When my eldest daughter was still a small toddler I took her to music classes…. You know the ones…where the parents sit in a circle with their children on their laps clapping hands and singing widely out of tune nursery rhymes…
The teacher was a lovely older lady with six adult children and many grandchildren of her own. At some point in the class she would put a piece of relaxing classical music on the CD player. She would instruct us parents to just lie on our backs, close our eyes and relax. If our children required our attention we were to tell them that mummy was relaxing and that they needed to wait until after the song was finished.
Most of the mothers that attended our lesson were first time parents…off course we were madly in love with our children. We were also madly in love with the ‘idea’ of being a parent….I know that I was pushing myself to be the best possible parent I could be.
The music teacher told us that this was the most important part of the lesson. She said that if she could teach us just one thing than it would be this
…to make sure your child understands that you are a person and you need some time to be a person as well….
Our teacher said that being a parent was hard. She said some days are not good days. She said sometimes you just need to take some time out to center yourself….so you can do your job of being a parent again.
At the time, I didn’t really buy into this. I thought it was kind of ridiculous that I had to lie with my eyes shut, for 2 minutes and basically ignore my daughter. I remember thinking that the teacher must have forgotten what it was like to be a parent of young children….what sort of music lessons was I paying for???
When we first started, the toddlers would pester their parents no end and were quite surprised that they were not the center of attention. The teacher would calmly tell each child to just wait until the song was over . The teacher and the other parents would tell the kids this over and over for the first few lessons….but as the weeks progressed the children became used to the song and the concept of relaxation time.
The 2 minutes became routine for the children. They knew that their mummy was going to relax while the music was playing. I found the most amazing thing was that, after several weeks, my little daughter would snuggle right up next to me, close her eyes and relax until the music had finished….(if you knew Flash as a toddler, than you would know just how remarkable this feat was!)
|Flash as a busy toddler|
So that is the advise that I am sharing today. The same advise that was given to me all those years ago. Try to teach your child/ren that you are a person too. And that you need some time to yourself sometimes…
This could be some relaxing time to a piece of music…some computer time while your child plays independently for a few minutes. It may even mean leaving the child in the care of their dad, a trusted family member or close friend so you can get some exercise, a coffee with a friend, a hair cut or a wonder around the shops...
I didn’t take much time for myself when my first child was a baby. I think I may have tried too hard to be too perfect. I felt it hard to step back, relax, take some time for myself. I guess I was a bit of a control freak and I would feel guiltily at he thought of anyone else looking after my baby.
My first baby was an extremely difficult baby (see my post about lactose intolerance here) and in a way I was a little embarrasses to let someone else look after her and see what a miserable crying baby she was….I was convinced the neighbors, listening to her scream all day and night, listening to us walking past their houses with her screaming in the pram…must have thought that I was the worst parent on earth! My little daughter was also very clingy and suffered badly from separation anxiety.
Until the music lessons I didn’t understand how critically important it was for me to take some time out from parenting…even if it was just for 2 minutes of relaxing music (…and it’s better than hiding in the toilet!)
When my other babies arrived, I kept the words of our wise music teacher in my mind…I gave myself permission to take some time to relax occasionally and I think I was much happier therefore and a much better parent.
I'm sharing this post over at Diary of a SAHM for #TeamIBOT (I Blog On Tuesday).