Wow, life really is a balancing act.
Can I start this by firstly saying that I don’t have all the answers, I just have a theory which I’m working towards putting into practice.
As this week’s theme is “Bond”, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to explore how we bond with our babes as well as bond with ourselves. But as I started to think about this I realised this is an area of my life at the moment that needs serious work.
When I had baby number one, it was relatively easy to let go and accept that I wasn’t at work and I had all the time in the world to embrace this new role I was in. I was surprised, however, how quickly this time passed and I was back to balancing not just work and personal life, but the additional family life. This was my choice, I might add.
With the arrival of baby number two and the decision not to return to work, but to start a small business, the balancing act became just that little bit harder. Now I’m balancing the pressure of biz life, a high maintenance toddler, hubby’s hectic work schedule and a fast growing baby boy. I’m finding that the area of my life that is losing out, is bonding. Not just with my children, but with myself. I’m spending all my time just getting shit done.
The moments of being able to bond with my kids individually is rare, and the opportunity to have that precious “me time” is almost none existent. One thing I’ve quickly realised, if I want those things included in my life, if I value them, they too need to be scheduled in.
I know, it sounds ridiculous to say that I need to schedule in time to bond with my children, but the reality is time is precious and there just isn’t enough of it. I feel as though I’ve already lost so much time with my baby boy, who just turned one so is technically not a baby any more. I was so surprised how quickly the time with him has gone and how fleeting his newborn days were.
You will never have this day with your children again. Tomorrow they will be little bigger than they are today. This day is a gift. Breathe and notice. Smell and touch them; study their faces and little feet and pay attention. Relish the charms of the present. Enjoy today mama. It will be over before you know it. ~Merle Rose
So, back to scheduling.
Anyone who is trying to run their own business as a mama will tell you, that the to-do list is always endless and you never have enough time. But the trap is to allow this work life, and it is work life regardless of how passionate you are about it, monopolise your days. It will creep into the craziest of times without you even realising it. You’re playing with your kids in the family room with the laptop open, fingers tapping away, you’re soothing your kids to sleep with your phone in hand.
In a world where the practice of mindfulness is the latest hot topic, this is the epitome of NOT being in the present moment.
The clincher for me was when I went to rub my 4 year old daughters back at bedtime and she told me I’d forgotten my phone. Ouch.
So, here it is.
Schedule in some bonding time with your kids. No phone, no laptop, no errands, no distractions.
I use to grapple with those midweek days where both kids were at home. Trying to get work done for 5 min here, 2 min there, maybe 30 minutes in a row if I’m lucky and the stars align. The thing is, I’m not focusing 100% on work and I’m not focusing 100% on the kids. I’m doing neither justice and causing myself stress and guilt.
This is not to say that this is the only time you truly spend with your kids. But this is important time so that they know your attention is on them and you don’t cloud that line between work and family. This time is also non-negotiable. It’s as important as going to the bathroom when you’re really busting. You don’t forego a bathroom trip just because you have an important email to write…well, at least I hope you don’t.
Even if things crop up, even if you have deadlines and last minute emergencies, your bonding time with your kids is simply part of your day. That’s the bottom line.
You may not be in a position where you need to consider spending more attentive time with your kids and that’s great. But if you know that you are teetering on the edge of missing the most precious years of their lives, then re-adjust now!
The second part of your bonding schedule is you. That’s right, uninterrupted, no phone, no laptop, no work, 100% self indulgent “me time”. It doesn’t have to be a particularly long period of time, you’ll be scraping the barrel to get any, but it has to exist.
Not only is this important for your own sanity, health & wellbeing but it will make you a more creative, fresh thinking and effective worker. Plus, the people around you, ie your kids, will appreciate the difference it makes.
So, put down your phone and laptop (once you’ve finished reading this) and bond baby, bond!
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