{Parental Self-Care} Beyond "Work-Life Balance"

Often we hear talk in the mainstream media of “work-life balance,” but that proves elusive as we become overwhelmed with the “silos” of work, school, family, community through which we move between during our days. The phrase also puts work and the kitchen sink of responsibilities and experiences called “life” at opposite ends of the daily seesaw.

Actually, I think that the very idea of “balance” keeps those silos in opposition and us struggling in the middle.

You may have noticed—assuming that everyone in our family is hale, hearty, and on task with work and/or educational pursuits—that we practical-minded homeschool parents have an opportunity to move away from a fragmented lifestyle of separate silos toward one of integration.

That integration comes slowly at first. Veteran homeschoolers reach it through the process of intentionally customizing our schedules, routines, and living spaces to fit our families and our needs. It comes through considering and addressing the forces that oppose our goals and outlining our goals in the first place. It also demands a willingness on our parts to acknowledge that moving through the stages of equilibrium and disequilibrium in life is a natural, necessary part of the human experience. And to get to our destination--a state of reasonable contentment--we have to take care of ourselves, the primary drivers in the movement to integration.

To riff on a popular adage: “If the parent ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

What recharges you? Do you make time for it? If not, what's stopping you?

I promise that even 15 minutes daily of self-care activity (exercise, meditation, yoga--whatever suits your style) can help you find a more centered life.

Even if it's never perfectly "balanced."

The Takeaway

Moms and Dads: practice taking care of yourselves.

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