Society as a whole is under a lot of stress right now, and our households, which on the daily, offer us our place of refuge are even being pushed to breaking point. Without the outlet of school, work, places to go and time apart from one another, the stresses of the day are multiplied and magnified. We find ourselves questioning the realities of family life.
How can we love the people we live with so much, but yet struggle so much to live in each other’s pockets, day in, day out?
Remembering that we always have a choice in the way we learn to react to each other and our circumstances, is a very powerful thing.
It’s something that we are teaching our children about daily, even without realising it a lot of the time. We don’t always do it perfectly, in fact we rarely do it perfectly! But that doesn’t mean that we are failures, it’s what makes us human, and acknowledging when we could have reacted better to one another or a situation is part of the process of relationship, understanding each other and growing stronger.
Recognising that giving ourselves time to have ‘headspace’ to do whatever it is that best allows us that (and this looks a little different for us all) will go a long way in ensuring that we are better able to deal with those moments when we feel like everything in spinning out of control. Perspective is gained in those moments, and its worth fighting for anything that is going to bring peace into our households in this season.
Katherine ☝️ who heads up our team of makers in Bath says,
“Having young children at home is amazing but also challenging at times.
Something that I had to remind myself of when my children were babies and continue to need to remind myself of now, is not to compare myself to others or my baby to others. Comparison robs us of joy.
I try and list all the things that I'm grateful for like my family, the chance to watch them grow and develop, small wins in the day, friendships etc... help me to change my perspective away from comparison and towards thankfulness.”
There is a lot to be said for a thankful heart. When we start to focus on everything that we already have in our lives, there comes a shift in our perspective, allowing us to enjoy the things around us rather than hankering after what we don’t have/what isn’t ideal or “perfect” right now.
Getting the balance right is always tricky, as parents we can also sometimes feel bad “taking time” for ourselves, but I think that lies in the connotation of the word “taking”, as though by doing something for ourselves we will somehow be denying others what is rightfully theirs. Being ok with having time apart from others is normally a very healthy necessity. And by being apart, I don’t even mean being away from the house. You can sit in another room (the toilet/bathroom) will even do. In the early years of motherhood I spent many a happy moment in the sanctuary of the upstairs loo!
In their brilliant book “The little book of self-care for new mums” Becca Hands and Alexis Strickland talk a lot about the importance of retaining your identity post-birth.
“It’s also important to carve out some time for yourself to enjoy a little bit of the ‘old you’. It is very restorative to occasionally release yourself from adult responsibility - you’ll be filling your cup right back up to the top.”
There are endless ways to carve out time for yourself, it doesn’t have to be hours on end (you don’t have hours anyway right?!) but the benefit of allowing yourself to fully rest, to be able to ‘step off that roundabout’ for just a moment, is huge.