I made a New Year’s resolution to stay organised and restart my blog (on a weekly basis). This had me thinking about the subject of New Year’s resolutions and how the “right” one could be beneficial to a “Family Team”.
When considering how 90% of New Year’s resolutions are broken soon after they’re made my first thought was; “what type of New Year’s resolution that would be beneficial to the whole family would parents want to keep?” I briefly considered the typical New Year’s resolutions that people make; losing weight, giving up smoking etc. And this had me thinking about the ideal way of viewing a New Year’s resolution that is desirable to want to keep and beneficial for the whole Family Team too!
This smart way of viewing a New Year’s resolution will make it more desirable to keep and thus you and your family can enjoy the benefits. So what is it? – To make a New Year’s resolution to stop feeling guilty about wanting to have some time for both yourself as an individual, and “together-time” with your partner. Guilt is like worry; when it’s allowed to grow out of control it only has a detrimental effect to anything in its path. The solution – to take action! If you manage to do this already – fantastic! Most parents I know already feel guilty as they’re away enough from their family with work feel more guilty at the idea of taking time for themselves. They often avoid doing something for themselves, with their partner, or both.
Think of it this way if you are always in “giving mode”, eventually, as with anything, you will become drained and less able to “give” any quality time to your children. Anything that’s in constant supply needs to be replenished. The way as human-beings that we do that for ourselves is to look after our emotional well-being and ensure we have had time to recharge to enable us to continue giving on a high-quality level. It’s when we don’t do this that we are much more irritable and argumentative and this is not good for either the children, or anyone including yourself.
Starting with yourself, whether you chose fitness or creativity as your “go to” for recharging and relaxing, where you only focus on doing something for yourself that you enjoy, the benefit is still the same. You will feel much more taken care of and better able to handle the demands of modern living.
Just delay the thought of “panicking” for a moment at the idea of a “Guilt-Free” New Year’s resolution also including taking time as a couple. You can still take time for yourself as an individual and give time to your partner without any concern that this is in some way neglectful to your children. It is the latter that seems to be more problematic as when taking time for yourself there is still an adult from the “Family Team” to be with the children. Taking time for each other means both adults are essentially “out”. Let me tell you the solution and how it will benefit everyone.
On 1st December 2013 I read an article in the Telegraph entitled; “No Sex Please, We’re Married”, written by Marital Therapist Andrew G Marshall. He basically put’s forward that despite sex being seemingly everywhere, married couples are less likely to be having sex with each other. He puts the reason forward as partly being modern living – iPhones and iPads etc. providing more distractions. However the main reason is parent’s feeling they need to be “ever present” for their children.
Well the answer to the first distraction from each other is obvious – keep all gadgets out of the bedroom, or at the very least, to a minimal; have a cut off time. The way modern gadgets can add to your “togetherness” is by using them during the day to send flirtatious texts to each other. Andrew G Marshall also put flirting and sexy texts forward as a solution.
So what is the answer to being “ever-present” for your children? Are humans, or any other animal designed to be present 100% of the time for their young? It’s also worth noting here that children actually learn far more effectively when given time to experiment independently. Obviously as children are dependent it’s very important to take care of their needs. There are ways of doing this that don’t have to be completely at the expense of your own needs. Include in their bedtime routine everything that they may call out for your assistance with. Ensure they have been to the toilet. Put a (sensible) drink bottle of water by their bed if you know they get thirsty during the night. Finally, ensure that the bedtime routine includes winding down. Reading stories is a popular and great way to do this as it is calm and relaxing and promote love of books. This “winding-down” routine ensures they are sleeping when you finally say “good-night” to them and leave the room.
I would also greatly urge you to have a policy where children are not permitted to just walk freely in and out of your bedroom and are required to knock only if it is necessary. As they get older put forward a time that they need to wait until before they are permitted to enter your bedroom (still having to knock first). There is no need to feel guilty here for two reasons. First, considered everything that is making you feel guilty – what do you think your child will need you for if they are up very early in the morning when they are probably best of still in bed? Then organised your home to minimalize any need for your presence in the event they do wake up extremely early and don’t go back to sleep. For example, having a stair-gate, ensuring anything inappropriate is out of sight and therefore out of mind, plus sensible safe toys and books for them to amuse themselves with. This is responsible, not selfish. Have expectations – it’s amazing the benefits a little independence can do for young children. Second, by taking care of your own and each other’s needs you put yourselves in a much better position to then focus on your children and be the great parents they deserve.
I once heard J John, a well-known Christian Preacher put forward when addressing married couples; “For goodness sake please have more sex: what do you think Adam and Eve were doing in the Garden of Eden all day long?” – I love it! Also, there is the Hindu Kama Sutra that is all about sexuality. I welcome hearing any other religious (and non-religious) views on the matter of marital sex. So there are no excuses, whatever your background, to feel guilty in any way. Sex is vital to adult well-being and an essential ingredient for a healthy lifestyle. As Karinna Kittles-Karsten, the Sacred Love Guru, puts forward; by maintaining a good sex-life it will help you both remain emotionally “full” (i.e. not drained) and able to “give”. Hence you will undoubtedly make better decisions and be better parents, partners and people for it. This will bring the whole “Family Team” closer together and strengthen you all as a unit. It’s also worth noting that it will help set you both apart as the figures of authority within the “Family Team”. Don’t believe me? – Try it!