Creating a sense of freedom in my responsibilities as a parent has been essential to my well being. When you’re the primary caregiver to your kids, their needs always come first. It’s easy to get tied into your role and feel as though there is no escape. A knot that tethers you all together, invisible lifeline ropes connecting everyone in the dance of life. With four kids, I’ve been prone to lose myself and lose sight of what it is that fulfills me. Sometimes just getting basic needs met, like exercise and a shower has been a struggle. It’s been really important for me to learn how to let the children start caring for themselves as they become age-appropriate. For example, by age 7 or 8 they are fully capable of preparing their own lunch but for some reason, I constantly continue to make it for them. We need to find ways to create less work for ourselves in order to create a sense of freedom. Recognizing what skills the
children are ready to execute independently is an open door we need to walk through without guilt. Guilt has driven many mistakes for me as a parent. Wanting to make my children feel as loved and taken care of as possible, has left me with my hands tied behind my back. Allowing them and teaching them how to take care of themselves is a great service to our children and gives them confidence as well as freedom when they are ready to go out on their own.
At times I can get drawn into the negative chatter inside my head. “You’re stuck, you can’t get anything done, You’re in over your head.” This is a trap. As soon as you start thinking these negative thoughts you need to turn it off or counteract them with a positive response. Our reality is what we make it. It’s so easy to start feeling sorry for yourself and believing that you are a victim at the mercy of others. This is not the truth. Freedom comes from within. For me, freedom comes from good time management and delegation. Asking for help from friends, spouse, and family is a good option, try not to weigh yourself down with guilt (a work in progress for myself). Everyone has the opportunity to say no if they can’t lend a hand, there is no harm in trying. Reducing social media time helps me to increase my time for exercise and hobbies.
I suggest sitting down and really looking at your life. What are your dreams? What freedoms would you like to see? Nothing happens overnight, this may be a long drawn-out process. Jon and I have been actively working on being semi-retired for 10 years so that we can spend our winters abroad. This is our freedom dream. While being tied down with 4 kids and each other, sometimes feeling the weight of that responsibility is hard, but we work together as a team to allow each other freedom in our personal choices and goals.
I can sometimes get caught up in the negative chatter that “Jon doesn’t help me enough with the kids” or “he gets more free time than I do,” and this is a dangerous place to go. I am responsible for getting what I want. If these thoughts and feelings arise it is a warning to open up communication with Jon to let him know what I need in a caring and non-accusing way. I’ve blamed him in the past for not getting my needs met because it’s always easier to make someone else responsible. This has left him feeling unappreciated and me feeling angry and isolated. When I take responsibility for my own sense of freedom the knot gets untied and off I soar. This has been very empowering and a saviour in our marriage.
If you start to become overwhelmed with your life, slow down. Pay attention to the stories you are telling yourself. Can you change the narrative? Can you make a few changes to lighten your load and create more freedom for what you really want? I invite you to untie the knot and see what unfolds.
Be Well Friends.