As a parent our job is full on. No guidebook comes with our little peeps – they are all unique individuals and we raise them all differently. There is no right or wrong way, just our way. Nothing takes away the 24/7 of our job as parents. It’s often massively exhausting and even overwhelming.
Our precious little beings are demanding of our attention, which changes over time from infancy through to flying the coop. In the parent rulebook (you know, the one we have in our mind) there doesn’t seem to be a chapter on ‘time-out for parents’. So how do we make this happen? What stops us putting priority on ourselves instead of constantly on our children? Is it because our parents didn’t take time for themselves, now we model this behaviour? Could it be we are working every opportunity providing more (bigger, better) or simply providing for them? Could it be we feel unable to leave them with someone for the day, night or even weekend? What would it be like to take a mini break alone or with our partner? Would we feel guilty taking personal us/me time? Maybe we feel we’re being irresponsible parents? Or selfish for wanting time for ourselves?
The amazing Jim Rohn said: “If you really want to do something, you will find a way. If you don’t you’ll find an excuse.” It’s very easy to put ‘us’ off because of something else, ie. money, time, support, busy-busy, people to see, children’s parties, sporting activities etc.
If we don’t give ourselves permission to take time out, even for one day, we build up resentment. Operating from the space of resentment supports internal anger, sadness, loneliness, frustration, bitterness and irritation towards the smallest things around us. We may even hold grudges against those we love, purely because we have let it build. Holding onto negative feelings may lead to illness and over time our body goes into dis-ease. Out of balance physically, mentally and spiritually, we get sick. Our thoughts, feelings and relationships start heading south and things feel out of control. Whatever it is, we are harming ourselves and modeling this to our children. They see our behaviour as the norm, they have nothing else to base their belief system on. Children unconsciously store our style of behaviour and use it when bringing up their children. What are we modeling to our children? They are sponges and we are their everything.
Benefits of taking time out for ourselves:
- Experiencing and creating memories to share with our children
- It gives us time to dream and make plans for the future
- Provides space to reflect on what we have, where we are and what improvements we can make
- Gives breathing space to do whatever we want and allows focus on self
- Provides an introduction of independence for our children
- Enhances the relationship between our children and whoever they spend time with
How to do it:
- Decide what we want for a mini break. Is it a coffee, long walk or a weekend alone or together?
- Choose a date, make the arrangements and DO IT!
- Work with a ‘coach’ for support and motivation
- Do something. Anything is a great first step.