My 4 year old is going through a challenging season (can anyone relate)? She needs more of my attention then ever before. Usually she is hungry, tired and just flat out jealous of her younger brother and she needs me to be my best self so I can help her be hers. This is the joy of parenting, right? This is what we signed up for, yes?
But at the end of the day, I have nothing left to give. I am exhausted. Mentally checked out. Overwhelmed. And tasked with cleaning the house and getting dinner on the table. The demands of my job weigh on me. My body aches and is out of shape. And though many parents talk about this endless cycle, I just have to believe there is more to life than this.
And there is.
There is a way for you to be your best self at the end of the day, giving the fullness of all you have to give, even after a long work day.
Just imagine... coming home from work and engaging with your kids with a smile. Laughing. Playing. Being fully present with them and feeling good about the rhythm of your home life. How amazing would that be?
There are two very important shifts you need to take to ensure that your home life is getting your best self.
Leave your work AT WORK – This is a hard one for many of us. If your anything like me, you work hard and care about making an impact through the work you do. This requires you to be physically present, mentally on your toes and emotionally stable. And frankly, it’s hard to leave all that behind at work. You don’t just walk out that door and magically turn off your work brain! So, give yourself a break. Literally…let go of the idea that you "should" magically turn off your brain and allow space for you to do so. This means you need a transition time. Time to let go of work and time to think ahead toward home. This can be done on your commute home or may require you to stop and transition in the car before you walk in the house. Whenever you do it, here are the exact steps required:
Silence – no noise, no technology.
Focus on your breathing – take 5 deep breathes.
Reflection – take time to think through your day, the high’s and low’s. Mentally embrace them and let them go.
Celebrate – pick one thing to celebrate. This could be as small as a smile at a coworker or as a big as a project completion. Then pat yourself on the back (literally) and say "nice work!".
Get more sleep – this may seem silly and hard all at the same time, but an immense amount of research has been done on the importance of sleep. Those that get more sleep are: less prone to chronic illness, weigh less, more socially aware, more energetic and have a better memory (just to name a few). When we put this into the context of motherhood, what this translates to is: healthier, happier, more patient moms. So…whatever you do, hit the hay earlier. If this is hard for you because it is your only "alone" time with your spouse or your only time to "get things done"…then commit to getting to bed earlier just 3 days out of the week. The benefits far out way the need for productivity, so believe me….it’s worth it.
When I am able to do this well with my 4 year old, the rhythm of our evening is completely different. She feels heard, respected and loved (even in the midst of her tantrums) and I feel calm, cool and unruffled. I am able to rise above the chaos and simply embrace this time of my life and our whole family can sense the relaxed environment.
So, here is what I know to be true...your kids know when you are your best self and when you are not. They can intuitively sense it. Your kids need you to be on top of your game when you get home from work. And following these two shifts will help you to be more present, feel healthier and help you to focus on the things that matter most.
Send me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know if this was helpful. I'd love to hear!