This week I want to write about the period of life I am currently experiencing. I imagine many of you all are experiencing it as well.
I tried to find a catchy name for it, and this word popped into my head, Betwixer! I am indeed in between different periods or stages of my life. On one end of my life, I am a daughter to aging parents. I am also trying to be "me", take care of myself, be a good sibling, and be a present friend to my circle of friends. I am also trying to be a good wife to my husband and wanting to be a good mom to my adult children On the other end, I have a totally new role to play as Nana to my three, soon to be five, grands!
A role I do not take lightly, as I want to be a significant positive influence in their lives as my grandparents were in mine.
I basically have my mind and body tied into every stage possible of a person's life!
It's crazy hard and most days, I don't have time for the little things.
Many of us are dealing with our aging parents. Not so easy to work with them. You have the whole "respect your parents" issue going on, yet, you believe you know what is best for them. They may not agree with you and so the battle begins. A task I am honored to fulfill but it is challenging to say the least.
So then, your kids grow into adults and get married. Off on their own, you think it is time to be a couple and an "empty nester." Although it is a little sad, I was starting to enjoy just worrying about me again and my marriage. There is the odd little struggle with getting used to being a "couple" again. Seems this part of our life always gets put on the back burner. You really need to consciously make time for each other! We are not so good at that but as we meld into this stage of our lives, I can say I see some improvement.
I am beginning to be me again with my friends and family. Making sure I spend time with them is oh so difficult as our days get consumed with the busyness of life these days.
It is a time of rediscovery, in relation to my self and my relationship with my friends and family.
Then there are my grown adult children and their spouses. I couldn't have picked better in-laws for my children to marry. They are good to me and really fit in the family well. I am finding the words of my parent's echo true to life, "being a parent never goes away", as I am finding out. You never stop worrying or wanting to help out. They need advice, help, babysitting, and have emergencies that arise. Hence another struggle, some of the advice may not be received as they struggle with their independence. A fine line I am learning to walk every day. Once again, as with my parents, you think you know best, but that isn't always what said person may feel is best for them. Yet another struggle to contend with, learning to let go.
It wasn't too long after my first child, my son, got married that we soon had that first joyous bundle come along, my first grandchild! What a glorious feeling and I couldn't get enough of her! Before I knew it, I had three grandkids and try to make sure I spend as much time with them as I can. Currently, I have two more on the way as well, very soon! The grandchildren are a huge joy in my life and I hope to build a great relationship with all of them just like I had with my grandparents! One of the most nostalgic moments is seeing your child be a parent! Your heart is flooded with memories of when they were little as you hold their child. It is a confusing, joyous experience that I cannot readily explain. I am sure many of you understand what I am talking about.
Through all this, I realized something, I am back to wanting to be "superwoman" to everyone! I want to be the best for all!
You know what, It really is ok to take a step back and regroup.
We are dealing with a lot of mixed crazy feelings.
It is painful sometimes to realize that life changes rapidly. You see your kids grow and begin to ask yourself, "how can my babies be 31 and 28?" You see your parents aging and needing more help and assistance. You realize they will be passing on and you will be taking their place as the older ones of the family. You see it happening before your very eyes at each family gathering. All of a sudden, you are REALLY at the "adult" table and the "kids" are at theirs. We sit with the aging adults and the kids sit together and discuss child-rearing and jobs etc. It is almost like we are not there. Scary and sad. It isn't all the time but it happens and it is subtle. Oh they all love you and the family time is great, but you feel the change happening with every bone in your body.
So, how do you balance it all?
I am still trying to figure it all out. How do I divide my life by so many important groups of people? How do I become a great daughter, person, self, friend, sibling, wife, mom, and Nana?
What is the best way to make that happen for me?
I know one thing for sure...I need my HEALTH! I need time for me and to create the healthiest mental, physical, and spiritual health possible for me to fill all those roles with everyone.
In reality, bottom line, you do have to put yourself first!
Planning, planning, planning! Sometimes life happens but I know I need to plan more now than ever! Time flys by so rapidly these days and I need to make the most of it!
I have to put myself first or I cannot be there for anyone else!
This includes making sure I eat right, sleep, exercise, hydrate and do things I enjoy doing for my mental and spiritual health.
