Parenting And Priorities

When I work with parents I always like to look at the big picture.  I tell clients that everything is interconnected.  All aspects of our lives affect our parenting so it’s never just about how to discipline effectively.

A common theme I hear is how busy parents are and there never seems to be time to just relax and enjoy each other.  Everyone is constantly coming and going.  It usually looks something like this:  Up at 6ish, shower and dress then get the kids up and ready to go to school or daycare, quickly eat breakfast then make a mad dash out the door to get everyone in the car so Mom and/or Dad can get to work on time.  When the work day is finished it’s then going from work to the daycare or after school care to pick up the kids then back home to get dinner ready.  After dinner it’s bath, stories and bed and then clean up and start getting ready for the next day.  For some people that takes a couple of hours because there’s bills to pay, lunches to make, laundry to be done, mail to go through, etc, etc.

We’re told over and over again that life is about balance and we’re happier if we can somehow balance our lives between work and fun.  It seems too many people never get to the fun part because if they’re not working at their day job, they’re working at home, managing the household.  How then can we achieve some kind of balance when there is only so many hours in the day?

As a parenting coach, my biggest concern is that with all the craziness that goes with a busy schedule we simply can’t be the best parents we can be.  A tired and stressed parent that feels pulled in multiple directions tends to yell more and is less tolerant than those that take time to nurture themselves in some way.  It’s all about priorities.  If you’re a parent with a job outside the home, then you have two full-time jobs because parenting and running a home is a full-time job.  In order to make more time for fun and recreation, we have to give up something else.  It might mean giving up some of the house work and hiring a cleaning service or it might mean choosing to live closer to work so you can cut down on comuting time.  It might mean considering part-time work instead of full-time.  Sometimes when you look at all the costs associated with full-time employment, part-time makes more sense.

Our kids deserve to see the best of us and it’s up to us to ensure we orchestrate our lives in a way that makes fun and relaxation a priority.  Take a hard look at all the things you do in a week – write everything down and see what you can either eliminate or delegate.  If you have young children, remember they’re only young once and what they want from you more than anything is your time and attention.  They won’t thank you for spending extra time at the office so you could live in the big house or own two big cars or have all the latest gadgets.  What kind of memories do you want to create?  Every single day we’re creating memories.  We want them to be positive.  What are the values you consider the most important to live by?  Are you living by those values right now?

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