There is just so much time in a day and it seems everyone is needing your time, including you needing some time for you! There is the larger issue of balancing our time in regard to work, relationships, volunteer commitments, time for ourself and more. It is hard knowing how to make it all fit. I think it works best when we consciously decide what is most important to us and try to balance accordingly.
I would like to address more specifically balancing the relationships in our life. For relationships to be nourished and grow, they of course must have attention and focus. So how do we manage to keep all of our relationships alive and thriving. Some things to consider are as follows:
1. Consider what relationships are most important to you. Does where you use your time reflect that these relationships are important to you?
2. You might consider the dual nature of how finding time for both family and couple time is inter-related and beneficial with a balance of these two entities. For a couple to be strong they must have one on one time with out their children at times. This helps to keep the initial bond healthy and strong. This is needed to co-parent children in a synergistic way. Being refreshed and happy as a couple will mean more patient, loving parenting. On the other side of the coin, spending family time fulfills the full circle and is very satisfying to the couple that they are meeting the needs of their children. It is rewarding to see your children happy and thriving from the time you have spent with them.
3. Going out with other couples is not “couple time” and really does not count as individual, one on one couple time. Yes it is fun and can be beneficial to be with other couples. But true “couple time” is when the two of you spend time together with out others involved.
4. Time spent does not always equal into nurturing and connecting time. Making sure you plan activities that encourage connection and interaction time is important.
5. Having friendships with others outside of our family can be healthy and helpful. As parents, being with other parents helps to feel not so alone in the sometimes challenging tasks of raising children. Or maybe being with other empty nesters can help normalize the sometimes challenging transition. I have found it does make a difference who we choose to have as friends. They can be a very healthy influence or a not so healthy influence.
6. In ending I might say I have found that different stages may require a different breakdown of how much time we spend with each of our loved ones. But, we have to remember that all relationships will need some time and attention to stay alive and vibrant. Communication with all about these issues can help too. Different folks may have different needs than our own. So when we talk about our needs and find out what our family and friends need to stay connected we can better grow these relationships.
Here is to balancing and growing and staying connected with the ones we love!!!