Much publicity has been made in recent years about the dangers of overscheduling (and the resulting overstressing) of our children. Books such as The Over-Scheduled Child (2001) by Dr. Alvin Rosenfield, MD, child and adolescent psychiatrist and former Head of Child Psychiatry at Stanford University; The Pressured Child (2005) by Dr. Michael Thompson, clinical psychologist; and The Hurried Child (2001) written by David Elkind, PhD, professor of Child Development at Tufts University, all document the issues surrounding the phenomenon of this generation of parents and their children who have become more frenzied than ever, so much so that some areas of the country are now offering Yoga classes and structured stress-reduction classes for children as young as three (3) years old to help them deal with all their stress from their crazy schedules! (Kirchheimer, 2004)
If its bad for our children, it cannot be good for us adults! In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection (2010), Brene Brown states, We are a nation of exhausted and over stress adults raising over-scheduled children. We use our spare time to desperately search for joy and meaning in our lives. We think accomplishments and acquisitions will bring joy and meaning, but that pursuit could be the very thing thats keeping us so tired and afraid to slow down. Many even wear their busyness like a badge of honor, you probably know someone like this: who has-to-tell-you-everything-they-have-to-do-today-and-how-important-it-is-and-how-exhausted-they-are-and-how-late-they-have-to-work-after-all-the-important-errands-they-will-run-and-they-are-soooo-tired and then, add a big yawn for emphasis at the end of their monologue.
Help for busy, overwhelmed women. Executive director, Julie Hanks answers your questions and offers strategies to help you carve out time for yourself.
1) Include YOU in your circle of care
Self-neglect isn’t a good long-term strategy for self-care. If you are committed to taking care of others for the long haul, then you need to include YOU as one of the people that you nurture and support.
2) Build it in
Set a recurring appointment with yourself and build in the support that you need to make it happen. Get a commitment from your husband for a certain time every week. Hire a teenage neighbor to come every Thursday afternoon for a few hours.
3) Get others on board
Let others have the opportunity to share the care giving responsibilities. If you tend to fall into the role of “caregiver” be sure to invite your family members to participate. If they are unwilling, ask extended family, your church or community group to pitch in.
4) Get creative
If you don’t have resources to hire a babysitter, you may have to get creative. Barter with a neighbor. Swap childcare for making dinner one night a week.