Unsolicited Parenting Advice: Rest HardPosted: October 27, 2011
I firmly believe that you can’t work hard unless you rest hard, too.
This last few months have been full of transition for me. First I transitioned back to Maryland from living in the U.S.V.I., then I transitioned to living with my parents (we’d rented out our house to Johns Hopkins students while we were gone and they hadn’t moved out yet), then to job searcher, then back into our own home, then to stay at home mom, then, then then.
And I have it pretty easy.
But there have still been rough patches. I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been said a million times before, but I’m going to say it again in case there is one person out there for whom today is the day that it sinks in: PARENTING IS HARD. ADULTHOOD IS HARD. YOU NEED TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
When I’m not taking care of myself, I suffer and our household suffers. I am irritable and make stupid decisions. I snap at my husband and my kids. I look sloppy and everything around me gets sloppy. Ironically, I always think that by cutting corners in taking care of myself, I’m saving myself time. Nope. It takes longer because I veer off into insecurity and indecision. Or I get distracted because I need to have a fight with my husband for some reason or another.
When you are well rested, you can prioritize your time better and make smarter decisions.
Before I came to this realization, I’d always feel like if was stopping, I was slacking. So, I’d be with the kids, put them down for their naps and then immediately find another task to do. In my mind, I was only being productive if I was working. If I took a break, I felt guilty. But – now I find that the best thing I can do for my sanity is know what tasks I need to do, do them, and then take a break.
For example, I spend my mornings giving the kids breakfast, cleaning up the house, writing, and taking the kids out for some excercise. Then we come home and have lunch. After lunch is nap time. When they are asleep, I have more work to do – cleaning up dishes, getting dinner started, laundry, whatever – but I won’t do it until I’ve rested by either napping with them or taking some time to do something I’d like to do. I know that once the kids are up, there is a plethora of work awaiting me.
Granted, not everyone has the exact schedule as mine. A working parent’s schedule is going to look a little different – but I’ve also found that we can do pretty much anything if we try. Look at your schedule and find spots where you can take a break.