents. We’re all in this together.
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