Boundaries - your best friend
In my last post, I spoke about self-care. I hope that you were encouraged to simplify life, get creative and/or speak up, to make this possible. Today, as I bring this series to a close I want to discuss two sanity savers that may at first seem to contradict one another. Bear with me and hopefully you will see how the one makes the other possible.
Maintain the status quo
The last few months of the year are generally packed full with end of year prize-giving’s, functions, parties, concerts and graduations. This usually means routine goes out the window and meals on the run become more common as well as late nights. Routine helps provide kids with a sense of security and without it; many kids act out or become clingy. Add too much junk food and lack of sleep into the mix and you have a recipe for mayhem!
By maintaining the status quo, you are trying to control what you can and provide some type of consistency for your family. Examples can include making healthier choices for take-out options, keeping a cooler bag with cold water and a few snacks with you for those times when a function runs over time and blood sugar levels drop, along with everyone’s sense of humour or holding the line when it come to discipline. It can be tempting to let bad behaviour slide when the pressure is on but when left, it will only get worse and make an already stressful time even more stressful. During busy and stressful times, kids enjoy some predictability and feeling that there is a sense of order. Basic things like a shortened version of their bedtime routine can do wonders for calming your little one after a busy day or a story and cuddle instead of watching TV, can calm an over stimulated mind and help with a good night sleep.
Lastly, speak to your spouse at the beginning of this busy season and decide which invites to accept and which to turn down. I spoke to a mommy the other day that says for the last few weeks, they have been averaging 2-3 parties a weekend!!! This is madness and not sustainable. Learning to say no, the art of setting boundaries is a gift that will keep on giving.
Make time for fun
I’m all about living a balanced life. However, when life gets busy and our schedules are
overwhelmed, we tend to discard balance and just focus on getting through the day, the week, the month or the rest of the year. It is during these times that taking time for fun, to bond as a family is the most important. Take the initiative and plan some fun activities into your families’ schedule. Then guard this time like the precious gem that it is.
The key to making time for fun in busy periods is to get creative. Become a tourist of your own back yard. The healthy take-away you picked up at the drive through on the way home? Put a blanket on your lawn and turn it into a moonlit picnic; when you’re done eating lie back and do some star gazing. (Don’t forget the bug spray.) Turn the TV off and play some games, turn the TV ON and watch a movie or series together. One of my favourite memories as a mom of younger kids was finding a Christmas movie to watch on a hot December afternoon to escape the busy malls, the sun or sometimes a thunder storm.
Whatever you do, make an effort to relax (it helps to leave your cellphone inside) and be present in the moment. I am no longer in this season of life but it is true what so many told me ... these years disappear in the blink of an eye. Do what you can to enjoy them, to not only survive but thrive!
I hope you have enjoyed this series and that it has provoked some thought or provided some inspiration. Thanks for taking the time to read this, please feel free to contact me with any comments or questions. I would love to hear from you.
On a more serious note ...
I am a counsellor based on the East Rand of Johannesburg. Life can be hard sometimes but I
encourage you to contact me should you feel that you are not coping. I offer individual, couples and family counselling as well as parent coaching. There is no shame in reaching out for help; in fact to me there is no stronger person than one who is willing to ask for help.