When we're stressed, we all wish someone else would step in to take care of us. Like the all-powerful, loving parent we all wanted in childhood, this person would hug us, feed us, tuck us into bed, and then handle the mess of our lives, including the care our children need. And we all deserve that person!

But it's not going to happen. Or at least not that way. The truth is, WE are going to step in to do this for ourselves. The emotional work of adulthood is grieving that we never got the care we needed and deserved, and then learning how to give it to ourselves. This is the reparenting that allows us to give unconditional love to our kids. Loving ourselves is where the healing starts.

So this final post about keeping our cups full is about how to give ourselves the support we need to be able to keep our own cups full.


  • Set up healthy routines so you give yourself the physical care you need: sleep, healthy food, exercise.
  • Be your own nurturing parent, giving yourself encouragement all day long. Think of yourself as an angel on your own shoulder and cultivate an inner voice that is loving.
  • Cultivate practices that restore your resilience, like daily meditation.
  • Find other people who share your parenting approach, so you feel less alone, both when you mess up and in your aspirations.
  • Find regular reinforcements that encourage you in your parenting and self-care, like inspiring podcasts or emails.
  • Take responsibility to check in with yourself, all day every day, to ask yourself what you need. Give it to yourself then, or promise it to yourself later, and then deliver.
  • When you mess up -- which will happen many times a day -- be compassionate to yourself. Remind yourself that every parent has felt the way you feel, and that you can start now to make a repair and make things better. It is never too late to repair your relationship with your child. 

Does this sound like a lot? It is. But it isn't sustainable to deplete yourself, and it ends up costing your kids, not just you. I know that you're a parent, so that you don't have time to take care of yourself. But this is not selfish; this is essential for you to be a good parent. You can only give your child what you have inside. You have to put yourself back on your own list!

Notice that a lot of self-support is about managing your own mind? That's because ultimately the most important part of giving ourselves support is the way we treat ourselves, inside our own heads. You can either be on your own side, or you can make yourself miserable. Really! 

You can't control what happens to you but you always deserve your own support, and that support is what will help you respond better to whatever happens, including your own mess-ups. That's why self-compassion might be the most important practice you can cultivate!

    Ultimately, every one of us is responsible for our own peace of mind and how we spend the life we've been given. On your deathbed, there won't be anyone else to blame if you’ve been unhappy. The secret work of adulthood is that we are all still growing up, and parenting forces us to learn to parent ourselves as well as our child. That work begins with learning to love and nurture ourselves.

    So print this out, take a look at the bullet points above, and start checking them off as you solidify the support you're giving yourself. And any time you start to feel stressed and depleted, come back to this series to remind yourself how to recharge. I'll be right here cheering you on!


    This is post #10 in our series on self care: The Secret of the Full Cup.

    The full series:

    #1 - The Secret of the Full Cup: Self Care

    #2- Ten Stress Busting Strategies for Parents

    #3 - Five Ways To Nurture Yourself while Nurturing Your Child

    #4 - Let's Get Physical: 20 Exercise Ideas for Parents and Kids

    #5 - As Simple As Breathing

    #6 - If You Don't Feed Your Hungry Heart, How Can You Feed Your Kids?

    #7 - Five Steps to Get Re-Energized

    #8 - Want to Feel More Alive? Take the Stone Out of Your Shoe

    #9- How to Transform What's Draining You

    #10- Give Yourself the Support You Need