SELF CARE FOR PARENTS
What is Most Important in Life?
Making Family Life Easy 6
Of the 24 hours you get every day, how do you best use your time to help you get what you want out of life.
And is the way you use time helping your family get what they want?
Do you have control over the direction of your life?
Or are you allowing your life to be largely dictated to by others: Your boss, your bank, your kids, your partner...
Is it possible without thinking about your responsibilities and planning for them, you may end up spending your time on things you don't really want to, or don't matter, rather than:
Maintaining family physical and mental health
Creating a reliable income stream and passive income for retirement
Achievement of both family and individual goals
Supporting child success
Maintaining supportive and positive relationships
Providing time for self expression, creativity, relaxation and fun
What Is Most Important Over Time?
Do you sometimes feel like a passenger in your own life, rather than the driver? And is there a nagging feeling that tells you it's not all working out exactly as you'd hoped?
For example: You know you should get the car serviced regularly but it's difficult. Then when the car breaks down, you can't get yourself to work or the kids to school.
Or you don't spend time reading with your kids while they're young. Then you realize, by the age of eight, they're struggling at school and they need a tutor.
But regardless of how wisely you spend your time, there are always trade offs.
You make healthy meals but have little time available for self care. Your career is going well but you're not spending enough time with your children. You'd like to have a great relationship with your parents but don't have time to see them. You'd like to have a great relationship with your partner but you're like ships in the night.
So is what you're currently spending most of your time and money on what is most important to you?
And will it help you to create the life you want to have?
What Will Make the Biggest Difference to the Quality of Your Life?
Maybe there's not enough in life for you...
Or if for you, maybe not your partner, or maybe not for your children.
Do you live a relatively calm existence or are you constantly running on adrenaline?
Do you feel that your life is under control, sometimes out of balance, frequently stressful or does chaos reign?
I worked with families for over 30 years and I found a lot of parents feel pressured.
They feel they're under social pressure to be happily married, look like models, be ageless, have an interesting career, have well-behaved and clever children, have a lovely home, have meaningful friendships, have a wide circle of friends, go on interesting holidays, renovate the house, be fit and healthy, be interesting to talk to, and fun to be around, and maintain great relationships with all family members, friends and neighbours.
And realistically, to have all that going on, is it even possible?
Some live for weekends. Some drink too much to help take the edge off. Some end up having health issues because subconsciously they're under enormous stress.
So what are the strategies you use to keep it all together?
If you're like many, you're always juggling. And some days there are too many balls in the air.
I'd like to make you aware that by asking these simple questions I'm trying to help you allocate your time better so you have more 'real happiness' in your life.
During my career I learned even the families that seemed to have it all together, if you scratched the surface, there were often things that weren't okay underneath.
It's surprising how many of us are all going through similar issues.
Maybe the competing areas of your life look something like this.
To begin, you could ask yourself how many of these areas of your life you are currently happy with?
And then ask yourself, what will matter a year from now, ten years from now, thirty years from now?
Saving a Home Deposit
Qualifying for a Housing Loan
Saving for a Family Holiday
Savings for Renovations
Buying a New Car
Buying a House
Moving to a Better Area
Building up A Savings Buffer
Saving for an Investment Property
Beginning an Investment Plan
Spending More Times With the Kids
Saving for Children's Education
Saving for Retirement
Small Guilt-Free Purchase Allocation
Large Goal Allocation
Education and Training
Maintaining Health & Fitness
Having Time to Relax & Have Fun
Having Time to Invest Building Your Own Creative Interests
Helping Children with Education
Supporting Children's Interests
Planning for Couple's Time
Spending Times with Friends
Time for Renovating
Time for Gardening
Spending Time Playing With the Kids
Spending Time with Extended Family
What do you want to excel at? What is less important and what doesn't really matter in the long term?
Sadly, a lot of people believe they're not enough unless they're all this and then some: the best mum or dad, the sexy partner, the capable-yet-always-caring co-worker, the thoughtful-friend, the perfect-housekeeper, the kind-and-helpful-daughter, the expert-renovator, the super-fit mum... and the list goes on and on and on.
But is it realistic to be able to achieve all this?
And how, while you're juggling societal expectations, do you ensure that what's most important 'to you' remains on the top of your priority list?
So maybe it's time to ask yourself: What areas of your life are you willing to compromise on, so you can excel in others?
How Do You Take Your Life Back?
For me, I wanted to increase my self care, (particularly my health.) So I went to bed by eight thirty every night (except on weekends) and made sure I got eight hours sleep whenever possible rather than watching T.V.
I got up really early, before my children in the morning and planned a healthy dinner, organized the lunches for the day and packed the children's bags. Then I went for an early morning 5 km walk along the beach with a close girlfriend. As we got fitter we increased our speed and distance. This met not only my health needs, but also my needs for friendship and spiritual connection to an entity bigger than us.
So regardless of what happened on any given day, parent self care came first... There was something in it for me every work day. And I felt like I was being true to myself.
Now to do this, I obviously needed my husband to be home to cover me in case the kids woke up. He did weekday mornings from 6 until 6:45 and I covered his weekend mornings so he was free to go surfing.
But if your partner isn't available to cover you, is there someone else in your life that might help out?
Can you afford a nanny/baby sitter to come in early to assist with getting the children ready for school? Is there babysitting at your gym for example that allows you to attend a class? Can you exercise with a buddy who is in a similar situation to yourself?
Can you negotiate with a friend, or family member, who will trade time with you, so that you can cover each other's exercise. Lots of young parents take children in a pram on their daily morning walk/run.
But you may not be a morning person and family commitments may preclude you from doing as I did. I get it.
At certain times of our lives it was really difficult for me to get time for myself too. But why I'm sharing this with you is...
When I prioritised myself, this was when I was happiest and most effective.
This page makes up Part 6 of the Making Family Life Easier mini-course. To learn more go to:
By simply changing your priorities it can help give you, your quality of life back.
I highly recommend checking out Time savers for Healthy Meals. And for more Parent Self-Care ideas go to any of the picture links:
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