It’s a fine line between giving your kids time when they need it and needing time for yourself.
That’s the parenting juggle that is most difficult for me right now.
When they were babies I immersed myself in them. I gave them as much of myself as I possibly could, because that is what they needed… and if I am honest, that is what I needed to do.
So I did just that, I gave all of myself, and I was happy.
But as my children grew older, I discovered they needed less of me, and I found these little spaces… teeny tiny spaces at first, but spaces none the less. Spaces for myself.
Slowly I remembered what it was like to have time for myself. I realised how long it had been since I’d had that, and suddenly I had this overwhelming need not to be touched, not to be asked, not to be needed.
It felt so wrong in the beginning. It felt like I was asking for something I had no right to want, because I am a mother – my job is to be needed, to be called on, to be there. And all those feelings were tainted with a hefty serve of guilt… which I then felt guilty about feeling! How do let myself be tied in these knots?
But slowly the knots loosened as I remembered what it was like to be just a person.
Slowly I understood, accepted and even embraced the need for me to be me… a mother too, but also just myself, alone.
I’ve accepted the craving for silence and space, like an itch in an awkward spot that just won’t go away, but I am still trying to figure out the best way to scratch it.
How do I find time for myself when I barely have time for everyone and everything else?
Is it ok to put my needs ahead of my children’s on occasion? How do I let go of the guilt?
And what of the times when my children need me wholey and completely? How do I put off the itch and give them all of myself when they need me?
Perhaps it is just the stage of parenting I am in… with no more babies, and kids who are taking more and more steps out into the world on their own, but who still need a solid base to hold on to.
It seems so simple when I read that article… “find time for yourself, it’s healthy”. But then I read that blog post… “Just give them your time, they won’t want it forever.” And both of them make sense, both of them feel right…
And so I find myself walking that fine line again, between giving all of myself, and keeping a little back just for me.What parenting juggle are you struggling with right now?
This post was written by katepickle for picklebums.com If you see this post on any other site it has been used without permission.If you enjoyed this post, please share it with others...
I've sat on this post for the better part of a week.
To be honest, I think it has taken that long for me to get my head around everything.
My Little Mate had his first school transition session last Friday. Until it came time to drop him off, I think I had severely underestimated my emotional reaction to it all. Because when the time came and all the other kids lined up in the library and farewelled their parents, and my son reached for me and made sure I was coming to the classroom with him, I was a wreck.
So much so that by the time we got to the classroom and the other kids all wandered off to the various activities completely independently, I could not stop the tears that filled my eyes.
I hid them from him as best I could of course, but I could not hide them from the teacher who asked if I'd like to leave. Because of COURSE I would have liked to leave but it will never be that simple with this boy. It just won't.
We spent ten minutes or so before he found an activity with not many other children there and was okay with me leaving. He squeezed me so tight, and I could see the nervousness and the determination in his eyes. But he let me go. I let him go.
I cried pretty much the entire three hours he was there.
Leaving him with 31 other children, all but one of whom have attended kindergarten together was so hard. He is used to 8 other children and numerous staff. One on one direction and support. The contrast between his kinder and school could not have been greater.
Leaving him with people who were all complete strangers to him was terrifying for me. He will have no aide support at all which still makes me very angry and sad, and to just walk away from him was one of the hardest things I have ever done.
I learned later that he spent the first hour or so just wandering around. They left him to it, letting him find his bearings and get used to the new space. He followed directions and sat on the mat when asked though. He ate his snack and lunch. He had a few stimmy moments the likes of which we haven't seen in six months or more, but he recovered well. He did okay.
At pick up time I saw a friend who has a similar family dynamic to ours and knows all about spectrum living. We chatted, she could see I wasn't in the best way. I told her that I just wanted him to walk out and say 'Mummy, I had a great time!' as he often does after care or kinder.
And right at that moment out he walked. 'Mummy, I had a great time!'. Oh, my heart.
In the car afterwards I told him how proud I was of him. He said 'Mummy, I proud of you too'.
It is officially December which means it’s time for the shops to get busy, the complaining to begin and people to start behaving badly. Christmas seems to bring out the “self-important asshole” in a lot of the population so, as a former retail worker and current user of shopping centers, I thought I’d share some commandments for a more pleasant present shopping experience. For all involved.
Thou shalt remind yourself that the shops will be packed.
It seems obvious but people always seem to be surprised. It’s not a new thing everyone. There will be less car spaces and bigger lines and it will take you longer to do pretty much everything. Just get your head around it and try and allow for the extra time & lack of personal space.
Thou shalt not be an asshole to the sales staff.
