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  • Joanna Shtrosberg

When one of my friends has a new baby, I often send them one of my favourite parenting books – ‘Time to Parent’ by Julie Morgenstern (2018). The book talks you through how to be the best parent you can be by focusing on the four key roles of parenting and the four key requirements to looking after yourself.

As a parent, you will be able to create the space for quality time with your kids and yourself, and to see the edges of the deeply complex and complicated job you have taken on.

Julie Morgenstern (2018)

Looking after yourself

Before anything else, it is vital to look after yourself if you want to be the best parent for your child. Some of us fail to do this, me included, but in sacrificing ourselves for our children we do not guarantee the best outcome for them. Instead, it is important to look after yourself for the sake of your child, both in terms of your physical and your mental health. If you are in a good place yourself, then you will be a better parent to your child. Being kind to yourself is so important if you want to be a kind parent too.

We cannot neglect ourselves and expect things to keep running smoothly for our kids.

Julie Morgenstern (2018)

Julie Morgenstern focuses on four categories which she calls “SELF” – Sleep, Exercise, Love and Fun. Looking after yourself in these ways will enable you to be the parent you want to be.


Getting enough sleep is the foundation of everything. It is crucial that you get enough sleep to prevent the build up of exhaustion and stress. See my blogs on why should you care about sleep and how to get a good night’s sleep. You need to focus on getting the sleep you need to function effectively during the day. Our children’s sleep can of course hamper our own, so if you need help with your baby’s sleep see my sleep packages here.


Regular exercise is another key to our wellbeing. Exercise controls your weight, improves immunity and mood as well as boosting energy and promoting the quality of your sleep. But we all know that fitting an exercise regime into our busy lives is not always possible. So, Julie suggests you redefine your definition of exercise – accepting that even small bouts of exercise can make a huge difference and can fit into your life in many different ways. Even a brisk stroll pushing your child in their buggy can be a good form of exercise. Weight bearing exercises are also very helpful – so sometimes opt for carrying your baby in a baby carrier rather than the buggy.


Love refers to adult to adult connections and relationships – your friends, family and your partner. With the arrival of a baby, parents often forget the need to develop and nourish close relationships with other adults. It is especially important to fit in time to nurture your relationship with your spouse or partner. You may need to be creative with your time to fit this in but Julie reminds us that fitting in real life relationships is so much more rewarding than simply using social media. This was true particularly during Covid times. Our lack of physical contact with other adults was enforced for so long that parents felt a lack of closeness to friends and family. So, connect with friends and other mums or dads as much as you can. Perhaps join a local mum and baby group? Creating a little village for yourself will make a huge difference to your mental health and wellbeing.


Do you remember the last time you had fun doing something you loved? Julie describes fun as “fuel for your soul”. And it really is. When you are doing something you love, time flies and you feel restored. So invest in yourself and inject some much needed fun into your life – take up something totally new or go back to one of your past hobbies. Learn a language or a new instrument. Try baking or sewing? Learn a new sport. There are ways to inject this all-important time into each day even if it’s only in short bursts.

Doing your PART

Julie also describes the four parts of parenting time that you need to focus on – Provide, Arrange, Relate and Teach. Together these will give you the skills you need to raise a child.


To ‘provide’ for your child can be as basic as giving children their fundamental resources for survival – food, shelter, clothing, education etc. Essentially, it’s about creating a safe and secure environment for your child. Most parents are hardwired to provide for their children – in fact it often takes up one of the biggest chunks of parenting time.


‘Arrange’ means planning and organising to ensure the smooth running of the home and family. Putting the required time into this area of your life will mean that you will never be the parent to forget your child’s dress-up day at school nor forget to hand in the school trip form on time. These things are barely noticeable to your child but they are essential because they make your child feel supported, prepared and proud.


‘Relate’ refers to the time you spend in your child’s world doing things that are of interest to them (rather than to you). This is the best way to demonstrate to your child that they really matter to you. It is all about going down to their level and engaging with them, without external distractions. And it doesn’t need to be a long time – even 15-20 minutes of undivided attention will satisfy a child. However, parents often find this hard to deliver. There are so many distractions in parents’ lives; with social media, work commitments, chores and our over-use of smart phones, that this ‘relate’ aspect often gets left at the bottom of the priority list.

Your job in Relate is probably the most irreplaceable job you have as a parent: you are, more than anyone else on earth, who your children look to for affirmation and recognition of their self worth.

Julie Morgenstern (2018)


The final aspect is ‘teach’. This is an umbrella term which can refer to anything from reading to your child to taking your child out for an activity. In teaching our children every day, our aim is to instil important values, skills, knowledge and discipline. This will set your child on the path to independence. Parents act as role models. Through their daily lives, they are guiding, showing and teaching their children to ensure that they pick up the skills they need in life.

How do I find the TIME?

It seems like a big ask fitting in these eight key roles once you become a parent. But I found that simply being aware of them helped me to plan my days better. This has been incredibly helpful to me and I feel better prepared to be the best parent I can for my children. I thoroughly recommend that you read Julie Morgenstern’s book ‘Time to Parent’ (if you have time!). Here, I have only given you a basic outline but she goes into greater detail and provides suggestions and tips on how to manage your time as effectively as possible.

If you are looking for help with your child’s sleep, Sleep Superstars is here for you. We have created sleep welfare packages tailored to your child and your parental preferences. Sleep is, of course, the foundation to everything and will help you tackle the challenges of parenthood so that you can be the parent you’ve always wanted to be.

Joanna Shtrosberg
Joanna is a certified level 6 holistic sleep consultant and founder of Sleep Superstars. Her vision is to help parents navigate the challenges of parenthood by helping them and their children get the sleep they need. Before setting up Sleep Superstars, Joanna graduated from Cambridge University and the College of Law after which she practised in the legal profession for several years. She is also a mother to two young boys so fully understands the difficulties in balancing a career with family life.