If you have ever had a child throw up on you, and your bed, and their bed, and the floor all within 2 days, you may be able to relate. Everything had to put on hold, tons of laundry had to be done and no one was sleeping well.
I ended the week feeling burnt out and lacking joy. Feeling concerned about my state of mind, I did what I could to shift things so I could replenish.
One thing that helped me was hearing from a friend who does not have children. She was telling me a story that her and her partner decided to adopt a dog. The dog unfortunately had health issues and the care became too much for the couple so they made the difficult choice to bring the dog back to the shelter.
My friend was reflecting on how challenging it was to add this being into their already busy lives and how do I do it as a parent?
My answer at the time was a bit vague but I think true, “we all have busy lives and we will fill the spaces that we have”.
I have since been thinking more about her question and asking myself how do I do it, especially in times of stress?
I reflected that as a parent I have learned the art of prioritizing. I am clear on what is most important in my life. I do not have a long list of commitments that have been made out of obligation.
I am able to say no to requests without guilt if they lack meaning for me.
I have become more skilled at effectively and assertively expressing my needs and when I need support.
My partner and I have encouraged our children to learn how to play independently and quietly when asked to. We have modeled for them that grown-ups need to take care of themselves as well.
That loving our children (and love in general) does not equate giving everything we have to depletion.
As exhausted as I am at times in my parenting, my love and adoration for my children always trump the overwhelm. The little hugs, the “I love you's”, the experience of watching them learn and grow right before my eyes, makes it all worth it.
This time of reflection renewed my confidence in my parenting and reignited my commitment to my family.
Thoughts and comments are always welcome. . .