This column has, in recent weeks, focussed on helping parents find ways to manage the educational and social wellbeing of their children in a COVID lockdown.
It has looked at ways to reduce the stress of the learning from home expectations and helping children feel less isolated from their friends at a time when socialisation has been restricted.
There is good news regarding the socialisation of children with a new rule allowing for a friendship bubble for young people aged under 18.
However, the wellbeing of parents is equally important. This, of course, applies regardless of whether or not COVID restrictions are in place.
Parenting is a lifetime commitment. In fact it is a commitment through the good and bad times, day and night. Once you flick that switch to become a parent you have taken on a role for life.
That means that even when a parent is not feeling 100 per cent they continue to do what is needed for the safety and wellbeing of their children.
Parents don't stop making meals, transporting children to and from activities or assisting children with their homework, for example, when they are feeling unwell or tired. The role of parent must go on.
Needless to say it is important for parents to consider their self-care. In fact this is more important than ever in the current pandemic restrictions.
The steps you take for self care will no doubt vary depending on the age of your children. Finding 'me time' with a newborn can be more challenging than when a child is a little older and more independent.
However, most parents would agree that older children also require a lot of time and commitment. At some point you will be roped in to coaching a sporting team, volunteering on canteen, or transporting a teenager to and from a party - just to name a few expectations certain to keep parents busy.
With this in mind making the most of any parenting down time is invaluable. You may even need to look at ways to relax and unwind even while meeting the demands of your children.
For example, I found that when my children were new, or near newborns, feeding time was an invaluable time to relax. I would put on my favourite television show, or grab a book or magazine, put my feet up, and make the most of the fact that I could get a little down time while still caring for my baby.
Putting my young one in a pram and going out for a walk was another great option. I know it doesn't sound much like relaxation, but fresh air and light exercise can do wonders for your wellbeing. If you are lucky bub will sleep while you are on that walk which will enable you to truly immerse yourself in the outdoor experience.
As my children grew up I found that going for a walk while they were at sports training or at a dance lesson was equally beneficial.
Under the current COVID restrictions going for a walk could be some of the best 'me time' you get in any day. Even if that means you have your children in tow. Let's face it if they are occupied riding their bike, chasing butterflies, watching the ducks on a pond or skipping along the path, you need only enjoy the experience.
Finding 'me time' with children at different ages, with very different interests, can at times be a challenge.
However, my husband and I managed to develop a weekly family activity that we all enjoyed. We called it Friday night fun night. As the name suggests it was held each Friday night, when everyone was at home. Clearly the specifics are flexible.
This much-anticipated family event involved a sleep-out in the lounge room, the choice of a fun meal like pizza or hot dogs, and the chance to watch a family movie, or two. Believe it or not, once the children were settled in the evening became very relaxing for the parents. Our children are now adults, but we still have fond memories of this very special family time.
In fact, ensuring that the young ones are safely and comfortably occupied in any activitiy can pave the way for a more relaxed environment for parents.
Some great options to achieve the goal of 'me time' could include setting up some crafts or going on a picnic. The are both things that can be done within the boundaries of current COVID restrictions, but could be equally beneficial in normal times.
And for those thinking they need to use any spare time to do the house work, mow the lawn or make dinner please try to be a little kind to yourself. That stuff will always be there, but is harder to face when you are stressed and tired.
Mumma Jak has three children and is familiar with the challenges of parenthood. She is well aware that every child is different, every day can be different and a parent's approach needs to be different according to the situation at hand. She is happy to say she fumbled through, motivated from the perfect starting point - unconditional love. The good news is that all three of her children have become normal functioning adults.