Having a healthy lifestyle is a priority for me. It took a few years to figure it all out but I feel like I’ve reached a place where taking care of myself has become an ingrained priority. I exercise almost every day and I try to eat a healthy diet. I use the 80/20 Rule, which is eating healthy and exercising 80 percent of the time, but allowing 20 percent of my life to be things that may not provide much of a benefit to my body (but will probably nourish my soul). Many find this outlook sustainable to staying healthy and enjoying life.
I like this 80/20 rule so much, I’ve started to adopt it into other areas into my life, namely parenting.
I try my best to provide my son with everything that will enhance his life: reading books, opportunities for physical activity, a regimented schedule, outdoor play, learning-focused toys, and healthy food. But sometimes mom is too tired to play, or cook, or clean, or just be an exemplary parent. It’s the times where I desperately need a moment to recharge but I’m still the main parent on duty. For those times, I allow myself a little bit of wiggle room. I’m the best mom I can be 80 percent of the time, and that’s ok by me.
The remaining 20 percent can mean cereal for dinner, a little extra screentime, or going to bed a little later because there’s a fun family event taking place in the evening. It’s going to bed without brushing teeth because I’m too worn out to fight about it. Eating dinner while watching Puppy Dog Pals because, again, I’m too worn out to fight about it.
There are also regular things I do as a parent that may go against the grain as to what’s the “best way.” My son still uses a pacifier to sleep and I’m potty training based on intuition and interest versus deadlines and immersive weekends.
I used to feel a slight twinge of guilt when I wasn’t parenting by the book, but by having this outlook to my parenting, I know I do the right thing most of the time. And 20 percent of the time, what might feel like giving in or giving up to me, looks like special moments or treats to my kid. The moments that nourish the soul.