A few months ago, I shared this simple quote on my Facebook page. The post was flooded with comments and shares. Clearly, parents’ longing for rest is very real.

What is it about parenting that suggests that being a good mother or father requires us to fix everything that’s broken or make everyone happy? Why do we so willingly forego sleep or food — or even a pee?

I’d like to propose a redefinition of the role, one that recognizes that honoring our need for rest and sustenance (both physically and emotionally) is essential to raising our children who become healthy, compassionate adults.

You have permission to rest. You have permission to take a walk or call a friend or take a nap. I know it isn’t easy, but remember: although we may have children, we are still members of the human race. This means we need to take care of our bodies, minds, and hearts with tenderness.

Here are three things you can do to help restore balance into your parenting life.

Image courtesy of Unsplash
  • HONOR YOUR BODY If you need to go to the bathroom or get a glass of water, go to the bathroom or get the glass of water. The world will continue to spin, and your children will learn by the example you set that taking care of our needs is a good thing to do. Stop making needless sacrifices.
  • PLAY Raising children is a lot of work. We need not only sleep, but lighthearted fun in order to recharge. Ruthlessly carve out a few moments a day to do something that revitalizes your body, mind or spirit. Chase your kids around the house. Paint a picture. Have a dance party for one. Life is meant to be enjoyed. Enjoy it.
  • SLEEP No matter how hard you try, you will never accomplish everything on your To-Do List. Go to bed when you’re tired. Coffee is not the same as sleep. Accept that washing one more dish or clicking one more link will not change your life in any substantive way, and go to sleep when you’re tired. Prepare to find out what a difference it makes to wake up rested.

I often say that we aren’t raising children — we’re raising adults. If you want your kids to grow into people who treat themselves with care, show them what that looks like! Love is a verb. Take action every day to treat yourself with the same kindness you would show your children, or a dear friend. You deserve it.

You have permission to rest.

Originally published at medium.com