Chances are that if you are reading this post then you are a parent – a mum, a dad or a carer. You might even be thinking that I’m mad for even suggesting that as a full time parent that massage is even possible.
I’m a husband and a father of two beautiful children. I may not have carried my children through a pregnancy however postpartum I’m certainly an active dad, and I have made a choice to reduce my working hours, at the sacrifice of salary, to enjoy full days with my children outside of weekends. Getting anything done for myself on those days is a challenge.
Parents give of themselves every day – a working parent gives through their job and then gives at home. A full time parent gives to children and/or a partner throughout the day from eyes open to eyes shut … and often throughout the night too. As a mum or a dad – you’re both under physical and emotional strain – breast feeding takes its toll on neck and shoulders, caring/comforting a baby/toddler plays havoc on your back, and sleeplessness in itself is torture. If you are breast feeding, then being relaxed is important for milk supply too.
Taking time out to enjoy a haircut, a massage or even a shower (by yourself) is really important to replenish yourself, and to help stop you from going nuts. If you give then you need to receive. That’s just how humans work.
I know what it is like trying to organise care during the day. I also know the guilt of asking for help, especially when I want to do something for myself. You might have a fly in fly out partner, you may have relocated from interstate or overseas and have no family / friends nearby to call on. Getting a massage probably sounds beyond your reach especially if your child(ren) is really young or has additional needs. There are ways to do it though.
While your baby is very young there is a good chance that it will spend bursts of time asleep – this might be 30 minutes, an hour or even three hours during the day. If your baby can sleep in a capsule or safely secured in a pram, then you can plan a massage while it naps. Arrive early, feed, change, sleep – massage.
Your therapist can work with you to make sure that baby is in a safe place, within your site and reach and you can rest comfortably knowing that baby is safe. Once baby starts to crawl – it’s not good practice to bring her into the treatment room while she’s awake – particularly with a motorised massage table.
Your baby may only sleep for short bursts or not at all. Ask your therapist if he has a massage chair. Your child can still see you and you can still see him, and he can play around you. From the chair you can still see what is going on and can get up quickly if you need to. There’s no need to undress so massage is more convenient. You don’t want to spend any more than 30 minutes in a massage chair – however you can still get an effective massage treatment and many of the relaxing benefits of massage.
Do you have a partner or a friend who wants a massage too? Go together. Book shorter appointments – say a 30 minute treatment so waiting times are not too long. Watch each other’s children while you enjoy massage … alone.
Once your child is older she might be more amenable to spending time unsupervised. You might be happy to let her sit near the table with a favourite book, activity book or a kids show on a device. You’ll know how long she can go without your intervention. She’ll learn that mum is okay when she’s having massage. If you book a longer session you might even like to share it with your child. Let her have the last 5 or 10 minutes as a special treat.
The thought of going out for massage just might be too much. Some massage therapists are mobile and will come to you. You can stay in your pyjamas, have a shower after, if its night time you could head straight into bed. Keep in mind that mobile massage is usually more expensive than going to a clinic.
Getting regular professional massage takes planning and effort. Wouldn’t it be nice at the end of the day to look forward to massage from the person you love in your own home. Booking in to a partner massage class might cost the equivalent of 2 or 3 professional massages. In return you’ll both learn the skills massage each other’s feet and shoulders and even perform a relaxing oil massage. The skills you learn in a half day class can give you the confidence to plan reward, relaxation and romance into your busy family life.
Let's face it. Raising children costs money. Like many families, you've probably dropped all or part of a salary to raise children. If massage seems out of your reach because of cost, why not support the next generation of massage therapists. Look up your local massage college like Endeavor, Evolve, AIMS, TAFE or AIF - they all have student clinics staffed by competent students seeking experience. A one hour massage might cost as little as $30.