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Parental Personal Time

Brigid Fox | Brevard, NC

This morning, we were discussing our health and how we can care for our bodies to promote our wellness. The children all had wonderful suggestions and comments. I shared with them the basic expectations of hand washing (running water as well as creating friction with the hands), drinking plenty of water (we noticed that if running water could help “wash” the germs off the outside, that maybe drinking plenty of water could help the germs move through the inside), eating fruits and veggies (protein and carbs too), and sleep.  

Many of the children spoke about how tired and sleepy they felt. Sometimes even with a good night’s sleep, they are challenged to fully wake themselves. Deep breaths, simulating the sunrise with lighting (unless you have the real thing going on outside, in which case open those curtains), or making a routine of greeting the morning may improve their alertness and attentiveness to preparing for the day. All sounds lovely, except then there are the other parts of the family world that make it a challenge to find the time and creativity to inspire a cheerful waking.  

As a parent, we learn along the way how to form routines that make our days easier.  I remember staying up long after my kids went to bed, calling it my “me time,” when actually it was a time to rush through chores so the tomorrow wouldn’t overwhelm me.  I would then drag myself out of bed the following morning feeling put upon by external forces and not really understanding how I was still feeling pretty overwhelmed as the hard working, loving being that I was.  

Later I found a new way. I began to notice that in spite of early waking up, the precious silent time in the morning was mine for the taking.  

The possibility is to think of your best morning wake up. What can change a drudgery into an opportunity, or at least supply a flash of joy, peace, or beauty – inspiring you to be your best self.  Maybe it is a stretch, a deep breath of gratitude (even if just for the fact that you wake up breathing), maybe it is a time of silence letting go of the lists and challenges and just sitting in the moment, maybe it is a jog, or a bike ride, or sitting with a cup of coffee and your favorite book.

Next, back your alarm up, so that you have time to give yourself that gift – maybe 1 minute, maybe 1 hour. We do not hesitate to support our children’s wellbeing, so why would we hesitate to support our own? After all, we are better humans when we feel cared for, yes? By making this small change in your schedule, you may actually feel inspired to head to bed earlier the night before.

Make this practice something to look forward to. Make it fit you. While you take care of your physical body, you can also tell yourself how much you are valued by your community, valued by your own self, and begin to know how very important you are to each minute – and I assure you, you are.

If you already have this time built into your schedule, but still feel waking up is the hardest part of the day, think how you can indulge a bit more, giving yourself a little extra “cup of goodness.” We are all parts of this great web of existence and need each other at our best to help create the beauty that we want our lives and our children’s lives to be.

After experiencing your best wake up, you may notice more patience, more compassion, more understanding. You may find that you have all the time needed to prepare, gather, and depart. Then again, you may not. I encourage you to keep working with yourself and your personal time until you have found the right inspiration for you.  

Your children will still need help: “I can’t do it by myself!!” They will still throw some curve balls: “Mom, I forgot my shoes.” They will still move, what seems to be intentionally, slowly, and you may still run late. But for that moment before all woke up, that time you had to soak in the beauty of the natural world, that instant that you felt the joy of your living, the 5 seconds of peace that you actually felt, things were perfect!

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