At the beginning of the year many people make New Year’s resolutions such as “to join a gym”, “give up smoking” and “eat more healthily” etc. which, after January – if they get that far (!) – they don’t keep. This had me thinking about the subject of New Year’s resolutions. First, whether there is a resolution may be easier to keep. Second what type of New Year’s resolution would be beneficial to the whole “Family Team”.
Statistically it’s around 90% of New Year’s resolutions that are broken soon after they’re made. So I have a tough task on my hands finding a New Year’s resolution that first parents will want to make and keep. Plus, second a resolution that will; benefit the whole “Family Team”!! – Or do I?! When thinking more about the types of resolutions people make and break I realised that they are all related to habits that people find hard to change/ give up. So what habit is #desirable enough that people would feel happy to “do more of”, and one that would bring benefits to the whole “Family Team”?!!
The #smart way of viewing a New Year’s resolution is to make them more desirable to keep and thus you and your family can enjoy the benefits. So what New Year’s Resolution would do this? – 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 spouse/ partner. Guilt is like worry; when it is allowed to grow out of control it only has a detrimental effect to everything in its path. There is also an expression that states; “guilt is an excuse to focus on yourself.” Interestingly, certain experiences I had growing up led me to go through a briefly “negative” phase during my mid-late teens. Now, as an adult, I am grateful for that experience because it has helped me to understand the “pessimistic way of thinking”. I have to be honest; when I was going through this phase I felt guilty to the extent it was like having the World’s guilt upon my shoulders! – Guess where my #focus was??!! – Yep – you’ve got – on me!! When I realised this the humanitarian in me felt disgusted and even more guilty!! – More self-focus!!
The solution is simple – take action! If you have managed to do this already – fantastic! Most parents I know, as they both have to work, already feel guilty because they are away enough from their family with work. So the thought of taking time to spend both for themselves and together makes them feel even more guilty! Hence, they often avoid doing something for themselves, with their partner, or both. J
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, yourself, your partner – anyone. Anything that is in #constant #supply must be #replenished to last. The way as human-beings that we do this 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 take time to do this that we are much more irritable and argumentative and this is not good for the children, your spouse/ partner or yourself.
Starting with yourself – Whatever your chosen “go to” for recharging and relaxing, whether it is fitness, creativity, or even just some time for yourself to read/ take a relaxing bath; when you only focus on doing something for yourself that you enjoy, the benefit is still the same. You will feel far more taken care of and better able to handle the demands of modern living. It also provides a way to naturally create the “space” within your relationship to help it remain vibrant and this will actually bring you both closer together as a couple. This is because in taking space you create more desire to spend time together as an opportunity is provided to miss each other! Plus, it will also enable you to bring “fresh energy” to your relationship with your spouse/ partner and children; trust me – they’ll feel the difference.
Taking time together: please just delay the thought of “panicking” about the idea of actually making a “Guilt-Free” New Year’s resolution that includes both taking time for yourself and as a couple for just one moment. I promise you that 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 essentially means both adults are “out”. Let me tell you the solution and how it will benefit everyone.
I just want to put forward first that anyone thinking; “Yes, well it’s all very well talking about ideals; in reality……” – #Stop right there!! – It’s lack of vision, Not lack of time! May I remind you of the expression; “Where there’s a will there’s a way”!! There is definitely nothing idealistic about wanting to have time for yourself, plus spend more quality time with your partner – even if you don’t have family near to babysit. Any mention of this sensible and frankly necessary suggestion as not being realistic is an excuse not to make any effort!! – Please, don’t make excuses. – If you are struggling to achieve this yourself there are Experts available to help.
Ok, at the beginning of December 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. The reason he puts forward is partly being modern living – iPhones and iPads etc. providing more distractions. However the main reason he cites is parent’s feeling they need to be “ever present” for their children.
Well the answer/ solution 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. There is a way modern gadgets can add to your “togetherness”; using phones and tablets during the day to send flirtatious texts to each other creates the type of excited anticipation that “newly in love teenagers” feel and increases your connection. Andrew G Marshall also put flirting and sexy texts forward as a solution.
So what’s the answer to being “ever-present” for your children? Think for a moment; are humans, or any other animal designed to be present 100% of the time for their young? It’s worth noting here that children actually learn far more effectively when given time to experiment independently. Obviously as children are dependents it’s very important to take care of their needs. Please note – their needs, Not their wants!! There are ways of doing this that don’t have to be completely at the expense of your own needs. For example, with the bedtime routine many families experience children often calling out for their parent’s assistance in some way. Simply create a routine that avoids the need for this as everything has already been taken care of within the bedtime routine; please see my article on “How to make bedtime a Day-Dream and Not a Nightmare”! I demonstrate here how you can create a routine that ensures saying “good-night” means 9 out of 10 times they will be asleep until the morning. Hence you have already created some quality time to spend with your partner.
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 to 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 consider 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 organise 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, have a bathroom stool (the small ones) that will enable them to use the toilet by themselves, plus sensible, safe toys and books for them to amuse themselves with. This is responsible, not selfish. Second, I really encourages you to set some expectations – Trust me, you get what you expect!! – It’s amazing the benefits a little independence will do for young children. By taking time to care for your own and each other’s needs you put yourselves in a much better position to then focus fully on your children during the quality time set aside for them. Note; you’ll find that you actually have quality time to set aside for them when you allow yourself to compartmentalise how this is all possible! This way you can truly begin to be the Great parents you want to be and that your children deserve.
You’ll definitely agree that another obvious benefit from creating more time to spend together is increased #intimacy! Before you start feeling guilty, consider this:
I once heard a well-known Christian Preacher called J John, 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. This is even supported by religions 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 Expert, puts forward; by maintaining a good sex-life it will help you both remain emotionally “full” (i.e. not drained) and able to “give” more. 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 set you both apart as the figures of authority within the “Family Team” and naturally gain your children’s respect! This is because people who have expectations demonstrate they have a personal #standard that they live by and thus expect others – regardless of whether it means they’ll be liked, or not – to treat them the same. This is #attractive as it is the opposite of being needy. Don’t believe me? – Try it!
For more information please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or message me on Instagram/ Twitter @FamilyTeamCoach, or on Facebook/LinkedIn at: Paula-Elizabeth Jordan, thank-you!