******This is a repost from 2008. I wanted to "play it again" as I have been seeing a lot of "parental beating up of ones self" out in bloggy land lately. Here is a reminder of how to be the best parent you can be.....the best YOU that you can be. Enjoy!******
When you are at the playground with your children.....what are you doing? Are you there....but not there? Are you thinking of the 401 other things that need to be done this week? Are you talking with other moms or dads? Connecting with someone over the age of 5? or are you playing? Climbing, sliding, running and swinging? In my opinion....you should be.......doing........any, or all of the above. Are you surprised I said that?
It is my belief that only you know best what YOU need on any given day. Your needs and wants change depending on your mood, and what all you are dealing with each day. It is important to listen to your body, and HONOR what it is telling you. Through this communication with yourself, you are better able to be the person you want to be, and most importantly....the PARENT you want to be. We must never lose sight of the fact that we are humans who have feelings, emotions, needs, and wants, and they need not be sacrificed to our children. In fact, I do not believe for one second that a person can actually give up themselves completely and still be a worthy partner or parent. It is a recipe for disaster.
Today, I'd like to encourage you to slow down and listen....listen to what your body is telling you. Are you ready for some fun? If so, then go for it. Play.....run, jump, and swing. Be silly, let loose....forget what others think. Your children will love it. They will feed upon your carefree spirit, and give of themselves as well. You might be surprised at how the energy builds, and you might walk away with a replenished soul.
Listen to your body.....are you stressed, and really need some time to organize your life in your mind? Give yourself permission to take advantage of the time at the playground to encourage your children's ability to entertain themselves, while you sit back and calculate what needs to be done first....and what can wait. Certainly some folks benefit from time to just plan. The park can easily be a place to get our kids out of your hair long enough for you to THINK. By the time you leave, you just might have a handle on what to tackle next.
Listen to your body....are you craving adult interaction? If you have one more conversation about Potty Time Elmo, you might make good on your little fantasy to wire Dora's loud little mouth shut? If this is case, please find an adult and commence talking. There is absolutely no shame in a "mommy play date!" While the kids are wearing themselves out, reconnect with the outside world. In the end, you'll be better prepared for the after dinner discussion of why they won't be allowed to wear their bathing suit and rubber boots to preschool tomorrow.
Listen to your body....are you just needing some time to mentally "checkout"? Are your kids old enough to handle themselves at the playground while you quietly flip through a magazine on a nearby bench? Just a half hour of "me time" can do wonders. As you leave the park, you might find a more relaxed state of mind. When we are relaxed, we are much more likely to be understanding, and patient with our kids. Everyone benefits from an emotionally healthy mom and dad.
I have no doubt that every person reading this post has their children's best interests at heart. A recent post of mine was mostly well received. I have to admit that I had my doubts when I published it. I worried over how folks would take it. I wanted very much to simply convey the idea that parenting by chance might not be the route best suited to meet the needs of our children. I wanted to encourage others to simply look at who they are, and who they want to be as a parent, and strive to achieve it. Through reading the comments, and a few other blog posts inspired by mine, it became quite obvious that:
a. We all love our kids more than we ever imagined possible.
b. Parenting is the hardest job on earth.
c. Often we aren't parenting the way we would like to.
d. We can be pretty hard on ourselves.
It is my hope that in the next few weeks, I can address some of my thoughts on these observations. I'd do it now, but as well all know, my posts tend to be on the extremely LONG side, and I am fairly certain this post has reached it's entertainabilty (yes, I made that word up) limit as it stands. So stay tuned! In the mean time, concentrate on listening to your body, and honoring what it is telling you. In the end,that is the best way to ensure your child's happiness.
*****If you found this post interesting or helpful you might like to check out all my Parenting posts HERE. *******