ARE YOU CONSTANTLY FEELING UNDER THE WEATHER? THIS COULD BE WHY…

When my first two children were around 3 and 1 years old, I distinctly remember that having a cold, sniffles or slight headache became my new normal, particularly during the colder months.  I think I mainly put it down to not paying careful enough attention to my diet, and constant close-up exposure to snot-drenched little ones.

But interesting new research suggests there could be another reason.

It has been found that the more empathetic parents were towards their children, the more likely they were to have a lowered immune system.  Yep, you read that right; the findings suggest that being consistently kind and understanding to your children has great benefits for your sense of self-esteem and purposefulness, BUT puts you at increased risk of systemic inflammation.   (If, like me, you have a touch of the research geek in you, check out the full study and links to other related ones here).

So, you know that non-stop giving of yourself that you do?  That non-stop suppression of your own feelings for the sake of helping your children deal with theirs?  Well, that not only depletes you psychologically and emotionally (which you definitely already knew) but also at a physiological level.

Wow, incredible, doesn’t that explain such a lot!

And so now it’s extremely obvious what you need to do isn’t it?  Just stop being so damn nice and understanding to your children.  A little more shouting, a little less kindness and a LOT more f-ing and blinding and you’ll be right as rain again.  How great is that, the permission you’ve been longing for 🙂

Or not.

Unfortunately, the benefits of empathetic parenting for children are huge and very well-established; strengthened immune system, protection against depression and aggression, better developed brain integration and a higher level of emotional intelligence.  And these are only some of them.

So I’m afraid, actually, what you more likely need to do is what I’m sure you already know you need to do, because just about every single piece of parenting advice advises you to do so!  Yep, you know what I’m talking about; make your needs a priority and look after you to the same degree you look after your children.

These research findings tell us that this is not just important for providing emotional and psychological relief, but is ESSENTIAL in keeping you physically well and healthy. 

So why is it that this intuitive and now science-based piece of advice is so hard for so many of us parents to action?  And, in fact, can sometimes feel almost irritating and unhelpful to even hear?

I’ve realised that, for myself at least, it’s because it’s asking of me yet another thing to DO.  And however much we work on self-love and prioritising our needs, there is nothing much helpful about adding extra things to our to-do-lists.

You don’t need me to tell you that parenting is all-consuming and time disappears overnight when you have a baby.  Then add back to work, and or another baby, and or any pre-baby hobbies or interests and you might just be holding your head above water.  But asking to re-jig this delicate balance by adding more things in, well, it’s hardly surprising that it will rarely consistently happen.

Which is why my advice is to do the very opposite of thisSelf-care for parents, to my mind, is all about doing less, not more.  Culling and paring down on things that are not a priority, that you don’t love, and that drain your energy.

And this looks different for everyone.

For me, it was things like learning to say ‘no’ to invites that don’t energise me, and ‘no’ to extending invites only out of politeness and social nicety.  I also had to seriously examine my motivation for feeling that I should have the house looking spotless, home baked goods on offer, and make every single meal from scratch.  And giving myself grief when I (usually) didn’t.  Pointless, unsustainable and plain exhausting!

So are you interested in exploring this more?  What could you cut down on to free some space for your real priorities?

Please do contact me here for more help with this and see here for some more culling ideas.

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

I'm a mama of 3 and a parenting coach specialising in picky eating and mealtime stress.

I'm passionate about inspiring parents to enjoy mealtimes & help their children develop a healthy long-term relationship with food.

See here for the services I offer or email me for more info.  You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.

FUSSY EATER MYTH #5: YOU KNOW EXACTLY HOW MUCH YOUR CHILD NEEDS TO EAT

It's true that we have an incredible understanding now of what is required nutritionally-speaking for optimum health. But there is concern amongst many health professionals that parents are frequently vastly over-estimating the amount of food children can and/or need...
Read More

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I remember reading something a while ago along the lines of, whenever you think you know or understand something always leave a space next to it in your brain for new information.  I’ve probably totally trashed a beautiful quote there and unfortunately, I have...
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You've seen these websites and resources, right? The ones that are aimed at helping you with your fussy eater that focus predominantly on recipes...recipes that even the fussiest of fussy eaters are allegedly 'guaranteed' to eat. Except even after you spend ages...
Read More

TEMPERAMENT & FUSSY EATING: IS YOUR CHILD A ‘SUPERTASTER’?

