I was 53 years old before I went away for the first time with a couple of girlfriends – no kids, no significant other – just the girls. I came home so relaxed and happy that the pleasant feelings lasted for days.
- Some of you may ask, “Why did she wait so long?”
- Others may say, “Good for her!”
- But there may be some of you who are thinking, “Go away without the kids and leave the husband to fend for himself – impossible!”
Well, I am here to tell you that not only is it possible for you to get away, but it’s crucial for your health and that of your family; even if it means you go out window shopping for the afternoon. Making time for yourself, according to all the experts, is necessary. Getting your own needs met is by far one of the keys to healthy parenting.
“To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.” Mother Teresa
It is necessary to rejuvenate yourself or you will burn out just as a lamp will burn out without oil. You nurture from overflow, not from depletion. It is not selfish to get nurtured as a parent, and in fact, it is beneficial to focus on your own needs.
Give yourself permission to do something just for you because if you constantly give, give, give, you will exhaust yourself and have nothing left for anyone else.
“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” Socrates
Know what you need to rejuvenate yourself.
- Some people need to be alone; others like to be part of a crowd.
- While some re-energize by exercising or listening to music, others do so by reading a good book or watching an old movie.
Needs are personal. Try to gauge how and when it’s time to restock your supply of vitality and energy, and then just do it!
“When my kids become wild and unruly, I use a nice safe playpen. When they’re finished, I climb out.” Erma Bombeck
Find somewhere to go for quiet time for yourself – you don’t have to spend a lot of money.
- Sometimes when my husband gets home from work, I go to the library and read the magazines for a couple of hours. I do not spend a dime and it is very relaxing.
- I also have a friend who agrees to take turns watching the kids – I watch her kids while she gets away for a bit, then she watches mine. When it is my turn to go out, I sometimes sit in a restaurant for a little while with a cup of coffee.
When I return home, I feel like I can be the nurturer again and my children and I are better for it.
“Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.” Dr. Haim Ginott, child psychologist
Children pay lots of attention to what you do. You are a good role model for your children if you demonstrate that your needs are also important. This helps children to grow up to be adults who will balance taking care of others with finding time to take care of themselves.
Also, if you want your children to have fun, you have to model having fun (remember the “going away with the girls” story?)
“I looked on childrearing not only as a work of love and duty but as a profession that was as fully interesting and challenging as any honorable profession in the world and one that demanded the best that I could bring to it.” Rose Kennedy
Parenting forces you to grow in ways that no other profession does. You may find yourself becoming more compassionate, organized, loving, and giving than you ever imagined.
There is great honor in meeting the challenges that come with parenting a child and preparing him to become an independent, responsible, and caring individual.
“I need time for me.” Claire Gawinowicz
You cannot give your children your best if you are tired, depleted, and defeated. It is not selfish to get nurtured as a parent. You need to get your own needs met so that you can give your children what they need. Nourishing yourself every so often is one way to ensure that you are able to do that.
So remember to take care of yourself not only so that you will be more useful, helpful, and loving to the people around you but because you are important, too.
For more information about parenting, check out the following books. Purchasing books from our website through Amazon.com supports the work we do to help parents do the best job they can to raise their children. A few of our favorites:
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