By Shelly Murphy, TLC Board Member, Mother of Three, Balance Seeker
As my kiddos (and I am sure yours, too) anticipate the unlimited possibilities and freedom that awaits them this summer, I am filled with a mixture of excitement and dread as I look ahead to the coming months. Summer breaks are often a huge challenge for parents and usually we find ourselves in a panic scheduling our children’s activities and time. This summer, as I plan our schedules, I challenge myself to seek balance. Will you join me in this challenge? I do not mean that for every class, practice, game, therapy session or play date that we schedule for our children that we should schedule one for ourselves. Instead, my hope is that you are able to find some time for yourself; for your growth, your fun, your health. Schedule and find time for yourself like you do for your kids; seek balance.
You may be asking who am I to be offering such advice? Am I a therapist or a counselor or have a PhD in family matters? No. Rather, I am a Mom who recently learned that self-care is not an indulgence, but rather a necessity to live a balanced family life. While a vacation on a Caribbean beach sounds nice, the balance I seek is not that grand.
If you can, I encourage you to try some of the following activities to bring balance to your days:
Take a walk around the block (with the kids if necessary), and enjoy nature and the outside of your house.
Invite a friend to join you for an exercise class or a hike in our beautiful mountains.
Try something new or challenge yourself to do something you have always wanted to do. If you can, schedule a date night, or a girls’ night, or schedule everyone else for a night so you can spend some time alone (and don’t clean or do other chores).
If we continue to only give and never care for ourselves, at some point we will get depleted. Remember those instructions on the plane that you are to apply your oxygen mask first before you assist others? There is wisdom in that concept. The same applies for us as we care for our children, our parents, our bosses and seemingly all others first.
If all else fails and you cannot take a break or schedule something for yourself, I hope you can give yourself the gift of being present. Being present does not require any additional resources other than giving yourself permission to fully focus on the moment. Then, in August, when we send our kiddos back to school or the wonderful care (therapy, infant, toddler or preschool) at TLC Learning Center, we will be able to look back on these summer months fondly, just as our kiddos will.