Wednesday, November 14, 2018

9 Ways for Parents to Recharge

10 Minute Pick-Me Ups for Tired Parents

Last night was glorious. My husband and I sat for one entire segment of a sit-com from one commercial break to the other without any interruptions. Except, that is, for the occasional banging of any of the 5 pairs of children’s feet on the floor above us. But that was OK – no one came downstairs. My husband worked on matching socks from the sock basket (yay!) – and I just sat. We could hear what the actors were saying, laughed at even the inappropriate innuendos, and I ended up crying because during a scene when parents are taking their child to college because, well, I’m a mom. Those 10 minutes of uninterrupted adulthood gave me enough oomph to get me through the rest of the day with a smile on my face. And they reminded me of how we do just need to sometimes give ourselves a 10-minute-time-out to recharge.

1. Write a Letter

We are all probably texting and emailing throughout the day, but nothing compares to actually hand writing a letter to a friend. Take 10 minutes to pen a note to someone who you think about, but don’t always have the time to chat with over coffee. When your note arrives in your friend’s mailbox, those minutes she takes to read that surprise letter will be her own pick-me-up for the day.

2. Do Karaoke

I was not blessed with a voice for singing, but my face can’t help but smile when I belt out a tune on the Wii sing-along game, especially if it is old school rock. If you’re not up for a video game version, find your favorite CD and sing along – loudly (yes – you can listen to something other than nursery rhymes or whatever Bieber song your tween has on looping play mode).

3. Have a Secret Stash

Your stash should be something that lifts your spirits – chocolate, a basket of favorite magazines, a pocket Sudoku game – anything you reserve just for you. It might be a few good books that are easy reads and support your busy life, like Creating a Charmed Life: Sensible, Spiritual Secrets Every Busy Woman Should Know. Or it can be like my secret winter stash of flavored teas, perfect for sharing with girlfriends when they stop over for their 10-minute-pick-me-up.

4. Hide in the Closet

Yes – I really do this. When all else fails, I walk in and lean against the soft stack of sweaters and close my eyes. I don’t have to turn on the light, and for a few minutes I feel invisible. The closet also does an amazing job of blocking out the sounds of the house enough so that I can hear myself think. Your quiet zone doesn’t have to be a closet, but try to find a place in the house – just a little corner – where you feel like you can breathe.

5. Homemade Spa Kit

Keep a basket or bin with homemade spa kit supplies you can use to take a break from stress, right in your own home. The goal of this is to calm and refresh your senses, so include things in the kit that will address your various senses in ways that make you feel better. Some of my favorites are:

  • Ear plugs
  • An eye mask
  • A lotion that smells really good
  • A small, soft pillow I can place behind my neck or lower back.
  • A package of peppermints

This is also a great gift you can make for a girlfriend!

6. You Shall Not Pass!

If your home is like mine, doors are like revolving turntables – people are in and out faster than the wind, and privacy is almost as rare as a spring day in Chicago without wind. Hang a Door Not Disturb sign on your bedroom door and close it. Don’t forget to tell the kids that when the door hanger is in place that means 10 minutes of quiet behind the door for you. Last weekend I even got to nap for those 10 minutes.

7. Duo Dessert

Family dinners around here are usually loud, elbow knocking, ketchup dribbling events as my husband and I sit at opposite ends of the table, corralling 5 children between us. Save a special dessert for just you and your partner to share in a 10 minute quiet moment, after the dishes are done and the kids have scattered. Even if it is just the last cookie you found hiding in the jar, sharing a sweet treat can help slow things down in life, if only for a few minutes, and remind you that you are partners in the journey.

8. An Outdoor Chore

For whatever reason 3-year-olds must think that parents will drown in the toilet without their toddler supervision. Even though my kids are growing older and outgrowing the need to follow us everywhere, some of them still think that while parents do their business in the bathroom that is the most opportune time to have a conversation – right through the bathroom door. I’ve even had notes slid under the door while I’m showering. Come on, people, it can wait! So when I’m getting kid-claustrophobic, I head outside to do something I know the kids won’t want to do – put the garbage cans away, sweep the garage, etc. – and I get instant private time. If I plan it well, I can spend 10 minutes talking with my husband in peace and quiet while it looks like we are contemplating the gutters that we don’t have installed.

9. Pray

Praying, meditating, and reaching beyond our immediate chaos of parenting really can help us get recharged. I recently inhereited a book of meditations and prayers from my great-grandmother. As I was flipping through the book I found a quotation she had copied on a scrap of paper from 1972. It reads:

We pray to God for all our needs
In faith we go on seeking!
But do we listen long enough
To hear if God is speaking?

- D.A. Hoover

As parents let’s give time for ourselves, and time to hear what we might be missing. Chances are the things we are so worried about missing – the PTA meeting, the art class, the ringing phone, the doorbell – are the things we can set aside to make room for our lives.

Related posts:

  1. 7 Strategies for Exhausted Parents
  2. 7 Ways for Moms to Manage Stress
  3. Parents Are Helping Their Children Fail

View full post on Parenting Tips For Raising Successful Kids |

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