Parenting: Feeling Squished!

I'm passionate about being a good parent -- what parent isn't?  That doesn't mean I'm the world's best parent, it just means I want to do a good job at this awesome, sometimes very challenging life role.  I've been a parent for twenty years.

Why blog about parenting?  As a teacher, blogging has helped me to solidify my thoughts, questions and directions.  It's connected me to a larger conversation regarding what's best for students.  I've gained a wide professional group of like-minded, passionate educators who want to do a good job -- educators who challenge, inform, support and encourage me.  I'm a better teacher because of blogging.

So, in an effort to be a better parent, I've decided to start blogging about parenting.  I want to join the larger conversation related to parenting.  What's important? What's not?  What's working?  What's not?

So, with that in mind, I'll start with my current parenting question/situation -- feeling squished!  My husband needs me, my children need me, my parents need me, my neighbors need me. . .  I know how to help them.  I know what they appreciate.  I simply run out of time and energy to do it all, and then I end up feeling squished.  I know this is a common parenting dilemma -- prioritizing so that you're meeting your parent needs, but also making time for yourself so that you can be the kind, caring parent you want to be.

A recent column by Debra Goldman, about the "mommy syndrome" struck home with me.  Like Debra, I had a lot of child care responsibilities as a child.  In many ways, I looked forward to those tasks and prided myself with the abilities I had related to caring for children, but in other ways all those child care tasks at an early age meant I wasn't developing some of the self-care, positive routines that lead to a healthy, energized self.  Hence as an adult and as a parent, it's sometimes challenging to know how to carve out the time for exercise, reflection, friendship and personal care and attention.

I like being a parent.  I love to take care of my children and nurture their passions.  I am fortunate to have a spouse who is my best friend.  I don't want to give with regret and frustration though which means it's essential that I carve out time for my own health and personal care.  How do parents create a positive balance?  Where do they draw the limits?  What traditions, goals and routines of the past are no longer viable, positive or necessary -- it's a new world with many, many possibilities.  One doesn't simply have to accept the ways of the past, instead parents can create new traditions and routines that best meet the needs of all family members.

These are some of the questions I hope to think about and pursue in this parentpassion blog.  I look forward to what others have to say.  I feel like I'm joining this conversation late in my parenting career, but not too late to improve my work and the success of my family.  Thanks for listening.  I welcome your thoughts.

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