Things I Wish I Knew Regarding Alone Time
Does the thought of time away from your kids gives you hives ?? If yes, this week's TIWIK (Things I Wish I Knew) about divorce is for you.
My friend Erika Ann Englund - a former family attorney and mediator turned Chief Strategy Officer for a legal/tech company - knows about divorce. From both her Clients' experiences and her own personal divorce, she can be empathetic to the difficulties that ensue after a marriage splits up, but she also sees the benefits, particularly as it relates to time away from your children. While the idea of handing them over to their other parent and saying goodbye for a weekend or more may seem daunting and anxiety-inducing to many, Erika sees it completely differently:
"Not only is having time away from children a huge benefit. It gave me time to work, date and learn new skills/hobbies. Also, it helps me focus on really enjoying the children while they're here with me. I'm more present and patient."
I love what Erika shares here because it is exactly what I've experienced and what I encourage my clients to focus on. It's so important to shift perspective and focus not on the division of a marriage, but on the opportunities that will come thereafter.
For however long you've been married, you have responsibilities. At first just for your husband, your home, perhaps a pet. But then you have children. The to-do list increases dramatically and while you may equally share responsibility, it's still... responsibility. Sure, you can shut the bedroom door once the kids are asleep for some alone time, but you sit/sleep with one ear perked up listening for a cry, a scream, a bang as they trip on their way to the bathroom. Your time is simply not your own.
Now - think about how it would feel to have time back just for you.
What could you do with all of that time?
Need to catch up on work? You can do that!
Always wanted to try a spin class? Go for it!
Feeling sad and want to write out your feelings? Do it uninterrupted!
Physically or emotionally wiped out? Binge TV and take a nap!
Feeling lonely? Make a plan with a friend!
Feeling "lonely"? Hop on a dating app and swipe away!
Whether it's any of the above or something else you choose to do with your time, the important part is - it's YOUR TIME. Taking the time for self-care- and I mean self-care in the widest sense - doing anything and everything to focus on yourself - as essential physical and emotional benefits.
From psychreg.org, "Self-care encourages self-improvement. It promotes rest and relaxation, which benefits our overall health and wellness, and it also promotes healthy relationships. When our self-esteem and self-awareness improves, it has a positive effect on our overall mindset. This, in turn, enables us to care for our friends and loved ones in a way that we might not have been able to do before." Yes- taking time for ourselves, to take care of ourselves enables us to better care for others. While it may be hard to watch your kids drive away with their other parent (and it is, I can attest to that) you will soon be breathing a sigh of relief when the house is quiet, and you are left to unapologetically focus on yourself.