Working parents, stay-at-home parents, new parents, … Today’s message is for each of you who is raising one or more young persons with intention in the midst of our over-filled lives. Know this: you are attempting the most challenging task there is! It is also the most vital to our society and the most rewarding.
What has me writing this to you now?
I am the mother of two boys and the grandmother of two infants. One of those precious young ones, a 10 ½ month old, recently stayed with us. We spent four days devoted, observant, on call, and almost fully present to this precious being. Grandpa took the night and early morning shift ands relieved me each afternoon for a time. And … it was a full time job! I was able to do some of my self-care routines – but none of the work I usually do as coach. I made very few connections with friends and colleagues and the only housework that got done was related to cleaning up after the baby!
What did I learn?
- Self-care is vital: sleep, nutrition, emotional processing, self-compassion – however you define it, some degree of self-honoring goes a long way in preventing burn-out, reactivity, frustration.
- Help from others is crucial: we don’t do this alone! Whether help comes from our partners, neighbors, family, day-care, educators, those who clean our homes or those who write the parenting books we read, “it takes a village” is wisdom.
- A vitally healthy working partnership with other adults in the home is so important: and often, especially when each of us is already overworked, self-care has disappeared and relationship nurturing a long ago memory, the working partnership is gone. In its place can be blame, begging for our own needs to be met, anger and frustration.
And you are raising your children while likely working full or part-time outside the home, responsible to others who themselves may be juggling the responsibilities of intentional child-rearing, work, and self-care.
Today I celebrate you!
You have taken on the almost impossible, yet critically important, job for humankind. Please take a few moments, regularly, to ask yourself:
- What gifts do I give my children that can I acknowledge in myself?
- What else? You may not skimp on acknowledging YOU!
- In what ways am I attempting the impossible?
- What am I willing to release to find some breathing space?
- What one self-care practice am I willing to add?
- What one way will I ask for help?
- How might I invite my parenting partner to join me?