The other day I came across an interesting piece called ‘Job Opening’ written in appreciation for everything parents do daily. I thought I’d share some of it with you. You will probably find it quite amusing.
Job description: Long term, team players needed for challenging permeant work in an often-chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organisational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24hours on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.
It then goes on to list the hundreds of responsibilities, inform the reader that there is no advancement, noting that there is no pay and when you die you give them what is left over. It ends with:
The Benefits: This job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life if you play your cards right.
So, with all that in mind, recognising that parenting is such a demanding job, parents need to think about their own well-being. Looking after ourselves is not selfish as, if we don’t, we get stressed, exhausted, snappy and forgetful, and I’m sure you can add other words to that list. The Parenting Puzzle programme uses this analogy to get parents to think about nurturing themselves: Imagine yourself as a jug of water, and others in our family are glasses. If the water from the jug is poured into each glass until the jug is empty, and it is not refilled, in the end everyone is worse off.
It is hard when you lead a busy life to find time for yourself, but if you can make a little time for yourself every now and then you will be less drained and have a little more vigour to do what needs to be done. Don’t forget your own needs are as valid as anyone else’s in your family!
A few tips of things to do when you are overworked, stressed or your children are just winding you up (remembering we are all different and every idea will not appeal or work for you):
- Count to 3 and say to yourself something like “Calm down”, “Relax”, “I’m doing OK”
- When you are annoyed, leave the room, or count to 10 before you act
- Find somewhere to release you anger- phone a friend, thump a pillow, listen to your favourite music, pray, meditate, stroke an animal, play sport
- Ask for a hug
- If you can’t have time alone immediately, plan a hot bath with scented bubbles or a treat later
- Ask someone for help- even a short break so you can take a rest
- Go outside into the fresh air for a walk- even with the children if need be
- Sit down close your eyes and think of a peaceful scene for a few minutes
- Get out regularly with one or two friends
- Relax with your feet up and breath more deeply and slowly. I heard the other day that you only need to take 6 breaths a minute. Most people take 12 and the average American takes 18!
- Do something you enjoy on a regular basis
- Say “no” to guilt
- If there is a need, find skilled help.
Take a few moments to think about how well you nurture yourself and then perhaps think about what you might like to do from now on.