You know what? Retail pays like crap and they mostly deal with people who treat the staff as they would a piece of dirt on the bottom of their shoe while said staff member has to be polite. It’s not cool to be a jerkface to anyone but be extra nice to the human beings who get paid peanuts to be nice to monkeys. And note the commandment above-at christmas they have do deal with it more often from crankier people. BE NICE & REMEMBER YOUR MANNERS.
Thou shalt not compare thine bounty with that of the guy standing next to you with 6 iPads.
Truly, if you have enough money to put a single thing under the tree then you’re winning. It’s tough to grow up with less (I know, I did) but I also knew my parents did their best and bought all of the gifts with consideration and love instead of a stack of cash and it was awesome. More isn’t always better and comparison truly is the thief of joy.
Thou shalt take a list.
You don’t want to go BACK to the shopping complex AGAIN, do you? Especially if it’s for that one itty bitty thing that you could have picked up when YOU WERE JUST THERE.
Thou shalt not try any dumb shit to make lines go faster.
Huffing & puffing, invading the personal space of the customer in front of you, making that bloody awful “click-sigh” noise or complaining loudly about how slow the line is DOES NOT MAKE THE TIME PASS QUICKER. Knock it off and play on your smartphone or something.
Thou shalt not forget online stores, local small-business and handmade as options.
You might be able to skip the unpleasantness altogether!
Thou shalt feel free to find something enjoyable about the whole experience.
Complaining about christmas shopping is widely approved of and most everyone does it so we all kind of join in but I think there are things about it that are awesome. Buying gifts for those you love-knowing how much they will enjoy it, maybe some kid free time at the shops or catching the train into the city together for a day out. It’s doesn’t all have to be bad!
just because you’re not there to see it, does not mean it doesn’t exist
I’m sorry but is that a freaking SLENDERMAN????
ALL ABOARD THE NOPE TRAIN.
I THUGH THIS WAS A STICK BUG
I have no one to blame for my current predicament but myself.
Over the weekend I was feeling increasingly throaty and tired and achey. Too much high emotion, end of year tiredness, a perfect storm for my immune system to say screw you I'm packing it in.
I went for a run on Sunday and it helped being out in the sunshine. I certainly didn't feel any worse at least.
But Monday morning I woke feeling pretty darned ordinary. Having run off viruses before I thought I'd give it a shot. Not a fast run or anything, just a leg stretcher to get things moving. I wasn't hydrated enough for the warmth of the day. I wasn't taking into account my physical and emotional exhaustion and I just wasn't paying enough attention.
Right on 4kms my foot slipped off the tar of the road and rolled my right ankle. I went down heavily landing my left knee on the blacktop.
Turns out falling over hurts just as much as a grownup as it did as kid. Maybe more so, with further to fall and more weight behind it.
I was so shocked that it didn't occur to me to call my husband or BFF to come and pick me up. Instead I limped the last kilometre home with blood from my knee to my ankle, and all over my hands as well. A few cars passed and I wondered why no one stopped to ask if I was okay but in hindsight I don't know if I'd stop to chat with a woman walking like a drunken sailor with blood smeared all over them.
I rested and iced and compressed and elevated. It didn't feel too too bad. Until this morning when I woke up with one ankle double the size of the other and a ridiculously bruised knee that had started bleeding again in the night. Fun one. Helpfully I have also lost my voice which my kids think is hilarious and I am finding less so, especially with husbo on afternoon shift this week.
Apparently, I am incapable of tapering like a normal person. Because, you see, I am meant to be running a half marathon with my team on Sunday. Yup. Well played right?
I should have been resting today, but life happened and I didn't. I am hoping that while I have a few child free hours tomorrow I can spend them RICEing again and really give myself a chance to heal a bit.
But my goal of a sub 2hr half marathon has just disappeared in a flurry of swearwords and a box of 'boondaids' as my 3yo calls them.
Obviously I won't know what I am actually capable of until the day. My Mum very sensibly suggested to me that maybe I should try and switch to the 10km run instead. But I don't WANT to run a 10K I want to run a half!
Also, I don't know if I even could switch at this late stage and I know myself well enough to know that I would all out race a 10k and be determined to at least pull a PB on it which may be just as bad as run/walking the half marathon anyway.
I feel like I want to at least start the half. I'd planned it as my last long run for the year and I just want to do it. I'm not going to PB, and I wouldn't even try. I'd even walk if I needed to. Seriously I would.
But is that even a reasonable idea or am I being stupid? Should I just suck it up and go have a nice weekend in the city with my husband and big kids, and cheer on the rest of my crew?
Someone please tell me what to do?
PS no chance of physio or scans or anything like that this week. I have full range of motion in my foot and ankle, it is just swollen and achey. So that means it is okay really right? RIGHT? I think the knee is just skin and bruising too. Let's roll with that while making our diagnoses ;)