Everyone is talking about self-care. People ask about your self-care rituals and practices as if it’s the newest diet craze. As moms, we tend to put everyone else’s needs ahead of ours. We are often the last ones to eat, go to bed or take time away from the kids. I always want to make sure my girls are taken care of before I even begin to think of myself. Here lies my flawed thinking. It’s more effective to nurture ourselves first so we are able to care for our little ones. Especially when we are co-parenting. On those days we are the sole provider of all the kids’ needs and that can become extremely taxing, so it’s paramount we fill our cup up in order to be able to pour it out and serve it to our kids. Here are the ways in which I take care of myself in order to be my calmest mommy self: Find a little time for Me each day. A walk, drinking my tea alone for just a few minutes in the morning, taking a bath, reading something inspiring or just sitting down on the couch with my eyes closed for a few minutes. Eat well. I try to eat healthy so I have energy to make it through the night and into bedtime...the most exhausting time of day. Drink lots of water. My entire mind and body function so much better with water. Exercise. I am a junky and use it to increase my serotonin levels and keep my body strong. I love yoga and find it helps my mind rest. I realize it may not be your ‘thing’ but find your thing. Sleep, the most elusive of all the necessities. Often I save work to do for after bedtime but, I make a concerted effort to turn it all off at 10:30 pm. Sleeping a full night helps me concentrate on the kids in the morning instead of waking up feeling exhausted. Listening Partnership. This is a component of the parenting approach I teach (Hand in Hand Parenting). It’s really reciprocal listening. You find a partner who is also co-parenting in this way and once a week you listen to and are listened to by your partner. It’s a time to just vent, be heard and able to complain, sort out or just cry about something in your world. Afterward, it’s as if you lost 10 pounds of dead weight. My parenting deeply reflects how I am feeling. When I have taken the time to give myself what I need, I can be patient, have empathy, listen to big feelings and navigate the world of co-parenting with more grace and ease. It becomes extremely obvious when I’ve come to the end of my parenting rope. Even the slightest things will bother me, sibling rivalry sends me into a downward spiral and difficult moments are that much more strenuous. We can’t expect self-care to be on the top of our to-do list, but keeping in mind that taking care of yourself is taking care of your kids.