I ponder these thoughts sometimes. Usually when my own energy tank is starting to hit the red and I need to fuel myself up. For me it has a lot to do with time alone. Sitting, thinking, pondering and pottering all by myself – that’s what re-energises me. It gives me strength to go out and enjoy being with people and to fully love the life that I have. Without it I feel myself retreating slowly more and more into my internal word and getting cranky and stale. It can be really hard to explain this to others, especially those who get their energy from being surrounded by people, like the majority of my family. I’m pretty sure they think I’m broken – but I’m not. I just love the space to let myself be and enjoy being the introvert I am.
Give me a portion of my day alone to myself and I’ll be fully ready to engage and love being around people – to really get stuff done. But without it the inside of my head can be a slightly scary place to visit. This was pretty evident yesterday as I tried desperately to steal some quiet time in the car as I drove little pink to her swimming lesson. She was babbling away in her endlessly extroverted way as I got more and more annoyed. In the end I snapped. I brought out the big guns with grumpy, bossy, ‘not so much fun’ mummy and told her she wasn’t to say another word until we got there – or else. ‘Okay’, she sighed ‘let’s have some pieces of quiet’.
Getting time alone has not been easy for me over the years since I became a mum. We chose not to use childcare. (No judgement intended to anyone who does – I fully understand we all do things in our own way and it’s totally okay of you do things differently to me). In many ways I might have been a more energised parent if we hadn’t made that decision. As I look back over the years now I think one of my most blatant fails as a parent has been not meeting my own needs better. I fell head long into the trap of giving it all to my children and often ended up much grumpier and worn out than I probably should have. I think I secretly expected people in my family to notice how much I was giving and to care for me accordingly. Well hello – that just don’t happen in real life. You really need to be assertive on your own behalf and place yourself in control of meeting the needs you have. But of course to do this you need to know what they are. Which brings me full circle really. My name is Caz and I get my energy to be a good parent from spending time alone. In the words of one of my little people when they were littler, “some days I need to be lonely”.
How about you? Where do you get your energy to be a good parent from?