Monday, June 17, 2013

Give Yourself Permission

  Some people have absolutely no trouble taking time for themselves, having fun with a hobby, or taking the time to meet a friend for lunch. Gosh! I wish I was that person. I made a decision a long time ago when I became a parent that I would dedicate as much time as I could to helping to raise my kids. I promised myself I'd be involved, I'd coach, I'd volunteer, I'd chaperone, I'd host birthday parties, etc., etc. I can say with a completely clear conscience that I've done that. Some people have accused me of being 'too' involved, but that's o.k. People are entitled to their own opinion, just as I am mine.
   When I was a young girl my mom was a girl scout leader and she did drive me to dance classes, but as I hit my teenage years our family circumstances changed and her availability to be involved changed. I can't blame anyone, but I did miss the involvement. I vowed that when I became a parent I would make the choices I wanted to make, when I could, and it wouldn't matter to me what others thought. As much as my husband and I have been involved with our kids I always thought it was sad to see the kids who were missing out. We became surrogate 'fill-in' role models and mentors whenever we could. My daughter's high school girlfriends still laugh and joke with my husband by talking with him with their finger strategically placed horizontally under their nose to mimmic his mustache.
   This summer (even this past week) marks a turning point for me. My daughter graduated high school and my son was home for a visit to help celebrate with his sister. Today, I left for work, my husband left for work, our son left to drive back to his home out of state, and our daughter worked on projects to get ready for her summer before college and to start her first job later this week. Things are changing in my house and I'm feeling a little bittersweet about it.
   I'm not going to pretend that I won't miss the involvement, the chauffeuring around, the planning of fundraising events, the schedules, and 'yes' sometimes even the chaos of it all. Do you know why? Because it's all part of being a family, being a parent, and caring about your kids. I find it somewhat unsettling when I see some parents turn off being involved like it's a magic switch. Am I looking forward to carving out some ME time? You bet I am. Am I looking forward to not scheduling dinner around the events marked in red on the kitchen calendar? Absolutely.
   But I think it's going to take me a little bit of time. I'm going to need a sort of transitional period. At first, I may even need to give myself permision to do some stuff for me. Have you experienced this transition? Were you able to do it gracefully? Any suggestions?

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