What made you choose to become a parent? While juggling responsibilities like changing diapers, cooking nutritious meals, doing laundry and homeschooling, you might lose sight of the answer to this question. Parenting is a thankless, 24/7 job, and you can never take a day off. If you start getting overwhelmed, you can feel less motivated to embrace the joys of parenthood. Once you’re pursuing recovery, how can you be a more present parent?
1. Put Down Your Phone
You may carefully monitor your kids’ screen time, but do you keep track of how much time you spend staring at your phone? Your go-to news and social media apps can help you stay informed and connected. However, this technology has a dark side. If you’re constantly glued to your phone, mindlessly refreshing for updates, you’re not there for your loved ones. You’re also sending your kids the implied message that your phone is more interesting and rewarding than being with them.
2. Create a Consistent Bedtime Routine
Ending each day on a peaceful note will give you and your child something to look forward to, which is especially valuable if you’re spending more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. If your kids are younger, take advantage of bedtime to read to them – a tradition that can also let you revisit some of your favorite books from childhood. For older children who might have outgrown bedtime stories, consider establishing a nighttime habit of writing in a gratitude journal.
3. Make Time for Daily Self-Care
You can’t take good care of your family if you’re feeling harried and exhausted every day. Carve out space in your everyday routine for self-care activities like exercise, meditation and deep breathing exercises. Self-care is an essential part of being more present and succeeding in your recovery goals. Self-care isn’t selfish – especially during a crisis on the magnitude of a raging pandemic.
4. Enjoy Every Moment
As your children grow up, they won’t ask for your help as often. Eventually, they’ll be more interested in hanging out with their friends than spending time with you. That’s why being a more present parent should involve mindfulness practices that help you live in the moment. Milestones like teaching a baby to walk and sending a 5-year-old off to their first day of kindergarten are memories to treasure for the rest of your life, and once you’re sober, these will become even more meaningful. When you look back, you’ll never regret taking every opportunity to savor your time with your children.
5. Enjoy Shared Mealtimes
Another way to be a more present parent is to eat at least one meal together as a family every day. Instead of having dinner in front of the television, gather around your kitchen or dining room table to enjoy a shared eating experience. Make a rule that no phones are allowed at the table. Take the opportunity to ask everyone what they liked or disliked about their day, or use table topics to spark challenging conversations.
Benefits of Sober Living
Many people need additional structure and support when transitioning out of an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment program and into the “real world.” Recovery residences can provide these benefits in a comfortable, home-like environment. Contact us at Segue Recovery Support when you’re ready to learn more.