Shift your priorities to find time for fun and learn to let go
There are a lot of times in your day where there are more demands on you than what you can possibly do. You’re cooking, cleaning, preparing, planning, taking and making calls, checking and double-checking, reading, signing, fixing, refereeing… you only have two hands, but sometimes it feels like you need six.
We often get stuck in the cycle of getting consumed by all the demands in our life. The reality is the housework is always going to be there. You will always come across tasks that need to be completed and times where it often feels like it all needs top priority.
While parenthood is definitely one of life’s greatest joys, it can also be one of life’s most time consuming and overwhelming jobs. It can be difficult enough balancing your responsibilities and quality time with your family, thus making time for yourself is never a top priority.
Over time, every parent develops a way of prioritising what needs to happen in each moment. A pattern often seen, however, is that parents tend to put themselves lower down on that list of priorities.
Here’s a reminder that you can, and should, be a priority too.
Time becomes a luxury when you are a parent, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy time for yourself.
When you don’t make time to take care of yourself, you are saying that everything else you do is more important. The washing is more important. Work is more important. Cleaning is more important. Really?? Do you think these things would get done (or get done well) if you became sick or burnt-out from chronic stress as a result of running on ‘empty’? No way!
If you keep looking at your life with an “I don’t have time” mindset, you’ll inevitably keep finding evidence of how you are lacking in time.
Ever been short of time, madly racing around and then something else really urgent pops up and suddenly you’ve got to fit that in too? What happens? Often you get it all done. You manage to fit it in, or you let something not so important fall by the wayside. This is because you made that urgent thing a priority.
Having the time to do something (like ‘me time’) is never about time, it’s about priorities!
If you are not making yourself a priority, you won’t make time for your personal time out. You’ll keep putting yourself last and justify it by saying, “Oh, I didn’t have time for that”. But it’s not because you don’t have time. We always have time. It’s because you didn’t make it a priority.
An important lesson to learn is not to fill up your life with things until you have made a space for what matters most.
How each of us chooses to spend time for ourselves is an individual thing, but try not to get caught up in wanting the perfect version of ‘me’ time, as this defeats the purpose of having ‘me’ time in the first place, and cycles back to feelings of guilt.
If you had an extra 15 minutes, a half hour or an afternoon, what would you do to make yourself feel rejuvenated, relaxed and happy?
Respect your precious time and energy by spending it on tasks, or with people, that matter most to you. You aren’t doing yourself any favours by overscheduling your days and taking time away from necessary self-care and development.
Start learning to say “no” to requests to do things that you don’t really want to, don’t value or don’t bring you satisfaction and joy. Practice by keeping your response simple and be firm and direct. If you need to, consider a compromise, but make sure you stay true to yourself. And know that it’s ok if the other person initially feels upset or disappointed; their feelings are not within your control and remind yourself that you are looking out for you.
Lastly, ask for help. Reach out to your partner, your mum, mother-in-law or a good friend. Just ask! You are worthy of getting a little help so that you can look after yourself. Better yet, if they are old enough, ask the kids to help you get things done, so you can have time just for you later. Everyone will benefit from the experience all around.
I know, I know… whenever others have ‘helped out’ in the past, you often think to yourself that “I could have done it better”. But when you do everything yourself all the time, you can sometimes leave other people feeling inadequate or less confident. Once you let go of your need to control tasks and situations, it will actually empower others to step up, take ownership and responsibility for themselves, and you get to kick back and put your feet up for a bit!
Plan for Fun
So many parents lose themselves in their new lives, struggling to balance being a parent, working, being a homemaker and trying to juggle all of the demands of their lives. But where did all the fun go?
Start living your life, instead of just existing and going from task to task. Just because you became a parent and your workload has increased, it doesn’t mean you should stop enjoying parts of your life. It just means you have to manage it differently than before.
Life was never supposed to be all about dull, boring, monotonous tasks. It’s about fun, adventure and experience. Step outside of your rut over the next week and do something unique just for you – something that will give you a boost and a lift up to feeling inspired, encouraged and excited about life.
Deliberately take some time to have fun. Make you a priority today, because your quality of life depends on it. Make some time to do something that you love to do. Whether it’s with the kids, or whether you have to find someone to look after the kids while you do it. It’s time to shake it up and change your life. Make it your intention today to plan something fun in your life.
What is it you would like to do that would make you feel amazing?
Do you need a new outfit; a new hairstyle?
Could you go skydiving, go dancing or take pole-dancing lessons?
What is something that will bring you alive, make you feel like yourself again and remind you that you are a person with hopes, dreams and aspirations?
Parenthood is one of the most rewarding jobs you can have, but it’s not all of who you are. Nurture yourself and give yourself the attention you deserve. C’mon, you deserve a break!