Last weekend I had the opportunity for some time out, so I embraced the opportunity with open arms, packed my overnight bag and headed for a beautiful coastal town about an hour away from home for two (yes, two!) nights of solitude and relaxation.
Now I know that there will be varying opinions of my actions, some will quietly cheer for me whilst others will shudder with whispers of “How can she leave her children for two nights?”. I look at it this way, I had two nights and nearly two full days to recharge and to revitalise myself so that I could come back to my children as the best version of myself, not the tired cranky one that they have put up with for the last few weeks.
During my time out I walked along the beach, I practiced yoga, I took myself out for coffee, I napped, I read and I journaled. All up, I did all the things that I love to do and often don’t have enough quality time to do properly. When you are a member of a family you are part of a team and as team leader of that team you need to take everyone else’s wants and desires into account, when you are on your own, the only person to be considered is yourself.
Some may consider my actions selfish and of benefit only to myself, however I ask you, what sort of person would I be if I gave every bit of who I am over to my children and was left with nothing of me or my personality? How can we build independent children if we don’t role model our own independence, wants and desires? Our children should be the centre of our universe, but we should also have other interests within our universe. If we live our lives vicariously through our children what will be left of us when they grow up?
The word enabler is an interesting word – basically it means a person who enables self-destructive behaviour in another, for example, you may have heard of obese enablers, these are the people who bring the obese people huge amounts of the high fat and high sugar foods, it seems to stem from the enablers need to be wanted. Are you an enabler for your child? Are you allowing them to function at a level where they are totally dependent on you? Clearly, if you are the parent of a newborn, I hope the answer is yes, however as our children grow we need to encourage them to find their own way in the world and not mow their path for them.
One of my children doesn’t particularly like it if I am away for a night or two, but prior to my leaving we discussed different strategies that could be implemented in order for them to cope with the situation, and although I did worry a little, it wasn’t like I had left them with a pack of dingoes in charge. They were in their own surroundings, with siblings and loving grandparents and my children knew that after two nights I would return.
I arrived home to my children around lunch time and by 2p.m. apart from catching up with my children I had also done a few loads of washing, I had restocked the groceries, put a stop to World War 3 and made the weekly lunch box snacks! So, if ever the opportunity to get away for a night presents itself I encourage you wholeheartedly to take it and run with it – you will be a better parent upon your return (and your children would have built up a little more of their own resilience).