DO YOU HAVE A PICKY EATER?  DO YOU SOMETIMES BLAME  YOURSELF FOR YOUR CHILD'S FUSSY EATING? Please don't. I know it can sometimes seem like everyone else's children eat everything and yours just won’t. But it's really not true - limited food choice is extremely common...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #2: FUSSINESS STARTS AT AROUND 12-MONTHS-OLD AS BABY BECOMES MORE WILFUL

Well, it is certainly true that it is frequently around about this age that parents start to regret having told everyone that their child loves food and is such a ‘good’ eater. Very often it can seem like overnight they go from eating everything in sight to refusing...
Read More

WHAT’S MAKING YOUR CHILD ‘FUSSY’ WITH FOOD?

The trouble with many articles offering expert opinions about fussy eating and mealtime stress is that they tend to offer a couple of generic, one-sized fits all ‘solutions’ and fail to take into account that there are many different types of ‘fussy eater’ and quite a...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #1: YOUR CHILD MUST EAT A RAINBOW COLOURED PLATE AT EVERY MEAL

If you present your child with a beautifully colourful, perfectly balanced plate of food at every meal and they willingly gobble it all down - wow, consider yourself extremely blessed! But if not, try not to sweat it. This is very common for all children, not just the...
Read More

WEANING YOUR BABY: 4 ESSENTIAL TRUTHS FOR LONG TERM FUSS-FREE EATING

(This article was originally posted on at http://mammainpearls.com/weaning-your-baby/ on 03.04.17) Very often when it’s time to take the exciting leap to the weaning stage, our focus is so much on the present that we forget to think about the longer-term eating...
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When you SPECIFICALLY request a trusted relative NOT to buy chocolate for your kids for Easter (but a small inedible present instead)...and they do it anyway. And not even a small one; a very large, indulgent-looking one each. THIS I find mega frustrating. And...
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Imagine that you popped over to my house for a cuppa and I put a plate of snacks in front of you. And then instead of saying, "Here, help yourself!" I said, "Look at this yummy food I've got for you, try it! Have some! Just one little bite, go on, I'll give you a...
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MY JOURNEY TO FUSS-FREE EATING

I think even as a very young child I knew deep down that being ‘forced’ to eat and rigid mealtime rules just weren't right. I remember sitting at the dining table feeling so confused; I wasn't particular hungry, I'd eaten all the ‘nice’ bits on my plate, and just the...
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HOW TO HANDLE “I HATE YOU MUMMY!”

Hearing these words for the first time from your sweet, innocent ‘baby’ is pretty gutting really.
I had asked my 7-year-old to start tidying away the Lego as it was bedtime soon, and he replied, “No Mummy, I’m still building this.” I could hear he was fairly cross and passionate, and so thinking I was being quite reasonable, I said,

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DO YOU HAVE A FUSSY EATER? ARE YOU FED UP WITH MEALTIMES?

 

 

Click here to apply

 to join my
6 week, one-to-one, Fuss-Free Eating for Life coaching programme

 

 

APPLY NOW

THE ONLY WAY TO AVOID WEEKDAY MORNING STRESS (for me, anyway)

The absolute game changer for me is getting up before the kids.  A good amount of time before the kids.  If I don’t, sometimes the morning goes okay, sometimes it doesn’t.  But if I DO get up early, I can pretty much guarantee that it will.

Why?

Because whatever state the kids are in, it doesn’t matter.  I’ve had some me-time so I’m centred and relaxed.  I’m showered and dressed so I’m organised.  Lunches are done, or nearly.   I have time to focus on making breakfast or helping the kids get dressed, finish homework, or whatever else needs to be done.

