I know what you are thinking… Extra time? How is that even possible? I barely have the regular amount of time. Same. I get it. For real.
Last week was rough. Real rough. I think the exhaustion from school finally caught up with my 5 year old. She was struggling to listen (check out the post I put up on Friday to the IMPERFECT Mama and therapist Facebook group), tantruming every night before bed, just complete craziness. I had some real heart to hearts with myself and I’m not going to lie, some of them while I was crying and aimlessly walking around my yard in the dark. This parenting thing is HARD and I am IMPERFECT.
I realized that we needed to get back to basics. No more iPads. Not even while I needed to get ready in the morning and not even for a reward for going to bed nicely and waking up at a reasonable hour. No more screen time right before bed. We used snuggle in for snack and 15 minutes of a show before bed but even that became a battle so that is off the table. I put signs up all over the house on how to respond if you are having big feeling as reminders that yelling and being aggressive is not a good choice but taking deep breaths, taking a break or asking for a hug are. I told a friend about these signs and she asked if they were for me or the kids. Both I said with a grin. Back to basics also meant that we need to slow down. That I was going to try extra hard to be present. To build in more times where we are just together with no other distractions and if that means I am going to get less “productive” things done, well then so be it.
After my son woke me up at 5:50am on Saturday morning (so that I could fix his blanket because it was no longer laying perfectly on his pillow. Don’t ask.) I decided that I would get up to a quiet house and bake muffins. I baked 2 different kinds of muffins before anyone was up for the day. I was hoping and praying that when my kids got up and I told them I made muffins that maybe, just maybe, they would be excited and we could start the day off right. IT WORKED! It was such a small thing but it put giant smiles on their faces. We all settled in that morning with warm muffins and snuggles and had a very lovely family weekend. We were all together the whole weekend except for the 2 hours on Saturday morning that I went to yoga while they went to gymnastics.
I see parents at every stage of their children’s lives just trying to make it through the days. The survival mode we experience when we have babies and are exhausted, the hustle and bustle of carting our kids to and from activities and friend’s houses as they get older and barely finding time for family dinners when tweens become teens and barely show their faces at home. It’s not easy to find extra time to put in more energy but it is necessary. So think about that. What are you or your family missing? More time together? Exercise? More downtime? More time to just talk and connect? How can you make that happen? I know for me, I am exhausted by the end of the day but I can manage to get up earlier in the morning if I know I need to accomplish something extra. I even remember as a little girl waking up around 5:00am to have breakfast with my Dad before he went to work. This was never anything he asked me to do but I felt sad he had to eat alone and I missed him since he worked all day and nights were hectic. There’s always a little more time for something meaningful. How will you find it and use it?
*If you are struggling finding the time, check out my blog on self care