December 2015
EWSE Webinar Series
Please join us Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 12pm EST for a webinar and facilitated discussion on the book Power Through Partnership: How Women Lead Better TogetherBring your questions and join us for a discussion with the book's authors.

Did you miss one of our previous webinars? All of our archived webinars can be found on our website here.
For Parents, Happiness is a High Bar
For parents, happiness is a very high bar
For parents, happiness is a very high bar
The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming -- it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern parents -- to raise happy children -- is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.
Parents, how full is your emotional cup? Click here to view an infographic that helps you to recenter yourself.

HEARTS for Families is a non-profit organization that provides tools, training and education to support parents, families and communities at large. Parent education is at the heart of their programs in an effort to enhance quality of life, build supportive communities and ensure children grow in supportive environments.

The National Parenting Education Network, with the vision that all parents and families will have the resources, information, and support needed to provide a nurturing relationship for their children, is committed to advancing the field of parenting education. Visit their website for resources, links, books, publications, and opportunities for professional development.

Parenting Now! is a non-profit organization that provides the local and global community of parents and
educators the tools and resources to create and sustain healthy, safe environments for children. They fulfill their mission through direct service to families and sales of curricula and material to parenting educators.
In "Avoiding the Parent Trap," a feature in Counseling Today, the author discusses challenges many counselors face when dealing with parents as clients. Based on the book,  How to Listen So Parents Will Talk and Talk So Parents Will Listen, there are a number of suggestions for anyone in the counseling profession.
New Blog Post!

Radical self-care means engulfing yourself in love and appreciation -- it means moving self-care near the top of your priority list. Read a blog by Dr. Laura Markham that offers five tips for committing to radical self-care that will allow you to be the best parent you can be.

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As a parent, what challenges have you faced in your attempt to care for yourself? What steps would you recommend parents take to ensure their health?

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 Parenting & Health 
As the year prepares to come to a close, we want to focus our attention on a set of individuals that don't often receive the credit they're due: parents. Throughout the year, and particularly in this season of perpetual giving, many parents feel overwhelmed with the stresses of family life because, well, being a parent is not easy. It can feel as though you're constantly focused on your children: feeding, clothing, teaching, disciplining. But are you taking time to focus on yourself, too?

What is Self-Care?
If you're like most moms and dads, you need to be told that it's okay to take time for yourself. Practicing self-care is actually a very important step to being a great parent, and there are things you can do today to get started. Think about what you do to care for your child every day. You feed her, bathe her, clothe her, play with her. If you have an older child, you might enroll him in sports, help him with homework and read to him. These basic steps of care are the same when it comes to taking care of yourself.

Parents often dismiss even the most basic tasks for themselves. Some abandon their shower because they're caring for a newborn, or skip meals because they're too busy running their children to school, sports and dance lessons. Self-care includes the simplest, physical things like making sure you get enough sleep and eating healthy meals. But it also includes more emotional, social, psychological, and even spiritual time for yourself. This can consist of getting a massage, spending time with friends and family, or even saying no to extra responsibilities. Or you can take time to enjoy a hobby or try something new. These can feel indulgent if you already feel like you're struggling to get everything done on your to-do list. But ask yourself, are you doing the most basic things to care for your body? If not, consider what happens when parents neglect themselves.

Parental Self-Neglect
Even though indulging in a moment of peace and quiet can make some parents feel guilty, failing to do so can put added stress on your mind and body. This stress can have physical effects on your body, such as a weaker immune system or high blood pressure; it can also have an effect on your mental health, increasing your risk of depression.

Not only can stress have a long-term impact on your health, but as parents, it has two major impacts on your children. First, under stress, you tend to model unhealthy behaviors, teaching your kids that it's okay to neglect self-care. This can teach them that things like healthy eating habits - or whatever it might be that you're neglecting - are not important. Leading by example is one of the best ways to teach your children, so consider how you want your children to take care of themselves as adults. The second problem parents face if they don't practice self-care is an added difficulty to the actual act of parenting. When you're over-stressed and not taking care of yourself, you can be irritable, exhausted or sad. Positive, proactive parenting takes patience, energy and optimism - traits very hard to come by if you're not taking care of your physical and mental health.

Where Can You Start?
It's not easy to change the way you prioritize yourself. But remember that practicing self-care is not about neglecting your children's needs. And it's also not as simple as going to see a movie. Instead, it's about showing yourself the respect and care you deserve on a consistent basis.

A good way to start is to choose one area of self-care and focus on making a change. If you love novels, make reading a priority for 15-30 minutes every evening. More importantly, practicing self-care sometimes means asking other adults for help. Don't be afraid to ask a friend to watch the kids one night a week while you take a yoga class, or ask a neighbor to take a walk with you in the evenings. Getting another adult to support you in self-care can be a big help in making it a permanent part of your life.

The truth is, it's a constant battle as parents to care for your children and yourselves. But just as there are certain things parents provide when caring for their children, there should also be things you never question providing for yourself as well. As you prepare to enter a new year, plan to also put yourself first for a change.
Parenting Resources  

Shawn Fink, mother to twins, created The Abundant Mama Project to inspire overwhelmed, busy mothers to slow down and let go of the worries and concerns that are holding them back from experiencing joyful motherhood. Visit her site for strategies for self-care.

Parents as Teachers (PAT) is a voluntary family education and support program for parents of young children. The program is based on the beliefs that parents are their children's first and most influential teachers and provides the information, support and encouragement parents need to help their children develop optimally during the crucial early years of life.

The Parenting Center at Children's Hospital in Louisiana is a multi-faceted community resource that provides support and education to parents. The goals of the center are to promote confidence and competence in parents, to encourage optimal child development, and to enhance the well-being of the family as a whole.
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