Years ago, when she needed a break from parenting her young daughters, Elena Epstein would find herself lost.
“I used to go to the bookstore and get lost in the books,” Epstein recalled. “It was very relaxing.”
Since then, Epstein has picked up a few more tips about self-care for parents. She should know. As the co-owner of L.A. Parent Magazine with her husband, Ron, she has overseen the publication of a plethora of parenting articles.
“We interact a lot with moms and dads,” Epstein said. “I think it’s really important for parents to create a routine to decompress a little bit from being parents, whether that’s going out for a walk for 20 minutes or meeting up with friends for coffee and laughter.”
While this is great advice for any day, we wanted to help celebrate Parents’ Day this coming Sunday by offering the latest tips and resources to help Los Angeles County parents do better and feel better about what they do. Epstein was happy to share her suggestions:
“I think it’s really important for parents to create a routine to decompress a little bit from being parents, whether that’s going out for a walk for 20 minutes or meeting up with friends for coffee and laughter.” - Elena Epstein
TEAM UP – “When your kids are younger, it’s hard to get away. What I did was create a network of moms where the kids can play together (under their supervision) so you can take turns going to the gym or getting a massage or getting your nails done or organizing your closet.”
YOU ARE NOT ALONE – “We’re very involved with the special needs community. Parents with kids with special needs in particular need to know they are not alone. We have a lot of articles, resources and information to help navigate this journey.”
READ ON – “We also do a lot of articles on mom groups and parent support groups out there. We’ve also done stories on the best spas for moms to get away, where to go out with your girlfriend, or just by yourself.”
SPY WARNING SIGNS – “Kids want your attention all the time and to read the same book 50 times. That’s what kids do. When you find yourself losing your patience when you get asked to read that book one more time, that’s a sign to take a break. I think a lot of working moms have mommy guilt about taking breaks because they are working all day away from their child. But you are the best mom when you are relaxed and recharged.”
Practicing Self-Care from Your Body to Your Mind
Epstein’s suggestion of practicing self-care echoes similar advice in this article in the Program for Early Parent Support, or PEPS. In order to have the energy to care for our children, the article says, you need to make sure that you’re also taking care of yourself. Here are a few of PEPS’ tips for what to do when you’re “running on empty”:
IDEAS FOR MEETING PHYSICAL NEEDS:
- Sleep (as much as you can), and nap when your child naps.
- Eat right: Food affects mood, so try to cut down on sugars and processed foods.
- Go for a long walk outdoors – on your own, or with your child in a sling or stroller.
IDEAS FOR MEETING INTELLECTUAL NEEDS:
- Take your child to the library, but pick up something for yourself while you’re there.
- If your child is doing an art project, sit down and create your own art!
- Return to old hobbies you may not have pursued since your child’s birth.
Ensuring that parents take care of themselves is also the focus of a new effort by the Los Angeles County Department of Health. This effort encourages women, especially mothers, to keep personal health a priority.
The Office of Women’s Health operates a free multilingual Women’s Health Hotline (1-800-793-8090). When L.A. County women call the hotline, the information they share with the operator remains confidential. This resource is free and available to all women (and men), with or without health insurance.
However you choose to celebrate Parents’ Day, we hope you take the time to learn more about the resources available online and in your community that will help you give your children the best start in life.