No One Ever Told Me

The art of achieving balance

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In 2011 when I was building up my private practice, I noticed that the families I worked with, friends that were parents themselves and the parenting dilemmas I faced daily, were all challenges that I hadn’t really noticed or paid attention to as I was growing up. And neither did they. I began to say “nobody told me this would happen” all too often. I realized that people don’t talk to children about the things that could happen when they grow up. Possibly because they wanted to shield them from the truth of being an adult, maybe they weren’t ready to understand. I guess they wanted them to be a child as long as possible. I did come across a few friends growing up that knew a lot more than the rest of us, and that was because of the circumstances they were going through that many children are not exposed to.  Either way there were still many messages that were not shared that could have been helpful to me and my said peers.

The more I worked with the parents of my clients, and had moms night out, I realized that there are some life lessons we should have learned or even been taught before we had to start “adulting”.  I was encouraged to begin writing and sharing with others, the wisdom I share with the parents in my office (from the experiences of my life as well as the lives of others that I encounter).  I summed it up to 3 life lessons.  I am sure there are many more than 3. Nonetheless, the ones I have listed below can have more than one meaning. The goal is to achieve balance in life.

  • We must empty our cups!

Rid the stress and fill our cups with peace.

When we carry all the stress from a day of “adulting”, we are full. Literally, full of the tasks we had to complete, the work that awaits us the next day, the chores of the house, the demands of the kids and the emotional baggage we have not dealt with over the years that’s packed away.  There are ways you can rid the stress so you can manage the demands that are waiting.  I say find a way to take care of yourself first daily. That moment in the day where you can truly reset so you can continue with the day. Sometimes our phones or computers get stuck because they have not had the new updates and need to be restarted or rebooted. This is the same for us. If you can drink that cup of coffee and enjoy it without rushing to work, you take time to reboot. If you take time to enjoy the shower and wash the stress of the day away, you have reboot.

  • You are important and good enough just the way you are.

Being compared to others whether we do it to ourselves, or others do it for us, is not a good feeling. Social media plays a big role is the comparison game, but we can control what we select to look at and be part of. Growing up I felt that I was compared to other children when my grades were not up to the standards that my parents wanted me to be. They meant well, but to me it felt like I may not have been good enough. We all have flaws, and to embrace those flaws is what make us just as good as the next person.  When opportunity comes knocking and you are chosen, don’t compare yourself to the next person, find yourself worthy and say, “Why notme!”

  • Don’t give too much away: It’s okay to say NO

“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel” -Eleanor Brown

They say if you are flying on a plane and the pressure drops to the level where the oxygen masks are needed to place the mask on yourself first prior to helping others. Why? Because if you have helped everyone else, now you are out of air and passed out and not able to put on your own mask. As parents we give, pour into others most often from an empty vessel, don’t say “No” when it is necessary and this affects how well we are taking care of ourselves. Sacrificing for your child is one thing, neglecting yourself is another.

Sometimes we can find ourselves giving more than we are receiving. With children we must give more than in other relationships, professionally or even personally. We should balance what we give and what we get out of it. Do you feel appreciated in your relationships? Are you getting your values worth or are you giving too much of yourself? You can say “No” to protect yourself. There should be reciprocity with all your relationships. Taking care of you by not giving too much away can help achieve that balance.

Once you can achieve balance, you are better able to manage the demands life throws at you; challenges of being a parent, managing a busy household, and being productive and effective at work (all the things that ‘no one told you about’). Practicing the balance will help when unforeseen circumstances strike. You can be better manage the stress when you empty your cup and reboot, know your worth by not comparing, and by saying “no” to practice self-care.