Parenthood is one of the most fulfilling journeys we can experience. It can also be one of the most challenging and unrelenting. Strong, safe caregiver relationships are a key foundation for our kids, supporting them to build resilience and buffering them against life stressors. But when our own mental well-being is vulnerable, it’s really hard to give our tamariki what they need.
If we aren’t able to manage our own stressors, fears and anxieties, how can we begin to manage those of our children? It’s like the safety message we hear on planes; if there is a crash, put your own oxygen mask on first.
In order to give out, we need to care for ourselves and build our own reserves. The Māori concept of te whare tapa whā is a beautiful reminder of the four cornerstones of our house that we need to tend to; physical well-being, mental and emotional well-being, spiritual well-being and social well-being. And connecting with the land. It can be the little things like refraining from starting that gripping Netflix series at 10pm when you know you won’t be able to turn off at a reasonable time, eating well and getting a good balance of fruit and veg (and no, that 'grape juice' that goes quite well with Netflix doesn’t count as a fruit), and getting exercise, even if it’s just a daily walk around the block for fresh air and perspective.