Do you spend too much time worrying about the kids, the family, the home. Parenting guilt can rear its head at crazy times of the day and the important thing to remember is there are strategies to overcome it. Here’s how…
We wake up in the middle of the night with a fright, thinking we’ve forgotten to collect the children, or haven’t put their soccer boots in their bag. What are we thinking? We know it’s a dream-like state and slowly sink back into our alpha zone of bliss. Next we’re interrupted with the thought of ‘Thank goodness I remembered! What would it be like for Johnny to be without boots?’ and ‘Would we be awarded the worst parent badge?’.
We tell ourselves, ‘Goooo to sleep’. Try as we may, we are still interrupted by thoughts. Next it’s another thing: The birthday party – we can only invite a few class friends as bills are due. Stuff keeps playing in our heads, which is crazy because the party is three months away!
So, what are we doing to ourselves? Guilt screams out loud and clear and hisses through our eardrums as if we have tinnitus. Want to scream? Know the feeling? All we want to do is snoooooooze before the day jumps into repeat mode any minute. Parent guilt is real and unhealthy – it will even keep us awake at night!
The morning arrives quick, as always. Wham! It feels like we had just fallen asleep. Feet hit the ground running and the crazy chaotic onslaught commences. Everyone gets ready to be at school and work. Lunches are made, bags packed and stress levels increase when children struggle out of bed. Off we go. Sitting on the speed limit we drop off at respective schools doing our best to look calm and collected. Finally back in the car, we sigh a massive breath! Pheeew.
We sit, doing our best to bring ourselves back to centre then stare out the window. It feels like we’ve done a day’s work. Closing our eyes we practice breathing techniques (we know they work). After only a few moments, we are off again; aware of the constant worry of how a test will go for one child and a lesson for another.
We are being the best parents we can be and doing an exceptional job. We care, support, love, cherish, teach, explain, nurture and have loads of laughs with our children. In doing so, we often forget about ourselves. We make sure everyone’s needs are met before we consider our needs. Add these: house cleaned, washing done, windows clean, shopping complete, meals prepared, clothes ironed for work and school next week. This is a generalisation, however, many women will operate from this space. Adding the ironing might sound like overkill, however not looking after ourselves because we play the ‘martyr’ role isn’t helping us nurture our soul.
Sometimes we look at other parents: they appear to have it all together. A little voice inside our head wonders, ‘How can they have it altogether and I’m a ball of wound-up stress?’. ‘Why me?’. ‘Really, is this what I signed up for?’. These thoughts whirl around leaving us feeling unfulfilled. The more we take on, the more we think and feel guilty – our load is not lighter, actually, heavier. Our thoughts create feelings and together produce behaviour. If we have negative thoughts, as opposed to uplifting, we will operate from a negative space. Over time, when we hit repeat, allowing ourselves to be consumed by the needs of others, our needs get pushed even more to the side. We miss out and are back on the wheel getting faster and faster, making it difficult to get off.
HOW DO WE GET OFF THE WHEEL?
So what’s the answer? When we take small steps, we can achieve what we want. Small steps include:
- Letting go of all feelings associated with comparison. They are unhelpful
- Ask ourselves in the moment: What is guilt or worry doing for me right now (and listen carefully to the answer)
- Encourage children to be more responsible for themselves and belongings
- Nurturing must be programmed into the family schedule
- Allow them to make mistakes, this supports self-responsibility
- Self-love – learn to nurture yourself.
- Take time out – reflect. Take a ReTREAT. It has a profound effect on our empowerment and control
- Date with self – do what we enjoy. Read, walk, paint, art, knit, exercise, go away for a few days alone
- Date with partner – movies, dinner, a walk on the beach (must be consciously done because our relationship yearns it.)
- Time with children – one on one, together, quality time, discuss concerns, wins, dreams and where to next! Asking questions and being with them helps this process.
We are a priority in our families’ lives. If we are unavailable or ill, who will look after them?
WIN // We are so busy being busy. Sadly, we put ourselves at the bottom of the pile and believe everyone else in the family or in our circle are more important than us. We sacrifice and do for others instead of giving ourselves some much-needed time out. After years running successful ReTREATs in the magical Gold Coast Hinterland, Debbie Hogg has now opened her ReTREAT to more people, via the Virtual ReTREAT.
In celebration of mothers this May, haven magazine has two of Debbie’s Virtual ReTREATs to giveaway. You will receive:
- Personal growth and massive clarity (strategies to shift your life)
- Nourishment for your mind, body, spirit to create lasting balance (experience ways to weave peace and tranquility into your life to support purposeful focus)
- An empowering mindset (connect and re-energise with Mother Earth and self-healing with instructions via video)
- Determination, drive and courage to change
- Strategies to shift your life – eliminate fear and limiting beliefs
- Unconditional support from coach Debbie
- Determination and strategies for change
- Digital support so you can RETREAT at home or at your own getaway.
Entries close Saturday 20 May and only winners will be notified. Good luck!
This competition has now closed.