How To Break Those Bad Holiday Parenting Habits

Charge Battery

Habit #1: Not taking care of yourself

The summer holidays are in full swing: five weeks in with three to go. We are all very much in holiday mode and I’m lovin’ it… kind of…

I love having my kids home with me. I love the no schedules, no rush, the freedom. But it comes at a price. I am only getting the bare minimum of work done which is not quite enough! My exercise routine has slipped a bit. I am eating way too well (and by well I do not mean healthy!). And, that 6pm Margarita is taking its toll.

The end of the day comes round and the feeling of not having got more work done is often frustrating. Not only that, it can make me feel de-energized, demotivated and tired.

This happens to me when I do not take care of my own basic needs and give myself what I know I need to refuel, renew, restore and charge my battery.

Have you asked yourself what it is that stops you from taking care of yourself?

Is it the Mommy guilt and is it worse during the holidays?

You are not alone. It gets to almost all of us.

Mommy guilt is a powerful thing. It stops us from doing what we know we need to do in order to be our best. We know what we need. We know that when we give it to ourselves it works but we deny ourselves because we feel guilty about taking the time.

It’s time for that to change and I can help you.

When I feel this way, thinking of it like this really helps me shift my perspective. Maybe it will help you too?

“Anything I do for myself is ultimately doing something for my family”

The well known author and Life Coach, Cheryl Richardson, puts it another way:

“If you think selfish is a dirty word, learn to practice extreme self-care, put yourself at the top of the list and everyone else will benefit!”

For me, going through the following checklist also really helps:

  1. I notice and become aware of how I react to things that I wouldn’t typically react to – this is usually a reliable indicator that I am either low on fuel or worse still, out of fuel
  2. In those reactive moments, I take a step back and take a deep breath
  3. I ask myself: “What’s going on here?” “Why am I reacting like this?” “What am I feeling guilty about?”
  4. I take some time to ground myself (I have a few 1 – 3 minute grounding activities so I pick one and do it)
  5. Then I make sure that I take care of some of my own needs

When I say needs, I am not talking decadent, luxurious things here, like manicures, pedicures and weekend trips away. Yes, we all need those but I am talking something smaller but just as important. In fact, possibly more important.

I am talking about BASIC needs. It’s easy to recognize the needs of our children but just because we are adults doesn’t mean that we don’t have our own needs.

What do you need?

All of our needs will be different. For you it might be lying on your bed mid morning for 10 minutes doing absolutely nothing or staring out the window simply dreaming and reflecting. For another it might be a 10 km run or taking 10 minutes to write in a journal. For me it is a combination of things:

  • My 10 minute glorious, delicious cup of tea in the quiet solitude of my home before the rest of my house stirs
  • 5 minutes lying on the grass staring into the big blue sky, dreaming and listening to the silence
  • Going for a power walk on the trails in the forest and connecting with nature
  • 10 minutes gardening
  • Sitting on a rock staring out at the ocean, reflecting
  • Going to bed 10 minutes earlier to give myself extra reading time knowing that I am not taking away sleeping time

When I honour and reinstate some of my basic needs, the ones that truly energize me, the other things, like getting more work done, exercising more, making that quinoa salad, saying no to the Marg and meditating naturally start to happen.


From this place of energy, with my tank full, I am less reactive, cool, calm and collected, more productive, more motivated and way more efficient with my time. But most importantly, for me, it brings the joy back into being a Mom.

The other incredibly important thing is that by taking care of yourself you send your children a very powerful message:

“I am worth taking care of.”

How are you going to take better care of yourself? Trust me, when you do, you will be amazed at what might just happen!

Over the next few weeks I am going to be looking at some of the other Bad Holiday Parenting Habits we slip into and how you might start to break them. Stay tuned!

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