Parents, you must keep a life for yourself and your spouse. Why? Because kids will leave your house one day, without hesitation… and then what?
I lived in South Florida for over 24 years and I learned to respect bad weather. Every year we make sure we are stocked up with batteries, flashlights, water, non-perishables, maps, etc., and we have a plan should the weather turn for the worst.
When we moved to Alabama, I didn’t really think my daughters paid much attention to our plans. One day, my husband and I were watching the weather channel and the girls overheard the reports about a tornado warning not too far from us. (Just to set the record, no one likes bad weather, but I would rather face back to back hurricanes than 1 tornado threat!)
While my husband and I were glued to the television watching the reports, I noticed that I hadn’t heard anything from the girls, and when things get quiet, I get concerned! I went to check on them and I found them in the bathroom tub with their blankets and all their favorite toys!
After sneaking a picture of their “Kodak moment” set up, it occurred to me that there was no room for me or my husband. I asked them about it and the conversation was surprisingly short:
Me: Where are Daddy and I going to go?
Triniti: In YOUR bathroom!
Tori: On the toilet!
I stood speechless. I didn’t know if I should have been proud that they knew what to do in the threat of a tornado or should I have been hurt because they kicked me out of their plans for safety?
I decided to pray that it didn’t seriously come down to us joining their little party. I also declared at that moment, that neither my happiness nor my retirement plans would depend on them!
We love our children, and they love us, but make no mistake, they will pack their bags and leave our homes without looking back, one day…hopefully. It is important to invest in yourself and your marriage and make sure you are living a well-balanced life because children are little people that will take care of themselves first and just might leave you hanging out to dry.
Establish a Date “Night”
Take some time out each month to spend time with your spouse. One day a month doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is worth the investment.
Be creative. Dates don’t have to be traditional and they don’t have to be at night. Since we don’t get out much these days, my husband and I have had our dates riding bikes together. It is amazing how the conversation and laughter wheels start turning when we bike ride (pun intended). Occasionally, the girls will come with us, but they know that bike riding is our time together.
Get Your Exercise
I cannot tell you how important it is to stay healthy and exercise. Studies show that exercising improves your mental health, heart health, energy, blood sugar levels, and weight, just to name a few.
You want your children to see you care for your body so that they will care for theirs. Also, you want to be around to see them with their own children and maybe even grandchildren. So exercise and eat right!
Find a Hobby
A few weeks back I attempted to make a face shield. I found a YouTube video that showed me how to make a face shield with a sheet protector and a headband. My daughter walked into the room just as I finished the face shield and I laughed at my major fail! I chuckled and told her, “I need a life”!
My daughter responded seriously, “Mommy, you have a life! You sew, you craft and make things, you write, you do voice-overs …I need a life…but I wouldn’t wear that outside of the house!”
I honestly never thought she noticed my hobbies.
Let your child see you have some “playtime” for yourself. It will help them to seek ways to entertain themselves and find inner peace when the world around them seems a little chaotic.
Keep In Touch With Friends
Many years ago, I posted on Facebook “I have over 700 friends and no one to babysit”. Fast forward over 8 years later and it’s the same thing, only now I have close to 2,000 friends! (I need to purge a few!)
Spend time with your friends.
Social media friends do NOT count.
Other than my sisters, there are just a handful of people (actually, less than 4) that I consider to be close friends. Nurture those friendships. Even though you can’t hang out with them every weekend as you did in your 20’s, you can still call them and carve out a special time for them. Text them to check on them. Pray for them and let them know you are praying for them.
Jesus had a friendship circle outside of his disciples. He spent time with them and was there for them when he could be. We should do the same.
Go With Mommy’s Choice
We sacrifice so much when it comes to being a parent. There were times when I would give up everything from television shows to what we ate for take-out. I remember the day I decided that we WOULD go to my favorite sushi restaurant and NOT go to where the girls wanted to go. They cried and complained all the way until I made them taste their first California roll. THEY LOVED IT! Now sushi is their favorite treat.
If you are constantly sacrificing what you enjoy doing to do what the kids want to do, STOP THAT! It may be hard to tell your child that you are going to Texas Road House instead of Chick-fil-a because “Mommy and Daddy want steak instead of chicken strips”, but you can do it!
Doing what you want to do sometimes will teach your children how to compromise and it will show them that the world does NOT revolve around them.
You were a cool person before kids, show them that you still are! What you want to do matters – make sure your children understand that!
Little POW-wow, Pearls of Wisdom
· Don’t confuse self-care with selfishness. Even Jesus got away from it all to pray and practice self-care. Read Luke chapter 5.
· I always hear people use the “airplane oxygen mask” analogy to explain why self-care is important. You’ve probably heard it, but it is so true. You have to put your mask on first before you can help the person next to you. Take care of yourself so that you CAN take care of your children.
· Are there any hobbies or pastimes you have sacrificed since you became a parent? How can you reclaim your life?
· Write out a few ways you can start to carve out a life for yourself today. Even if you only make a declaration to “get a life”, do it today!
Tune My Heart…
“Eye of the Tiger” is a song by the rock band, Survivor. It is from their third album and was the theme song of the movie Rocky III. It was released in 1982, and I don’t know of any list of 80s songs that doesn’t include this song.
I selected “Eye of the Tiger” because it might be a fight for you to “get a life”, and this song is the unofficial, all-time, FIGHT SONG!
Traci D. Fuller, Pearls and Pretty Pens © 2020