As parents we are trying to do it all. Clothe, feed, clean, make money, drive, shop, budget, stay active, repeat. It’s a never ending juggling act. Every 400km or so you stop your car and refuel it with more energy to last the next 400km. So let me ask you this: do you do this with your body and mind? Do you stop every 400km and refuel and recharge? Likely not. For whatever reason we are programmed as parents (especially moms) to put ourselves last, or even worse, to never put ourselves anywhere on the list. It’s literally impossible to keep going on fumes; ask your car.
When was the last time you took a day to fill your tank? Even just a few hours away from your phone, your work, and the household chores can make a world of difference. I try to consciously put breaks into my schedule in order to consistently recharge from my regular daily routine. Here’s are just some ways I pre-plan my refuel stops:
- Daily refuels. EVERY SINGLE DAY. I plan either workouts, walks, breaths of fresh air, or anything I know will revive me. Even if I have a dog pulling on the leash, a husband in the background asking questions, or a kid jumping on my back, this time is what I want it to be.
- Weekly refuels. AKA ALONE time. Think quality and not quantity. Even if it is just 10 minutes, it helps restore my body, mind and spirit. Ive tried mini meditation sessions, yoga videos, alone time reading, or just simple quiet ponders doing nothing.
- Monthly refuels. AWAY from the everyday. Here I plan for larger chunks of time every month where I go to the local coffee shop and read, take in a solo meal or movie, go to a new class by myself, or head out for a girlfriend night out. This is time doing something I want to do away from the daily and weekly task lists and noise of home.
- Annual holidays. No MATTER how big or small. Out of the house. Out of my routine. Out of some responsibilities. Think family overnight camp trip, a night in a hotel, a visit to helpful family members for the weekend, a beach holiday, or just dropping the kidlet off at grandma’s house for an overnight. This doesn’t have to be costly and it can include all family members……the key here is to retreat away somewhere.
Breaking it down into smaller parts really helps me. It’s not always about taking off for days on end. That can seem overwhelming to tackle if you have four kids, a few pets and a partner that is always away (or even one kid and a partner that’s home daily). What I am encouraging you to do is to watch for the gas light in your ‘car’. This is the warning sign that you are running low on fuel and you need to stop ignoring it. If you don’t, at one point, if you haven’t already, you will run out of gas. Running on empty effects not just our bodies and our spirits but also effects our relationships with our kids, partners, friends, house work, careers, sleep, routine etc. etc. etc. So ask yourself here and now, where is your fuel gauge pointing to?