Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Finding Balance as a Parent

A post over at Attachment Mama really got me thinking about how to find balance as a parent. She says:
Absolutely love your child with every ounce of who you are. Honor their little spirits and tend to their needs. Do all that you can to foster secure attachment. But for the sake of your own emotional and physical well-being — don’t put yourself on a shelf in the process. Don’t do it!! If you’re like me, you mistakenly believe that if you give to yourself it means your child will suffer. That you won’t be giving to them. And you can drive yourself to the brink in the name of intended Love and Devotion. You really can. In the long run, no child benefits from a sick or unhappy mother!!

I wholeheartedly agree that we can't sacrifice ourselves for our children to the point where we are sick and stressed out. We clearly aren't very good for anyone in that condition.

But even more than that, I think it is imperative that we model how to live our best lives for our children. We have to show them what it means to find balance, to seek out joy, to pursue our passions, to care for our loved ones and the world.

As trite as it sounds, our actions really do speak more loudly than our words. Our children are constantly looking to us for lessons about how to live, how to make decisions, and how to be good people.

We owe it to ourselves to make time for self-care in all sorts of ways (from exercising to sleeping to following our dreams), but we also owe it to our children. We have to show them that life is full of joy and possibility. We have to show them how to make the most of our precious time.

It's definitely something I'm going to struggle with over the years. On the one hand, I want to absolutely make time for the sacred act of parenting. As a teacher for the past ten years, I can state with confidence that parents really do make a difference. On the other hand, I want to continue to pursue my passions and my dreams. I'll need to constantly balance the two and make adjustments (and readjustments) as necessary.

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