_I wanted to continue this discussion regarding doing it all with four children because I had someone post a comment on my Facebook profile that said that you should always put yourself first, BEFORE your kids. Woah! Really? In order to let anyone who saw that know that I disagree with this wholeheartedly, I figured I'd post a blog about it.
The question was how do I get in "me" time? How did I write and publish a book that took a lot of learning, research and personal experimentation in a year? How do I fit in time for my own friends and hobbies? They all sound like legitimate questions, don't they? But are they really?
The premise behind questions like these is that having more children automatically means that mom sacrifices her own interests because she no longer has time for them. Now add homeschooling on top of that and "me time" sounds impossible. For me, accepting these assumptions became unacceptable. It took some time and experience to realize that believing that self sacrifice is just how it is would never work for me. I am not happy expending ALL of my time and energy for others, including my kids, because I realized I was losing "me". Sound familiar?
Once I changed my perception, the rest started falling into place. I'm not saying that fitting in things I'd like to do hasn't been a challenge. But I will say that the times when it feels most challenging is when I put high and unrealistic expectations on myself. This is easy to do when I know I have the ability accomplish a lot. I have come to accept that there isn't any hurry!
First and foremost, personal fulfillment in the form of friends, hobbies, and my entrepreneurial activities are just as much of a priority as my kids' needs and interests. I realized that I don't ever want to set an example for my kids where I was bored and somehow waiting for that someday to come so I could do what I really wanted. I also don't want them to think that the opposite is ok either. I will never put my own interests before my children. I believe both set a really poor example for them.
Here are some things that have helped me along the way -
There are many hours in the day! Pay close attention to how you are spending them. For the things you feel you "have" to do, are you doing them as efficiently as you can? Is there a lot of wasted time? Is there a way to be more efficient in the planning of your errands? For example, could you do errands together with a friend you haven't seen in a while and fit in lunch while you are out?
Are you watching a lot of tv? Are you getting the same type of satisfaction or entertainment from too many of the same type of show? Can you let one or two go? Can you DVR them or watch them for free on the internet at a more convenient time?
Are you spending too much nonwork time at the computer? Are you finding yourself randomly clicking on things without a true purpose and zoning out on it for longer than you really would want to?
Get excited!! Make a list of everything you WANT to do! You may surprised at how many things you will be willing to let go of or do more efficiently if you knew you would then have time for something more fulfilling! Don't forget the intangible things! This past year I focused on having more meaningful friendships with people I wasn't afraid to be a little vulnerable with. (That was huge for me!) But once I set that intention, and let go of the "how," the people that were not good for my well being exited my life and I had so many more good ones enter. For the ones that stayed I was able to strengthen my relationships with.
If you want some inspiration, check out my annual blog Liberal Arts Living II. I already have a list of things that I am working on for my next annual blog and it is so much fun!
As a Parent Coach and Mentor, my passion lies in empowering parents to make the best decisions they can for their children and their families as a whole. As a well-trained coach, I can be your facilitator and accountability partner for long-lasting, meaningful change that has a permanent, positive impact for your family. By focusing on the values that you hold most important in your life, I can help you create and maintain the type of parenting relationship you want to have with your children, now and into their adulthood.
I am a homeschooling mom of four children in Massachusetts. I am also the author of a book called The Herbal Beverage Book, which can be found on amazon. When not coaching, writing or spending time with the family, I enjoy Hayao Miyazaki films, new and classic Dr. Who episodes, anything related to American history and a great glass of mead.
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This blog is a collection of thoughts, articles and perspectives I have at any one time. While I am pretty consistent in my beliefs, life changes and evolves along with experiences. You may feel a connection with me through my writing yet I never want any of my readers to misunderstand that the connection you feel is with a perspective I have shared and not me as a person. I am continually humbled that I am able to connect with my readers, and I hope to continue to be able to for many years to come, but it doesn't make us connected in any way beyond this. If you connect with what I write and know me as an acquaintance, this in no way reflects that I have any knowledge of you, your situation in life or that I am writing with you in mind. It is merely that I have shared a human experience that most likely very many others have had has well. This also goes for anything I post on my Twitter account, Facebook Page and Facebook personal page. I wanted to make this disclaimer as clear as possible so you know that any misunderstanding you choose to have is not my responsibility.