I am the type of person that wants it all, and I want it all NOW. This mentality makes me feel like I’m perpetually chasing a bus I cannot catch, no matter how fast I sprint. Some days, it feels like an enormous task to just get everyone fed and into bed at the end of the day!
As parents, we have a huge weight on our shoulders every single day. I know you are busy. I get that you are often overwhelmed. I can appreciate that you just want a hammock somewhere on quiet beach. I do, too. But, what are you doing these days just for you? To take care of yourself? To climb into that hammock, so to speak? When’s the last time you got off the merry-go-round that is your life and made time for yourself? Think that’s impossible? I’m here to tell you it’s not.
Back when my boys were in preschool, I knew I needed something more. I had a full-time job in advertising, a more than full-time job raising my sons alone and a house with a yard to maintain, but my soul yearned for more than this. After leafing through a catalog of writing classes one day, I later found that I just could not drop the fantasy of signing up for something. The class I wanted to take met on Monday nights across town for six weeks. The boys’ dad was around, but I knew I could not count on him to commit to six consecutive Monday nights, so I began to problem-solve.
Now, asking for huge favors is very difficult for me; yet I knew if I didn’t honor this yearning in me, I would be snuffing out a portion of my heart. Across the street lived a young couple with two boys. They’re a fantastic family, and we adults enjoyed hanging out while the boys played. So I summoned up some courage and went to talk to my neighbors about a barter system of sorts. Would they be open to watching my boys those Monday nights in exchange for me babysitting their kids? They said yes, they were happy to help, not a problem. What a relief! I still remember the feeling of driving to the class each week, feeling completely liberated and energized. My boys had a complete blast being at the neighbor’s and I, in turn, did babysit for them (note: spending an evening with four boys under the age of six is perhaps one of my biggest accomplishments thus far).
The lift I received from my writing class gave me a newfound energy and zest for life. I loved using my brain in a different way from my 9 to 5 job; and because I was in class learning something I’m passionate about, the energy snowballed into other areas of my life. I was able to get up super early to complete my weekly writing assignments. I began to observe daily life more thoroughly, realizing that writing material was everywhere.
So brainstorm some options about what you could do for yourself and how to make the time to do it. What matters to you? Who may be able and willing to help you? Do you dream of being home alone with your sketch pad? Rock climbing? Maybe an hour walking around a lake alone sounds amazing. Realize there may be sacrifices. And if it’s hard to ask for help, you are going to find yourself dancing in the “uncomfortable zone” for a bit. That’s ok, that’s how we stretch and grow. Remember, you are doing the asking; it’s up to the other person to decide if they need to say no.
Keep in mind that simple things have huge benefits. Yes, there are some seasons of life when your passions really do need to take a backseat. But watch out for the “busy-ness” trap! It can make you feel like you couldn’t possibly take time to do something for yourself, ever. Start making time in your life for your passions and hobbies, and you, too, will quickly feel the rewards and benefits.
About Renee Brown
Renee Brown is the tired yet happy mother of two young adult sons, Sam and Zachary. Almost an empty nester, she loves sharing her single parent experiences with the goal of providing hope and encouragement to those struggling on that “long and winding road.” Renee lives in Minneapolis, works in advertising, and also blogs for Your Teen magazine.