When Self-Care Doesn't Happen

September 19, 2013 Heiddi Zalamar, LMHC, MA

Hiya fellow parents. I share a lot about self-care here. What to do and why it is so important to practice good self-care. But, I don't always follow my own advice. And when I don't, everything seems to backfire for me. It happened last week with Bob's school attendance.

Sleep Issues All Around

Read about the effects of poor sleep on a single mother and how it affects her child.
My biggest self-care problem has been getting enough rest. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than one-quarter of the U.S. population reports occasionally not getting enough sleep, while nearly 10% experience chronic insomnia. I don't get the 7 -9 hours of sleep at night recommended by the CDC. Haven't in a long while, but in the last few months, I've been getting around 4 - 5 hours of sleep. To be honest, I've had sleep issues since I was a kid but it has gotten progressively worse in the last year.

Poor Self-Care Is No Good

So what happens when my self-care goes out the window? I forget things. Lack of or little sleep has caused me to forget small things such as phone numbers or items I need for work. Or big things like the first day of school. Yes, you read that correctly. My poor self-care (ie getting to bed and getting up on time) had me forgetting when the first day of school was for Bob. In fact, I couldn't even find last year's calendar with the dates.

Little Sleep; Poor Memory

And for the life of me, I couldn't remember. His school has a funny schedule. Bob goes to private school, my own alma mater. For Bob, (and when I attended), school begins the Wednesday before the public school kids start. This year, public school kids began on September 9th. That means that Bob would have started on September 4th. I, lacking in self-care and exhausted, forgot all about this and sent him to school on September 11th. An entire week late. Even better, there was no call from the school about it. And I felt terrible for Bob. As a parent, my goal has been to get things done on time. I pride myself on having a great memory and not needing to write things down.

My Sleep Issues

However, the last several months have left me more tired than ever. Self-care has gone out the window for me with work, Bob's medication issues and home. And everyday, it takes longer and longer for me to fall asleep. At the time Bob was supposed to begin school, I was getting to bed around midnight or 1am and sleeping in three hour shifts. And that left me with less quality rest. I realized it had been taking me hours to relax enough to go to bed. This happened after Bob went to bed.

Helping Myself

Self-care needs to be number one. But, I know that it can be challenging and sometimes unrealistic. For me, it has been so much harder being a single parent. There isn't a person who will come in to take over. I'm exhausted, more worried and generally one cranky mom. So that's why I'm getting support around my sleep issues. Because I cannot take not sleeping well anymore.

Parents, what is your self-care issue? What do you struggle to do for yourself? Please share.

APA Reference
Zalamar, H. (2013, September 19). When Self-Care Doesn't Happen, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 24 from

Author: Heiddi Zalamar, LMHC, MA

The Imperfect Parent And the Special Needs Child | iLoveMyBrain
October, 3 2013 at 12:20 pm

[...] been getting less sleep during the last couple of weeks and this week I was exhausted. Very poor self-care going [...]

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