During the past three years, I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by an amazing number of parents and caregivers that seamlessly take care of multiple children, pets and households. We all manage to juggle jobs, practice schedules, meals, play dates, ball games, doctor’s appointments, bills, home repairs and a small attempt at a social life with amazing grace.
Understandably, when asked why we don’t take even an hour out of the day for ourselves to exercise, we respond “I don’t have time! My day is totally filled!” When asked if we were able to maintain our food logs and our planned meal adjustments, the answer is almost always “I just ate what the kids ate” or “I ran out of time and just had to grab the closest food available”.
Alternatively, if our kids need a ride to an important game, or need an extra hour of homework explanation, if the dog needs its shots, our boss asks us to stay late, or any other number of things that just come up; miraculously as expert jugglers, we are able to find the extra time to handle the situation. If our kids have an allergy, or are starting to put on unhealthy weight, as caregivers we bend over backwards to make sure that they get meals that are full of nutrition and free of allergens.
The point is, that in an environment where we take such great care of others, we often take poor care of ourselves. We treat our kids with such care, and ourselves with such neglect. We are so amazing at making excuses for our actions and giving reasons for our inaction. We would never let our children get away with the same behavior. My dad used to say that if it was important enough to you, it would somehow get done. Our challenge, as we get closer to the impending school year, is to adopt ourselves. Treat yourself as you would treat your kids. Plan meals, incorporate exercise, make more healthy choices and fewer excuses. Put yourself in “timeout” when necessary, get your homework done, schedule play dates, study for your next test, and go to bed on time! For some reason we often forget that if we allow ourselves to crumble, the very people we are supporting go down with us.