Remember cycling-great Lance Armstrong’s book,
It’s Not About the Bike?
In it, he tackles the subject of cancer recovery in an inspiring, meaningful way. The title of his book got me thinking: How many of us as parents forget that we have our own identities independent of parenting, or during the process of parenting? It’s not selfish to feed your personality - and it may even add quality to the time you spend with your kids.
I forget to do that, sometimes. I’ll be grumbling as I make yet another round of sandwiches which will probably come home half-eaten in the lunchboxes
, instead of taking time to chat to my children while I do it.
Maybe they’ll wake me up three nights in a row with real or imagined nightmares or illnesses, and I’ll moan about my own exhaustion rather than explore the root of their sleeplessness.
Perhaps I’ll get annoyed with them for not tidying up after a glitter craft project
, or for leaving their clothes concertinaed on the bathroom floor, instead of thinking up clever management systems, such as reward charts.
Too many of those kinds of drudgeries, and it’s easy to have resentment build up. And it’s in no way their fault - I’m the one who needs to take responsibility for them, but also for my own happiness.
I’m not talking about real depression
, which makes it almost impossible to function, but just general grumpy-parent syndrome. In some ways, though, the symptoms can be similar- especially when you’re not doing the things you used to love doing.
Sure, my kids laugh out loud at my choices of music, or stare in disbelief when I show them something I can do that they have never seen me do, but in doing those things I enjoy, like painting, playing guitar, or even writing, they get to see me being fulfilled. Even better, I sometimes share the experience with them, and they can see me as a human being rather than a one-dimensional parent-figure.
You could take a day off parenting to go and feed your soul a little- dust off something you used to love, but have neglected, or just squash the routine and do something with your kids that is completely new and unusual.
Parenting is, of course, ALL about the kids, but don’t forget, it’s also about YOU, and your strategy for keeping it fun, and for your own growth as a person through the parenting experience.
Would your children know how to answer if they were asked “what’s dad’s favourite colour or rock band, or mom’s favourite hobby or movie actor?” (It’s actually quite fun to ask them questions like those- you may hear some funny answers).What do you do when you feel like you need some “me-time”? Send us an email to email@example.com and you could win a R250 kalahari.com voucher.