If you’re reading this, you might have the feeling that you want to change some of your parenting practices or, perhaps, you're curious about “mindful parenting” and what it could be. Well, congratulations for taking a moment from your day to click on the link. Erin of it’s OK and I are going to be working together over the next 40 weeks (!) on a journey toward more mindful parenting and would love to have you join us. To learn how we envision The Mindful Parenting Collaboration working, please read the introductory post HERE.
Now, here's a topic that I can't stand to deal with. Yes, I know. This is one of those pieces of advice that everyone gives, yet no one seems to actually take. How in the world am I supposed to find time to do what I want when I have to take care of all of these people and make sure the house is clean, too?! Wanting to do my own thing just feels too... indulgent. Until recently.
You see, I've been becoming increasingly resentful toward my husband and sons. They constantly ask me for things, even expect them to be done, and I don't get much reciprocity in return. Christmas was the breaking point for me. I had so looked forward to the holiday. Planned lots of fun things to do, had high hopes for getting a chance to bake and craft, and wanted this to just be a great time of excitement for the kids. But it was all a struggle. Now, I'm not going to say I took on too much or expected too much from everyone. I asked my husband and oldest to PLEASE take turns hanging out with Little Guy for one hour a day so I could do my own thing, which was essentially to "make" Christmas for them. It worked for about a week, then they were too busy (watching TV, eating, and playing games on the computer) to help. "Why don't you just wait until he's taking a nap?" And the resentment wasn't just aimed at my ungrateful hubby and teen. Little Guy, who loved helping me in the kitchen just a few weeks earlier, decided that he was bored with it all and preferred to run like a heathen through the kitchen, grabbing everything he could reach and throwing down the stairs. So, yes, I was not too keen on his "help", either.
All of this resentment came to a head on New Year's Day. I woke up in a great mood. New year, new outlook, let's start fresh, blah, blah, blah... My oldest woke up and very snottily informed me that we were out of milk, as if it was MY fault and MY sole responsibility to get more. Little Guy, upon hearing of the milk situation, demanded warm milk and honey to drink. The demands became ear-piercing screams because my oldest (who is very lucky I didn't decide that my no-spanking policy was shit) was holding the empty milk jug in Little Guy's face, saying in a cheeky tone, "What's wrong with you? Are you STUPID? There IS no milk! Mom didn't get us any!" That's when hubby came out. "Will you guys keep it down? I can't hear the TV." He decided to go take a shower (which I hadn't gotten a chance to take in a week, by the way, because no one would hang out with Little Guy - he needs to be paid attention to while he's sleeping, too, because he tends to wake up and be very stealthy!)
"SHUT UP! SHUT UP! SHUT UP!
I AM SO GODDAMN SICK AND TIRED OF
YOU PEOPLE BEING HELPLESS IDIOTS.
OLDEST - GO TO THE F***ING STORE AND
BUY SOME F***ING MILK!!!
LITTLE GUY, JUST F***ING DEAL WITH
THE FACT THAT THERE'S NO MILK.
AND, HUBBY, IF EVEN ONE DROP OF WATER
TOUCHES YOUR BODY BEFORE I GET A SHOWER,
YOU'LL REGRET IT FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE -
WHICH WILL NOT BE VERY LONG!!!!!"
You could hear a pin drop. They all stared blankly at me. I pointed at my oldest and he RAN into the bedroom to change his clothes for his trip to the store. My husband jumped at the teen's movement and ran to pick up Little Guy. He got him some hot tea to satisfy him until the milk showed up. Little Guy did the best thing of the three of them: He ran over and gave me a big hug and said, "Sorry, Mama." I took my shower and felt 100% better... physically. I apologized to my family and they all looked at the floor guiltily. They "got" why I flipped out.
Now, I told you this because this could happen to you if you do not take time for yourself. You can become burned out, miserable, resentful, and may even begin to wonder if you really want to be "mommy" and "honey" to these people you live with. You slowly forget who you are, what you want out of life, what makes you happy. You're there to please others. Period.
So, this week, I suggest you try to remember who you were before hubby and the kids. What did you expect you'd be doing at your age? What kind of things do you enjoy doing? Do not make a list of things that you need/want to do around the house. It doesn't count. Make a dream list. Next, see if any of those things on your list could be modified to fit into your life right now. I expected to be an artist. While I have neither the money for supplies, nor the time to devote to this, I can take a little time each week to just create... Pinterest, here I come! Next, make yourself a list of realistic things you'd like for yourself. These could be as simple as "Take an hour-long bath." or "Give myself a pedicure." Nothing that takes a huge amount of time or money. Do one each day. Yes - each day.
Love on yourself. If it makes you feel guilty, think of it this way: You want to be a mindful parent, right? In order to be a mindful of others, you need to practice on yourself. I was angry at my family. Looking back to the weeks before my New Year's Day Fireworks, I was not treating my family mindfully. Heck, I was not treating them well at all. I did all the things I was supposed to do, but there was no smile on my face or love in my heart while I was doing them. I fought for every second of time to be able to do those things and, by the time I actually got that time, I was ticked off at my family.
This week, I will make sure to take time for me. Creatively, physically, and emotionally. In fact, I've already started tonight. But, I'll wait until next week to tell you about it!
I'd like to invite you to link any posts you have written on the topic of being mindful of yourself in the linky below. I'd love to hear your ideas and thoughts on this subject. I really need all the help I can get - I do not ever want to feel that way I did about the most important people in the world, nor do I want them to ever witness the explosion from me the way they did first thing in the morning on the first day of 2012!
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