The New Normal
Oh the times of being “free” to go do whatever, whenever, have passed us by. The days of just getting in the car and driving seems to be in our review. However, just remember, objects in mirror are closer than they appear. cancelling plans
After the greatest thing in the world happens to us (that’s having kids, not J.J. Abrams heading up the new Star Wars trilogy…in case that wasn’t crystal clear) the way we do things, that had become second nature, seem to take a turn for the, well I won’t say worst but I will say, new normal.
Watching our weight and video gaming takes an all-time hit. Some of us go food shopping at night now, when our other half is home to watch the kids, or we have the groceries delivered or prepared for pickup instead. We now do most of our shopping online. A lot of us now do our banking and picking up of prescriptions through the drive through. And all of us are now required, whether we feel like it in the moment or not, to do things for our kids like take them to soccer and football, get them prepared for their next recital, help with homework, and all on the same day.
Now snap out of it! What’s wrong with you?! You’re stuck in a rut that becomes a cyclical excuse of why you do what you do.
Think about it, you have to do these things discussed above so when you can finally just do nothing you choose to do actually nothing. However, doing nothing in the long term is not recharging you or making you feel rejuvenated again. It’s literally doing nothing for you.
After a while you always start to feel “blah” and have no motivation to do things that aren’t required of you. Once this kicks in you start to have feelings of inadequacy, lack of fulfillment, and confused on your purpose in life (besides raising your kids to become the adults they will one day be). And before you know it these feelings have beat you up and exhausted you further thus becoming the excuse to why you do nothing and the process starts all over again.
This is not to say there isn’t a time and place for some peace and quiet to just listen to ourselves and gather our thoughts but sitting on the couch every night is not that. That time of silence needs to be purposeful and intentional like meditating, journaling, grounding ourselves, etc. But I digress…
Remind yourself, you had kids, you didn’t die or join a monastery. Plus, our kids need a happy and mentally healthy parent otherwise they’re going to feel our misery and we’ll be projecting on them that having kids means the end of living…which IS NOT TRUE!
Even through all this garbage we sometimes find ourselves actually making plans but when it comes down to it the ‘nothing’ plague hits us last second and we duck out. We make excuses why it’s OK we’re cancelling plans, “I didn’t have as much time as I’d hoped”, “I won’t get as much sleep if I go”, “I had a long week”, etc. Again, snap out of it! What’s wrong with you?!
So how do we force ourselves to follow through with something we don’t have the current motivation to do? Here are a few simple steps that you can use to take back your personal life and invigorate yourself.
Make Plans That Mirror Yesteryear
Well maybe not keg stands but what did you used to do before kids that has since slowed down (I said besides keg stands)? Do you need a nice, expensive, dinner with friends? Has it been a while since you moshed at a concert? Are you missing some popcorn and the one loud person behind you at the movies? Miss the days of trying on clothes while shopping? Maybe you miss your favorite pretentious barista and uppity coffee shop so you can just talk to strangers about life? Well figure out what used to get you off the couch and in your car/subway/bus/biking and start making those plans now.
If it’s something you’re actually passionate about you’re more likely to follow through with it.
Schedule plans that require you to make yourself relied upon by someone else so you’re accountable to go thru with it. Whether that’s plans with friends who also have kids, who need to go out of their way to secure babysitting, or hiring a babysitter who’s a student and could use the money. Just do something that makes it harder on yourself to cancel.
Suck It Up
Think about how you’ve said in the past you DID NOT want to do something but after you did you were glad and actually had a great time. Make this one of those moments. In the long run you’re going to thank yourself and be glad you did…even if in the moment it doesn’t feel that way.
No, It’s Not OK
If you’ve done those things that make it harder to cancel there’s going to be a point where you still might try to convince yourself that it’s ok to back out. You’ll say, “It’s ok that our friends got a babysitter because they can have a date night by themselves now,” or, “I’ll cancel but tell the babysitter I’ll still pay her since she probably planned on having that money.” And whatever else will help you sleep at night. However, just don’t do it.
We teach our kids it’s not OK to spew bullshit so take your own advice and don’t bullshit yourself.
Yes, It Is OK
So when is it OK to actually back out of plans? There’s not very many reasons but the one reason is that you or one of the kids have become ill or injured. There it is. That’s your one excuse. Not even ‘finances’ is a good enough excuse because there are plenty of free or cheap things you can do that are similar to those things that you used to do.
So there are just a few suggestions on how to make plans and stick with them. Remember, you need to take care of yourself in a lot of ways and going out, without the kids, is one of those. Don’t think of it as work or unfair to the kids…or whatever other lies you tell yourself to justify being lazy.
Are you guilty of not making plans that will recharge you? Are you guilty of making plans but always cancelling? Do you neglect all your responsibilities and only do what you want to do?
Let us know your thoughts below in the comments.