How do you prioritize?
I must admit that I struggle with this question on a daily basis.
You see there are so many things going on all the time. There are house things, appointments, activities, pick-ups and drop offs, homework, cooking, taking care of the dog, shopping and self-care. The list seems endless every day.
So how do you make sure that all the important things get done without being stressed all the time?
I used to put myself at the bottom of the list and perhaps if there was time at the end of our long day, I could squeeze in a few minutes for myself.
Self-care though I have realized is very important so I try to exercise in between getting child one off to school and waking up child two. Right now this works for me as I have a block of uninterrupted time.
Prioritizing our son’s things used to be more difficult than it is now. You see I have learned to be more forgiving and understanding and more relaxed. I realize that it’s alright if things don’t get done and I don’t need to be so rigid all the time. Our son can’t go to school, then come home and do a ton of homework as well as extra-curricular activities. So I need to just accept this and go with the flow.
This didn’t happen overnight. It took me many years to figure out. You see his life is not going to be any better or different by the vast number of tasks that he completes. His life is going to be better when he recognizes that he needs a mental or a physical break. He will be a better person when he is happy and can engage while not being stressed out. For him, this can look different on any given day.
I have also realized that it’s perfectly fine if I can’t do something as well. Our son may need help with homework, but if I’m not up for it, then it’s okay to wait until tomorrow. I’m not a robot and I also have my own limitations.
Living in a house where one child has autism and the other child struggles with anxiety and depression, sometimes just getting through the day is quite an accomplishment in itself.
We have realized that peacefulness in our house is as important as getting the laundry done. It has to happen for us to survive so we have to make this a daily priority.
None of this is easy especially when things have deadlines. The question I always ask (even with school deadlines) is what will happen if this is not done? In 10 years, will it matter? Does it really matter how much time is spent on homework or how much time is spent doing other activities? Does anyone look back and say that they wished their room was cleaner or the house was spotless? The simple answer of course is no.
But what children (and parents) will remember is the kindness and love in your home. They will care that you learned to be patient. They will also care that you taught them the importance of life which is not just about school, but is actually about people.
So today if you choose one new habit to adopt, try just having no expectations of your child. Try to look at them, I mean really look at them for who they are as a person and try to find one positive moment in each day to nurture that connection. I promise that you won’t regret it.
Happy New Year! I can’t wait to see what happen’s this year!