And, most importantly, I have time and space and energy to connect with them.  Being asleep is actually a pretty big separation for children and it’s very common for them to wake feeling disconnected and distant.

Some kids find the transition to the day harder than others and they all seem to deal with it differently.  My eldest, for example, wakes up and reads his way into the day, whilst the littlest tends to want to go straight to his dinosaurs and cars and play his way into the day.  My middlest struggles the most, and more often than not, groggily mopes and grumps her way into the day.

In this state, asking her to put on her clothes or get herself breakfast or happily cooperate in any way is just never going to happen.  I’m talking from LOTS of experience.

She needs more time to wake up than the other two, but even more crucially, she also seems to need more help to re-establish her connection and relationship with us and have her ‘love tank’ re-filled.

This can mean snuggling on the sofa for five minutes reading a story, playing a quick game of cards or silly chasing games, engaging her in making breakfast (she loves cooking), or even just talking to her one-on-one for five minutes about her day or anything to do with her really.  It doesn’t really matter how, the key is that she feels our warmth, desire to connect and belief in her especialness; we quite literally need to re-fill her with love after a long (to her brain) night apart.

I know it perhaps sounds a little hard work for first thing in the morning, but I promise you it’s worth it.  Because once they are re-filled, it’s like re-programming them back to their natural state of ease and co-operation and the rest of the morning tends to flow so much more smoothly from there.

But if I get up late, or haven’t taken time to organise myself, not only can they feel my stress and haste, but I just don’t have the time or space to re-connect like this.  And that’s when I find things can get very messy, very stressy, and a pretty rubbish way for everyone to start the day.

For me, getting up early has also been a way to get some consistent and vital me-time.  It’s often the only time of the day I have to myself and I absolutely treasure it now.

I have never previously been a morning person.  Never.  Always a night owl.   But I happened to come across Hal Elrod’s ‘Miracle Morning’ and was inspired to give it a go (you can find his books on Amazon and he also has a very large and active Miracle Morning Mums Fb group).

The early starts were a struggle for a couple of weeks but the benefits became apparent pretty quickly and I was soon hooked.  Hal advocates a very structured early morning routine including six elements (exercise, silence, reading etc.) but I’ve gradually adapted this to suit my own preferences.

To be honest though, just getting up and having time to get yourself ready before the rest of the house is up makes all the difference in the world.  And if you also have some time to get a few chores done too, you’ll be laughing your way through the rest of the morning.

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

HI! I'M DR. NICOLA FARR

I'm a mama of 3 and a parenting coach specialising in picky eating and mealtime stress.

I'm passionate about inspiring parents to enjoy mealtimes & help their children develop a healthy long-term relationship with food.

See here for the services I offer or email me for more info.  You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram.

FUSSY EATER MYTH #5: YOU KNOW EXACTLY HOW MUCH YOUR CHILD NEEDS TO EAT

It's true that we have an incredible understanding now of what is required nutritionally-speaking for optimum health. But there is concern amongst many health professionals that parents are frequently vastly over-estimating the amount of food children can and/or need...
Read More

WANT LESS STRESSFUL MEALTIMES? WANT TO STOP WORRYING ABOUT YOUR FUSSY EATER?

(This article was originally posted on the Mother Tribe blog on 22.04.17) A doctorate in child development and years of working with children and families did not prepare me for the sheer frustration and stress of feeding my own family. Three different children with...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #4: CHILDREN REFUSE TO TRY NEW FOODS BECAUSE THEY ARE STUBBORN OR ‘TESTING’ BOUNDARIES

Without doubt children have very different personalities and some are much more on the feisty end of the scale than others, but this is NOT directly related to refusing to try or eat a particular food.  Passive, laid back children can be just as fussy when it comes to...
Read More

FLEXIBILITY IS ONE OF YOUR BEST MEALTIME FRIENDS

I remember reading something a while ago along the lines of, whenever you think you know or understand something always leave a space next to it in your brain for new information.  I’ve probably totally trashed a beautiful quote there and unfortunately, I have...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #3: YOU NEED TO MAKE FOOD MORE EXCITING & TRY SPECIAL RECIPES

You've seen these websites and resources, right? The ones that are aimed at helping you with your fussy eater that focus predominantly on recipes...recipes that even the fussiest of fussy eaters are allegedly 'guaranteed' to eat. Except even after you spend ages...
Read More

TEMPERAMENT & FUSSY EATING: IS YOUR CHILD A ‘SUPERTASTER’?

