It’s that time again. I can’t believe how fast the summers seem to skip bye sometimes. Is summer really the same amount of days as all the other seasons? The light is slowly starting to fade as we gently roll into autumn. I wonder how we can make this transition smoother? It is often fret with shopping, driving, getting lunches together, school clothes, running off to work, and how on earth to get kids to bed early and wake up early to get to school on time. Parents are often up late getting things together. Unfortunately lack of sleep, exhaustion, and stress is not a good recipe for a peaceful home. I wonder if it is possible to slow down in the face of all this change. To be aware and witness what is happening. To notice with your senses the different smells in the air, the way your body feels and moves, your breath, your emotions, flavors, and sounds. Remember to be with and notice the change that is happening with your whole self. This awareness can help us to slow down and be present with our partners, children, friends, and anyone we come into contact with. If we don’t notice we can’t appreciate the beauty that is all around us at every moment. When we appreciate the beauty we create a beautiful life that we can share with everyone.
In order for us to be more present and engaged with our life in the moment it is important to slow down when we can. We need to take good care of ourselves so that we can as parents and people be there to support our kids and others in our lives. As parents we give so much every day to our children. This time of year often calls us to extend and stretch even more. It is important for us to plan ahead for our own needs. When we can take care of our own needs, then we have more patience and space to be present and loving with our children. When we can be more present and loving with our family then we often enjoy life more. Try to take time during your day to check in with yourself. Try to identify what you are feeling. Every feeling is connected to a need that is either being met or not being met. Try to identify what need your feeling is connected to. Perhaps you are feeling stressed because you have a need for peace and your children are fighting. Perhaps you are feeling happy because you have a need for space, and you just dropped the kids off at school. When you can get in touch with your own feelings and needs then you can attend to them.
Many times we as parents lose touch with our own needs because we are so busy taking care of others. If you forget to do this you can even set a little timer to remind you so that you get in the habit of checking in with yourself. At first you can try to do it 3 times per day. You may need a moment to rest and to sit down with a cup of tea. Maybe you are tired and you realize that you need to get to bed early tonight. You can then plan how to make that happen. Your own needs are just as important as the laundry, the dishes, etc and you can let some things slide in order to take care of yourself. You may be feeling sad because you have a need to connect with friends outside of being a parent. Once you realize what you are feeling and needing you can plan how you will take care of yourself in that way. Another idea for busy parents and people is to take a little time to make a short list of what your needs are. You can then determine whether you think it would be important to take care of that need on a daily, weekly, or monthly level, and how you will do that. Maybe you need a break daily and you can plan when and how. That could mean taking a bath when the kids go to bed, or making sure you lay down for a 10 minute rest during your day. If you have a need for exercise you can plan ahead how and when you will get that need met. Maybe it means going for a jog or fast walk with the baby jogger, or waking up early to go to the gym by yourself. Many parents have a need for a weekly or monthly date night with each other or out with friends. Plan it ahead if you can to make sure it will happen. Find a friend to swap childcare if you don’t have a sitter. I know some needs may feel impossible to fulfill, but try to be creative in getting some of your needs met. This time as a parent is not forever. This will change and one day in the future you may even be wondering what to do with all your free time!