Your needs matter too... Bringing up children is one of the most important things you will ever do in your life and for many of us it is also the most challenging. As parents, we often spend all our time looking after everyone else in the family and forget about ourselves. If you want to give your children what they need from you, you need to look after yourself too. You can't do the best for your children if you're running on empty - it can leave you feeling resentful and miserable. Admit to yourself that you actually have feelings and needs of your own. Then recognise what they are. Most of us have had a lifetime of being told it's selfish to think about ourselves and so we may not even know what we need, let alone be able to ask for it. Thinking about yourself doesn't mean not caring about other people - it does mean caring for yourself as well as others. It's OK to look after yourself and to ask for help clearly and directly.
- Take time out for yourself - plan ahead to make sure you get some rest and do things you enjoy. Even small treats will make a difference, such as having a lie-in, reading a paper, going to the local gym, or meeting up with a friend.
- Be realistic - there's no such thing as the perfect parent - it's about doing your best and being good enough.
Ask for help - let other people know clearly and directly what you would like.