It’s so important that we prioritise and do family time right. In this post, I will share the secret to improving family relationships and ensuring family time counts. Having gone through a recent mental breakdown and threat of redundancy. All of this happened just after the lockdown was easing in the UK. I experienced a tough lesson and I want to share what this taught me with others.
Over the last year, I’ve experienced opposite ends of the spectrum. I was career-focused during the period in which I had a new baby. Significant life events meant I did a complete 360. I now want to create a life where family time is central to everything else I do. A mammoth task when all the odds are against us, but something I’m determined to get right.
Living through the pandemic, depending on how it impacted you individually, means each of us has gained something different from the experience. Given the year I’ve had, I now know what matters the most in life. It’s no surprise it’s family time.
It may come as a shock to you. I didn’t realise this before the pandemic. When you have a full plate and inevitably some things in life suffer, it’s sometimes difficult to see what’s important. Amid our busy lives, we are all doing our best and sometimes you have to make tough decisions about which element of life suffers on a particular day.
Thanks so much to Mummy conquering anxiety for writing this guest post for us today. It’s full of great of advice for us all one how can prioritise our family time more. – Shelly
The circumstances which forced me to reflect
When you have a young baby, you barely get time to sleep, drink a cup of tea or eat properly. It is not the time for pondering the important aspects of life. There are simply not enough hours in the day to complete everything on the list.
Maybe the to-do list just sometimes needs throwing out of the window. You have days where it feels like there is no hope you will even tick off a few tasks. And when you’re so busy, it’s totally fine to ditch the list and put family time first.
I don’t want to live my life in a constant state of stress anymore. Running around at a million miles per hour. But we all need money to live, and therefore I appreciate it may not be as straightforward to just simply change things.
My goal is a balanced family and work life. I accept it might be a slow process and I might not reach all the goals I want to put in place, but I will strive to achieve them. It’s vital to the well-being of my whole family. What an amazing motivator for changing your life circumstances.
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Time is precious, spend it wisely
liche but true. Don’t cash in your time for something you don’t want to do. Prioritise family. Making memories is the best thing in the world. Laugh, spend one on one time together. Enjoy each other’s company. Say no to the things you don’t want to do.
As human beings, we are conditioned to be around other people. To connect, share our stories. Whatever format you choose to communicate, (I love my online blogging family and their support) connect with others and open up if you feel able to. Making connections has transformed my life.
Have those hugs
I used to be so preoccupied whilst getting my little one ready for nursery in the morning and rushed her out of the door. No wonder she was always upset and moody on the way to nursery.
Since the drastic life circumstances I’ve been through, time set aside for cuddles is needed. It’s become so much of a habit, I don’t need to make time for it. And It’s simply something I am doing before I’m willing to do anything else in the day. It’s a must, a habit, like brushing your teeth, or getting a shower.
Why didn’t I add this to my morning routine sooner? I choose to live and learn, rather than regret prioritising work tasks over my family. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but as human beings, all we can do is learn and change our behaviour moving forward.
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As a society, we need to learn to do nothing without the fear of being unproductive, like we should be doing something else instead. I spent years in this mindset. I now see the value in taking time out to do nothing. To recharge your batteries. We all need it.
Unfortunately, my breakdown made me stop and rest. I had no choice. I was exhausted from the constant anxiety, burnt out from life. Defeated by prolonged work stress during the pandemic. My body and emotions were telling me, no more. When it feels like your brain has been switched off, it’s very difficult to do anything. It’s almost like my brain wouldn’t switch back on until I had recharged enough. It took a long time to feel better and I am still not fully healed. During my recovery, I sat on the sofa watching reality TV, reading books.
Had long hot baths, loved going for walks, and started baking again. I used these activities to bring myself back to life. This nothing time was vital to my recovery. And I now see it must be part of any usual life routine.
Do you want to know the main people who contributed to putting me back together piece by piece? It was my family. They are central to my wellbeing and therefore, they absolutely must be a priority in everything I do in life from now on.
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Everyone contributes to chores
Before my breakdown, I felt alone in completing pretty much every task in the house. Partly due to my anxiety, but also partly because I was extremely busy and had too much on my plate. I have a ‘do it myself, it’s easier’ complex, which does not help the situation.
Inevitably, when someone hits rock bottom, family conversations take place about how to adapt circumstances to reduce the impact on the person struggling. Early on in my period of mental breakdown and early recovery, the hubby & I discussed what our responsibilities would be and how we would share chores moving forward.
It is important to be clear on who does what tasks in the house. Sharing out the mundane tasks keeps things ticking over. This leaves time for everyone to have an equal share of fun and much-needed rest time.
My little one is conscious of having things in the right place. Therefore she loves tidying up and helping us with household tasks. This helps me. We have a reward chart and she can help us with the most basic chores now. She is becoming independent, which takes some of the pressure off me. When they are babies you feel relied upon and it’s a heavy burden, whilst trying to manage other aspects of life.
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I don’t think it’s possible to go through such life-changing events and not come away with valuable lessons.
At this point in time, I feel grateful knowing my priorities have changed for the better and it will benefit my little one whilst she is still young.
Family matters. Everything else comes as a secondary concern.
❤️ so important
Great post by Mummy Conquering Anxiety. Sharing the load (if this is possible in your household) is a good first step to distributing the “wealth” of responsibility. I also always feel it’s important to find some joy in what you do and if you don’t then I believe in making time to find that joy elsewhere outside of the things you HAVE to do (i.e. a job you hate). Uninterrupted and undistracted family time is also important as you mention- I find that so much of my daughter’s communication is nonverbal and just through cues throughout the day. It’s up to me as her parent to listen to those nonverbal cues and help that guide my interactions with her. Thanks for a thoughtful post!
Shelly DS says
Glad you enjoyed the post! Undistracted time is definitely vital in any relationship, but more so when raising kids. I’m glad your daughter has an attentive mama!
So much wisdom in this post. I’m going to focus on hugs. I’m an affectionate person. I think I inherited this trait from my mom because she was always this way. My dad came from a strict German upbringing and they didn’t hug in his family. I missed hugs from him growing up. When I became an adult, I thought, “This is dumb! I’m going to do what I need.” When I came over for a visit, I’d always hug him before I left. I noticed it became easier and more natural for him as grew older. I’m the same way with my adult son. The lesson for me is even tough guys need hugs.
Shelly DS says
Your mom sounds wonderful! And it’s amazing that you were able to change how you interacted with your dad, based on what you needed 😊
Rebecca Jo Anthony says
Thank you for this beautiful and vulnerable post! <3 I most relate to fear of "Nothing Time" … The habit of feeling like every waking moment needs to be productive and have a worthy purpose is a hard one to break.
Shelly DS says
Thanks for reading and sharing!