She was a typical young mum, constantly on the go, putting herself second to the needs of her children and her husband and putting her “me time” at the bottom of her priority list. One day her mother came to visit. “I will look after the children for the afternoon…you deserve a break…go out and enjoy yourself”.
The young mum accepted the offer, got changed, walked outside, shut the door behind her, paused for a few moments and promptly burst into tears. She had no idea what she might do for the afternoon, so unaccustomed had she become to the idea of doing her own thing just for fun.
Sound all-to-familiar? Now picture this scene – one I regularly see, while writing in my local coffee/bistro (where I am writing this article). Mother comes in with two or three children after shopping, orders herself a coffee and a cake, the children a smiley bickie each, a drink or perhaps a baby cino. The order arrives, the children happily settle and then – it happens every time - a huge huuuhhh by mum, collapsing happily into a peaceful few moments to herself, her coffee and her thoughts. A precious few minutes in a pleasant environment, helping her immeasurably to cope with the rest of the day, even the week.
Coping with her day isn’t about managing her time, it’s about managing her energy. She can’t deficit-budget a 24/7 day, but she can deficit-budget the energy she needs to cope with her day, her week and her outlook on life. A little positive energy goes a long way. Creating enjoyable short bursts of new energy (the coffee shop is just one example) empowers her ability to cope with the rest of the day. Regular doses build resilience and, over time, sustain a positive and energetic outlook on life, come what may.
Building energy through enjoyment into any young mum’s life isn’t just a nice idea, it’s an essential ingredient for a happy, healthy, energized family life.