Creating a structure, to recreate life balance
Words by Jane Faulkner
I thought I would share an issue that I constantly struggle with in my life as a parent; and that is finding balance and keeping my priorities on track. I find it easy to get lost in the day to day running of a home, kids and a business and often the first thing that suffers is time to myself. I realised long ago, that when my cup is empty, my capacity for parenting well and living well, shifts from thriving to surviving. However I continue to get lost in fulfilling others needs and forget my own.
I know that I need a solid structure around time for myself and that I need to maintain firm boundaries around this time, both with my family and with work. However, I find that slowly, insidiously, I allow these boundaries to erode away and I find myself stripped back to no time for me and over-whelmed, as my inner resources are so low. I imagine it comes down to many things- not valuing myself or my time enough, my conditioning around always being available and helpful (yes I am a rescuer), my beliefs around mothering and getting lost in meeting others needs; and then losing track of my priorities and what nourishes me.
So after many weeks of doing too much and endeavouring to be Mrs Do-it-all again, I got a cold and was forced to rest and check out my life.
I realised several things:
- In always being there to rescue my kids I was rendering them helpless and dependent, I was actually handicapping them and not assisting them to become the resilient, independent, capable beings that I wish for them to become. So I created a jobs list that I expected them to complete every day before they got any screen time or play time. We sat down as a family and created a list of all of the jobs that needed to be completed every day and then we divided them up; my kids are 6 and 8 so we made the jobs age appropriate and they had to be fair. I wanted the kids to realise how much goes into creating a home and how as a family, we all had an equal role to play in contributing. Jobs for kids provide so many plus’s- they gain skills, they have a sense of contribution and achievement. It also provides a chance to connect and engage and they learn to respect themselves, their caregivers, their things and their home more.
- I need to make myself a priority because when I get sick everyone suffers; so I have created more structure around my week to include time with friends, yoga classes, time with my husband and time by myself. Research shows that for heart and brain health every day we need to move, we need to nourish our relationships with friends and family and eat healthy, nourishing food. We need to be mindful of our mood; it’s important to have joy and happiness in your life and if it’s lacking you need to check out what’s not working for you or seek help. I will discuss this further in future blogs.
- I needed to take charge of my life balance again and reconsider what nourishes me, and get rid of what doesn’t. So I needed to sit down at my desk and go through all of the stuff that I had been putting into the too hard basket and get it sorted. Have you noticed how much mental energy it takes to carry all of the things that you put off, around? I felt like I could think straight again, after I had faced all of the things that I hadn’t had the time or the inclination to check out earlier.
- I needed to remember what was important and then have the discipline to create the life and health that I want. Work would always be there in some form or another. However, my health and my relationships could only take so much. I realise that for my life to be reasonably smooth, I needed to be disciplined in keeping the structure that I created to support me.
A wonderful teacher once said to me- when you have solid boundaries and structure, you have freedom within. When these boundaries and structure are not in place, you are left with inner chaos.
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Jane is a mum, partner, psychotherapist in private practice, yoga teacher, group facilitator at Gwinganna Health Retreat and nurse. To connect with Jane, visit her website, here.
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