Finding ‘Me Time’ For Time Poor ParentsBy Jodie Benveniste | Apr 13, 11 12:40 PM
The research tells us what every working parent already knows – we’re all feeling guilty, rushed for time and completely overloaded. So why does finding ‘me time’ seem less achievable than world peace? Jodie Benveniste explores…
Raising kids is one of the most demanding, amazing and undervalued activities we do. But if only we could get to that yoga class, go jogging each morning or find more opportunities to lie in bed and read a book….
‘Me time’ is beneficial but as most working parents know, ‘me time’ is in short supply. The phrase suggests that with better time management, we’ll have more opportunities for shopping, massages, and the movies. But working mums are the best time managers on the planet, so what can the answer be?
In short, the secret to increasing our energy is to increase our wellbeing. When we are energetic and engaged, we benefit and so do our kids. But we so rarely look after ourselves. We need to find ways to increase our wellbeing in everything that we do, and that means loving what we do, when we do it.
The only sure fire way to cope with the challenges and enjoy the rewards of being a parent is to attend to your own wellbeing. And if you won’t do it for yourself, then do it for your kids.
There’s little doubt that parents who care for themselves are better parents. If you’re stressed, preoccupied or exhausted, it’s difficult to give children what we know they need – that is, love, attention, consistency and boundaries.
Our kids watch us more than they listen to us. We are role models for our children. If we come home from work irritable and ill tempered, then our children associate work with anger and annoyance. But if we come home from work, energised and engaged, then our children will look forward to work and a career.
Happy people are healthier, better workers, more popular, have better relationships, are resilient and live longer. You can add 10 years to your life by being happy. But most of us get caught up in day to day irritations. We fume about the dirty clothes on the floor, the lid off the toothpaste, and the barely eaten dinner that we spent hours cooking. We believe that if only our circumstances changed, we would be happier. If only we had a better job, a new car, or a larger house in a better suburb, then our life would be better.
But our circumstances actually have very little impact on our happiness. A new plasma, bigger backyard or change of address, might make us happier for a little while, but the feeling does not last. What DOES makes a difference is the way we think and behave.
Here are some easy top tips for increasing your wellbeing:
- Appreciate what is good in your life. Try this: At the end of each day, write down three moments you loved sharing with your children.
- Think positively. Try this: Next time you are in a challenging situation, ask yourself. What is positive about this? How can I experience this differently?
- Live in the present. Try this: At least once a day, stop and ask yourself, What can I smell, see, hear, touch, and sense? And how do I feel?
- Find something that makes you happy each day. Try this: Draw a picture of yourself at your best. What strengths of character are you displaying? Try and use your strengths every day.
- Connect with others. Try this: Participate in an online forum. Post a comment about what’s bugging you, and respond to other people’s posts. Then you will realise you are not alone. Business Chicks has a few great groups online for Premium members – search for ‘Exhausted Mums’ and ‘Business Mamas’ and join in the discussion.
Jodie Benveniste is director and founder of Parent Wellbeing. Visit parentwellbeing.com to learn how you can worry less and enjoy parenting more. Sign up for feel-good parenting info, and to receive your free ebook ‘6 top happiness tips for families’. Jodie is also a Business Chicks member and you can connect with her here.