The 8th principle of attachment parenting is to strive for balance between personal and family life:
It is easier to be emotionally responsive when you feel in balance. Create a support network, set realistic goals, put people before things, and don’t be afraid to say “no”. Recognize individual needs within the family and meet them to the greatest extent possible without compromising your physical and emotional health. Be creative, have fun with parenting, and take time to care for yourself. – Attachmentparenting.org
Your mental health obviously affects your ability to parent effectively, but this principle of attachment parenting is often cast aside for hot topics within the attachment parenting community – like circumcision.
What does balance mean to you? There are constant discussions in the blogging community about whether children or spouse should come first. While I tend to lean towards making an effort to prioritize my marriage, I think balance means that neither children nor spouse have to come first. For me, it’s easy to prioritize my son, so in order to prioritize my marriage, I need to be focusing on it and working on it. At the end of the day, though, sometimes we’ll be focusing on the children and sometimes we’ll be focusing on each other and sometimes…we’ll really focus on ourselves.
How do you keep a balance? Here’s are some ways that I take time to truly focus only on myself…
Lavender baths have been shown to reduce anxiety in women, so there is a true scientific basis for partaking, ladies.
Nice hot bath water, some grapeseed oil and lavender oil will go a long way. A bath temperature set just hot enough so you sweat allows you to release toxins, increases circulation, and stimulates the lymph system – all which help prevent diseases and help promote a healthy immune system. Also, a bath with added Epsom salts helps the body absorb adequate magnesium- something the majority of Westerners are lacking in (and has been one of the pinpointed causes of the spike in cardiovascular disease).
Bathing has been a part of therapeutic and beauty rituals for thousands of years. As far back as 1500 BCE we see the ancient Egyptians using baths for their healing properties. Cleopatra was known for her milk and honey baths, which set the tone for modern day spas throughout the US.
For me, getting the most out of baths typically means natural and organic products that make me feel healthier. A friend of mine gets products from a local farmer that lives near her. One great place to get bath salts and soaks is Fabled Soap Company.
Being creative has been shown to reduce stress. Whether it’s cooking, gardening, knitting, or making tot school bins, being creative apparently accesses part of your brain that allows the other parts to relax. At least, this is the concept behind the idea of art therapy, and I’ve found it true for myself. When my son was about 13 months old, I spent a few hours with a friend at one of those places where you can paint pottery. I was completely shocked by how renewed I felt.
Another time, my sister and I went to a Paint Bar in Milwaukee. You get a canvas and paints and…wait for it…a glass of wine or beer. It was so fun! I think you could also manage something like this just with a group of friends if there isn’t something like this in your area.
Although I hate cooking, I’ve found some solace there as well. If my son can be entertained by Daddy or maybe on his own for a little bit, the little bit of silence and creating does me good. The only thing about this is that I’m a terrible cook and I’ve traditionally hated cooking. It’s helped me to use E-meals. It’s just $5 for a subscription but they plan the meals and make grocery shopping easy, so I don’t have to think about anything except the actual creating of the meal. It works out perfectly for us because we’re an organic-eating family and they have a plan specifically for those of us trying to eat whole and real foods.
This is an oldie but goodie. We all know exercise is great for us. The mental health benefits are fantastic – time on your own may (or may not!) re-energize you for being a mommy, and the endorphins can only make that effect more pronounced. Plus, over a period of time, you’re going to start feeling better about your body. We all need that, am I right? I love Workout Mommy for inspiration. She had lots of great ideas I started when I was pregnant and right after my son was born – tips for things you can do with baby or while baby is doing tummy time.
Are you an attachment parent? How well do you feel like you observe the “balance” principle of attachment parenting? Have you found what works for you, yet?
Kendall Hoover is a web content and non-fiction editor who helps bloggers make money on their blogs, and improve their pagerank. She is also Secretary of Fayye Foundation and is passionate about pre- and postpartum care for mothers. She is a military spouse and mother to one toddler son, so when she’s not reading or writing, she’s the project assistant on elaborate Lego projects.