A Three-Legged Stool

I’ve mentioned my unusual family make-up once or twice. Last year my step-sister Stella hosted Christmas at her house, and the year before my step-mother’s ex-husband and his wife hosted it. At all these events my mother, my step-mother, her ex-husband, and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren attend. It’s odd, but it’s what we do.

This year it seemed to fall to me to host, but I was not taking the bait. Not that anyone was dangling any bait, mind you. I just felt the eyes looking at me as it being “my turn”. But I often feel like I am hanging on by a thread. I do the very best I can just to get through most days, and adding hosting dinner for 20 people just does not compute for me.

And so 2009 has got to be better for me. I think first I need to take care of myself better. Since we got Tessie, our sweet and adorable dog, I have not exercised due to juggling my work schedule to be home at least half of each day. She’s getting older now. I must return to a regular exercise schedule. I just feel better. If I don’t take care of my body, where will I live?

Next, I need to find more time for myself. During my brief foray into the dating world, I discovered a young teen in the neighborhood who my girls both love, and who is not outrageously expensive as a sitter. I need to make better, more regular use of her in order to give myself a break to look forward to. Even just a few hours once a week where I can shop, or read, or run would go so far into making me feel refreshed for the marathon I run everyday in my life that is parenting.

My act is a three-legged stool: myself, my children, my job. If any of those don’t get the attention they deserve, the other two suffer. In 2009 I am going to find a way to give all three the attention they need, and I must start with myself.

This post was inspired by Parent Bloggers Network, in conjunction with a promotion by BigTent. For any group leaders who start a group on or move to BigTent by December 31, Compass will provide a free one month membership ($19 value) to Compass Coaching Network, and all new group leaders will be entered in a grand prize drawing for a “Life Makeover” private coaching series ($1500 value). Groups must be of at least ten members.

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2 responses to “A Three-Legged Stool

  1. In his “Last Lecture,” Randy Pausch said “The best caregiving advice we’ve ever heard comes from flight attendants: “Put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” When we become physically or emotionally run down, we can’t help anybody else, least of all small children. So there’s nothing weak or selfish about taking some fraction of your day to be alone, recharging your batteries. This is great advice for parents. You can’t give what you don’t have. Take care of yourself first, so that you have the strength to help others.”

    I think this is just about the best piece of parenting (or partnering) advice I’ve ever heard.

  2. Well said. Here’s to getting a break!

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