DO YOU HAVE A PICKY EATER?  DO YOU SOMETIMES BLAME  YOURSELF FOR YOUR CHILD'S FUSSY EATING? Please don't. I know it can sometimes seem like everyone else's children eat everything and yours just won’t. But it's really not true - limited food choice is extremely common...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #2: FUSSINESS STARTS AT AROUND 12-MONTHS-OLD AS BABY BECOMES MORE WILFUL

Well, it is certainly true that it is frequently around about this age that parents start to regret having told everyone that their child loves food and is such a ‘good’ eater. Very often it can seem like overnight they go from eating everything in sight to refusing...
Read More

WHAT’S MAKING YOUR CHILD ‘FUSSY’ WITH FOOD?

The trouble with many articles offering expert opinions about fussy eating and mealtime stress is that they tend to offer a couple of generic, one-sized fits all ‘solutions’ and fail to take into account that there are many different types of ‘fussy eater’ and quite a...
Read More

FUSSY EATER MYTH #1: YOUR CHILD MUST EAT A RAINBOW COLOURED PLATE AT EVERY MEAL

If you present your child with a beautifully colourful, perfectly balanced plate of food at every meal and they willingly gobble it all down - wow, consider yourself extremely blessed! But if not, try not to sweat it. This is very common for all children, not just the...
Read More

WEANING YOUR BABY: 4 ESSENTIAL TRUTHS FOR LONG TERM FUSS-FREE EATING

(This article was originally posted on at http://mammainpearls.com/weaning-your-baby/ on 03.04.17) Very often when it’s time to take the exciting leap to the weaning stage, our focus is so much on the present that we forget to think about the longer-term eating...
Read More

HERE’S HOW MANY EASTER EGGS I LET MY KIDS EAT..

When you SPECIFICALLY request a trusted relative NOT to buy chocolate for your kids for Easter (but a small inedible present instead)...and they do it anyway. And not even a small one; a very large, indulgent-looking one each. THIS I find mega frustrating. And...
Read More

INSISTING ON ‘TASTING’ IS NOT THE ANSWER TO PICKY EATING

Imagine that you popped over to my house for a cuppa and I put a plate of snacks in front of you. And then instead of saying, "Here, help yourself!" I said, "Look at this yummy food I've got for you, try it! Have some! Just one little bite, go on, I'll give you a...
Read More

WHEN THEY DON’T EAT WHAT YOU KNOW THEY LIKE…

"But you LOVE chicken and rice! Here, have some chicken and rice!" "Don't like chicken and rice." "Yes you DO, you ate a whole bowlful the other day!" Do you ever find yourself having this sort of crazy-making conversation with your toddler or child? You kind of know...
Read More

MY JOURNEY TO FUSS-FREE EATING

I think even as a very young child I knew deep down that being ‘forced’ to eat and rigid mealtime rules just weren't right. I remember sitting at the dining table feeling so confused; I wasn't particular hungry, I'd eaten all the ‘nice’ bits on my plate, and just the...
Read More

HOW TO HANDLE “I HATE YOU MUMMY!”

Hearing these words for the first time from your sweet, innocent ‘baby’ is pretty gutting really.
I had asked my 7-year-old to start tidying away the Lego as it was bedtime soon, and he replied, “No Mummy, I’m still building this.” I could hear he was fairly cross and passionate, and so thinking I was being quite reasonable, I said,

Read More

DO YOU HAVE A FUSSY EATER? ARE YOU FED UP WITH MEALTIMES?

 

 

Click here to apply

 to join my
6 week, one-to-one, Fuss-Free Eating for Life coaching programme

 

 

APPLY NOW

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