I'm reading a book called 'Perfect Madness', and it is doing me the world of good! This book is about how our society has become SO child-centred, that we forget parents are not just parents, but people with needs such as time alone, exercise, intimacy with their partners, and intellectual challenge. We forget that nourishing our marriages is vital, not just for ourselves, but also for the sake of providing happy homes for our kids. We sometimes become so focused on the immediate demands of our children, that we forget part of our responsibility as parents is to provide good role models for our sons and daughters, who will one day be parents themselves. We need to show by example that most parents need some time away to pursue an outside interest, be it work or hobby or sport, and that this is normal; it is not bad or wrong. Being rejuvenated by time apart from our kids makes us better and happier parents all the rest of the time.
This book also deplores how crazy we let our lives become.... taking our children to endless rounds of play-dates and birthday parties.... driving around to soccer, ballet, swimming, piano lessons... baking chocolate fudge at 11 pm for school bake stalls...attending P&C meetings...working (in the home or in paid work)...organising (library books, school forms, lunch money, packed lunches...the list never ends)...shopping for food, clothes, and birthday presents for all those birthday parties our kids attend!.....and that's without even mentioning all the feeding, bathing, dressing, entertaining, soothing and settling of our kids!! I know I am guilty of taking on too much, and then becoming stressed and cranky and tired. I think we need to draw the line sometimes. We need to say 'No, sorry - I won't be able to, this time' more often. Because although we might like to think we are superhumans, we are not, and we and our children suffer when we overextend ourselves.
Now any parent out there who is reading this, and who loves the frenetic whirl of activity, who thrives on each parenting challenge and never tires, never needs a break.... please don't comment!! You will only make me feel inadequate. For those of you who can relate to anything I've said... be kind to yourself this weekend. And don't feel guilty if you take a moment (or preferably at least an hour!) for yourself. You deserve it!
For those of you whose children have grown and left home - I congratulate you for the job you have done in raising your children. Enjoy your weekend, too!