You need to be sure you are covering those areas MOST days, then always work towards it the other days.
Make time for your parents, their time with us is limited.
Make time for your kids, let them know you are there for them.
Make time for your grandkids, your time is again limited and the rewards are great! I had such a good relationship with mine, as I mentioned before and I want that same thing with my own!
Make time for your friends and siblings, they are your support system, your guide, your rock, they keep you grounded. AND most of all, MAKE TIME FOR YOU!
Spend time alone, doing what YOU like, relaxing, recreating, meditating, praying, or just "vegging out", whatever you like that fulfills you. Whatever makes you fill your tank again so you can be ready to go and be full when the other people in your life need you.
Here is a list of tasks that I put together to help myself and that perhaps you can do to help make this time in our lives run a little more smoothly:
Planning, planning, planning! It is the single best thing you can do to help make your day and your life run more smoothly. If you don't plan your day, your day will get away from you and you will be left feeling worn out and defeated. Take control and schedule your day. Yes, it may change somewhat, but be ready to be flexible and go with the flow. Regroup the next day and start again.
2. Be Flexible
This goes hand in hand with #1. You know things are going to come up to upset your daily schedule, just go with it. Don't let it throw you off completely. Do your best to stick to your schedule but improvise when you need to. Know that the next day is a new beginning and you can try to accomplish things you may have missed from the previous day. Long story short, go with the flow. Relax. There is always more than one way to skin a cat so to speak.
When making your schedule, be sure to prioritize things. That way, if your day does go south, you can stick to the most important things you planned and leave the rest. This will help when the unexpected arises. It also will help if you tend to schedule too many things in a day...that would be one of my faults. Therefore, I have to prioritize them. Then when I realize I have too much on my plate for the day, I can take some off without feeling too guilty. (It is a process I am still learning)
4. Look at the big picture
By this I mean, don't get caught up with tedious tasks that really don't matter. For example, I make sure I do not try to clean the house when I have the grandkids over. It doesn't matter and I can do it another time. I try to stay in the moment and enjoy my time with them. When I start to feel overwhelmed about all I am trying to accomplish, I sit back and think, "what is really important right now." Don't get caught up looking at all you have to do without enjoying the people in your life or time to yourself, whatever you may be involved in.
5. Clean and Prepare your Work Area
This is key! Make sure you do keep up on your daily tasks such as cleaning and clutter clearing. That way, you can enjoy your time with your loved ones and not feel the nagging feeling that you should be doing the cleaning or laundry, etc. Keep it a priority in your schedule to keep your "area" clean and clear. If you keep up with it, it won't be a long drawn out task. Chaos breeds chaos, keep it to a minimum and you will be less stressed and able to enjoy downtime more.
6. Just get started
I know if I sit around and stew about getting started on my tasks, it makes me crazy and starts making me feel bad about myself. I find that talking to myself and telling myself to "just do it" really helps. Just dive in and get going. You will find your creative juices start flowing and tasks start getting accomplished. That success feeds more motivation and energy to complete your tasks for the day as you are marking off each one. I can't tell you how great it feels to check off my list and see at the end of the day, a completed list. Just get started!
7. Be honest and realistic
All in all, the main advice I can give is, to be honest with yourself. Try different ways to manage your time. Find what works best for YOU! Fine-tune it and let it fuel and energize you. Be realistic! We are all different people. Stop trying to follow someone else's advice on how to manage YOUR time. It may not work for you.....find what does and get to it!
I hope this honest approach helps you! I know it helps me and it was like a revelation to me! I thought to myself, FINALLY, I have found a way to manage my time that works for ME. It isn't perfect by any means but it is a work in progress. I see myself improving as time goes on and being able to have an orderly, time managed life!
It is what I strive for!
To me, having an orderly life would free up so much time and lead to less stress. It may not always work perfectly, but that is part of my plan, plan for the unexpected and adjust to it. Never get overwhelmed, just stop, breath, regroup and move on.
That is my goal and I'm sticking to it!
If you think like I do and need a little help and support, I would love to be your accountability partner and help get you on track!
Let's do this together!
Contact me and let's get you started!
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Health and happiness,
Alicia Williamson RN, BSN, MSNW, CHC
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