Don’t forget to take care of yourself


Hi. How are you? Come sit down, make yourself comfortable, have a cup of tea and let me tell you a story of how I ended up with just one sun burnt leg.

So when we got to our little bit of beach heaven that was Kraalbaai in the West Coast National Park, The Munchkin lost his tiny little mind with glee at the mere sight of so much water for him to frolic in. You see, he LOVES water. He would stay in the bath till the water turned cold and when we went swimming in a big pool for the first time he was so giddy with laughter he didn't care even a little bit that he was shivering with cold. He just splashed the water repeatedly yelling "There, there!" while pointing to the deep side. Oh, my child!!

But I digress, the point is he struggled like a wet fish and screamed like a damn Nazgul at the fact that I was trying to get his swimming nappy, bather and sunscreen on. Once he was ready to go I just about covered my arms, face and right leg before he'd had enough waiting and scampered off to the water with me racing behind him.

And while I was so focused on keeping him sunscreened, hydrated and fed (even though he refused actual food and was only snacking in between all the frolicking), I forgot about myself (and my non-sunscreened left leg).

It's something that happens so often as a parent. From the moment they hand you that baby in the delivery room, he becomes priority number 1. Which is the absolutely correct thing of course but that doesn't mean you should neglect your own basic needs as a human being.

You need to eat, you need to keep hydrated, you need to get a few hours sleep here and there (grab that offer with both hands when it comes along), you need some time to yourself to recharge and most of all you need to put sunblock on when you're in the sun all day because seriously you guys, skin cancer is for real. And it's also very painful.

We put ourselves second because that's what it means to be a parent, you can't be selfish any more (even though I believe you should be every now and again if it's not to the detriment of your childbecause guess what, you're still a person!) But even though you're priority number 2, sometimes even 3 or 4 it doesn't mean you should fall of the list completely.

But I think as a parent you have a responsibility to your children to look after yourself. Because they deserve a parent that is physically, mentally and emotionally there.

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

Do you find that you neglect yourself while looking after your children? Do you feel guilty when spending time away from your kids when you don't have to? Tell us by emailing to and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.  

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