#WellnessWednesday Tip: Rewarding yourself (aka star charts for moms)

My 4 year-old son is in a refusing-to-go-to-bed phase. Once we close his door for the night, he calls out for us, repeatedly and hysterically, to help him with everything from the vaguely believable (“I’m thirsty! Can I have some water?”) to the utterly ridiculous (“My pillow isn’t cold enough!”). Fed up, my husband and I decided to put my behavior therapy skills to use and create a star chart for him. In my son’s case, he gets a star every time he behaves at bedtime, and if he gets enough stars at the end of the week, he gets some small reward (temporary tattoos are the current prize-of-choice).

In thinking about my son’s star chart, it occurred to me that there should be star charts for moms. I mean, you don’t have to create an actual chart, but why can’t you reward yourself for doing all the hard work of parenting for a certain number of consecutive days?

So much of what we do as parents of young kids is tedious, time-consuming, and, let’s face it, mind-numbing. We change tons of diapers and do tons of laundry and watch tons of Paw Patrol. We sacrifice our sleep and hobbies and social lives in the service of our little ones.

Yes, I know that you sign on for all of this when you decide to become a parent. And yes, I know that children can be considered a reward unto themselves. But parenting is hard, and sometimes kids can be tough to handle. If you’re working hard at parenting every single day, why not take some time out at the end of the week to reward yourself for that hard work? Pick a reward that’s meaningful to you—be it a new book, a night out with a friend, or a much-needed massage. Or a temporary (or permanent) tattoo!

Have some experience with star charts for moms? Share your story in the “comments” below!

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I’m Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco, Ph.D., aka DrCBTMom. DrCBTMom.com combines the expert advice of a self-help book with the warmth and readability of a mommy blog.
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