What My Toddler Has Taught Me About Self-care


What My Toddler Has Taught Me About Self-careMy toddler and I battle it out almost every day. Whether it’s over food, play time or bath time, there is always a struggle for power. Most times, he wins. Elijah is a very energetic, curious two-year-old that pretty much gets what he wants around our house. He curls his bottom lip and we come running.

His methods of getting what he wants, like those of most toddlers, is frowned upon for adults, but they have definitely taught me some lessons about self-care:

1. Take a nap. Eli will nap pretty much whenever his body has done too much. Whether it’s in his play tent or in his room, he has to rest and so do we. We need to rest and recharge from all the busyness that surrounds us. I’ve learned that taking a rest is needed to refocus my body as well as my attitude.

2. Have a snack. Snacks are pretty powerful motivators for toddlers. It’s one way I can almost always get Eli to do what I need him to do. Currently, I am on a weight loss journey that requires me to eat smaller meals throughout the day, which is one thing I’ve haven’t done. I’ve always skipped meals because I was so busy and would stuff myself in the evening which has been one reason why I’ve allowed the weight to steadily increase. Now, I pack a snack for myself and even have set a reminder to eat them. The benefit is that I’m making more conscious healthy choices and I’m not starving at the end of the day leading me to overeat.

3. Have a good cry. Feeling overwhelmed? Tired? Stressed? Cry it out. Have a tantrum if need be (preferably not in public). When Eli is stressed or when things just don’t go his way, he lets us know. He vocalizes it. Loudly. I encourage this. I think crying is therapeutic. It releases built up frustrations and oftentimes makes me feel better. Holding onto your emotions isn’t good for anyone.

4. Get outside. Eli loves being outside; this is when he is most happy. I’ve learned to love the outdoors too. I’ve recently started really loving planting flowers and taking care of them. It brings me some much-needed calm during a busy week. Not only does being outside help my mental health, but it also helps me soak up some vitamin D which has benefits like building and maintaining healthy bones and joints.

5. Be selfish! Eli’s favorite word these days is “mine.” He has realized what things are special to him and doesn’t want to share them. And while sharing is encouraged in our home, I have realized that sometimes we must be selfish. We have to be selfish with our time by not over-committing ourselves to things we don’t want to do. It’s ok to say no. It’s ok to value your time and energy and save it for things that really matter.

Although I am teaching Eli so much during these formative years, he is teaching me some things too. I’m learning that taking care of myself is key to my mental and physical health. So whether it’s having a good cry session or eating Oreo cookies, do what you need to do to maintain your mental health.