Recently, I spoke with several friends who are also mothers. It seemed like each one of them was complaining about the same thing: They were running around like headless chickens who were tired and worn out and they had no time for themselves.
As working parents we are often pulled in many directions and bombarded with multiple demands at the same time: Your boss wants the report in ten minutes, a child wants a treat now, the laundry basket is overflowing, and we badly need a haircut. The list goes on and on.
Whether you are a working parent with one, two, three or more children, or even the parent of a special needs child, the demands on you and your time seem endless.
Many of us find it difficult to prioritize our own needs above those of others. And sometimes it feels like we are losing ourselves in the process.
While it is important to take care of others, it is essential to take good care of ourselves first. Like the airlines remind us: "Put the oxygen mask onto your own face before helping small children and others". If we can't breathe or function, it's impossible for us to help others.
Taking good care of ourselves has to be a priority! Whether this means going for a run, doing yoga, meeting with friends, or just taking a few minutes to sit down and relax.
Make these rituals ruthless priorities! They help us feel better and stay sane. Plus, your children will benefit by learning and appreciating that taking good care of oneself benefits everyone. Remember: It is not selfish, it is self care.
Some parenting successes are the result of careful planning. Others are lucky by-products of struggling to maintain some sanity.
"Quiet Time" was something we established when our kids stopped going to bed early. We were just attempting to get a little time to ourselves on the weekday evenings. That's reasonable, right?
Once it became clear that the kids needed less sleep, but we still needed some time to ourselves, the term was coined and the rules were defined (and adjusted as they got older):
It worked pretty well and produced some unintended benefits; they became pretty good at entertaining themselves. And we maintained our sanity. Most nights.
Note: Establishing new routines is never as simple as it sounds. Or at least they were rarely easy for us. Like most new things, it took about three nights of effort and reinforcement and reminders before the kids understood that we meant business.
Pointer to research results published by ScienceDaily
When our kids were in school, we knew a couple who were highly respected parents. Imagine my thrill when I learned that they limited their very smart and very talented son to two (or was it three?) extracurricular activities at a time. While other parents were bragging about the hours they spent shuttling their kids from activity to activity, these parents confidently let people know that they thought some reasonable limits were best for their son.
Their confidence set the example I needed to let go of any concern I had that my own kids might be falling behind because they weren't overbooked and in constant motion. It was really helpful and comforting information during a time that I needed more help and comfort!
If you would appreciate knowing that your kids don't need to be booked 24/7, look no further than this article published by ScienceDaily: Are your children overdoing it? Too many extracurricular activities can do more harm than good. It summarizes results from a small study in England and points out that "a busy organized activity schedule can ... potentially harm children's development and wellbeing." It may provide the info working parents need to better manage their time and protect their sanity.
Originally Published: May16, 2018 | Last Updated: Jun 11, 2018
Submitted by Bruce Lundeby
Our daughter was a cheerleader in high school. We went to nearly all of the local games, but none of the away games. We were the parents sitting quietly on the very top row of the bleachers. It’s more comfortable to have the wall as a backrest.
During her junior year, our daughter told us it was embarrassing that we came to every game. Out of respect to her, we stopped going to most of the home games. One of her teammates asked her why we had stopped coming to the games. When our daughter explained, her teammate asked why in the world would she wanted her parents to stay away. Our daughter learned that this girl’s father had never ever seen her cheer.