Parenting kids from hard places can feel like spinning plates. Both take careful timing, intense focus and patient practice. Some things spin faster than others and something is always a bit wobbly. It’s stressful! When the day’s show is over, plate spinners are fatigued, exhausted and ready to let the plates rest awhile. That’s where the commonality ends for many foster and adoptive parents. Our plates rarely rest simultaneously so physical recharging can be as elusive as a full night’s sleep. We need quick, easy-to-do-with-kids around physical refreshers.
True confession, I like some parts of physical recharging better than others. Way better. Five minute power nap-I’m all in. Hydration- water bottle is filled and chilled. Fruits and veggies- five each day. Exercise-not so much. Exercise is important but long term damage to my left leg brings pain and swelling. Exercise recharges me physically but there’s never enough time. Exercise results in more energy but… My doctor said I needed to move from but to and. Exercise is important and there are ways to make it happen.
So, I discovered another kind of spinning, the kind that happens while pedaling a stationary bike; to be exact a recumbent bike. Besides switching from but to and, three principles helped me find success with this physical recharge.
Partner- In the matter of spinning, my husband offered encouragement, accountability and assembly. (Left to me, that bike would still be in pieces by the bedroom door.) Who might remind you to recharge, encourage your efforts or provide practical help so you can refresh physically?
Prioritize- If you wait until there’s enough time to refresh physically, you’ll likely remain exhausted. Find a way. Ask your partner to help.
Persevere- When my original bike broke down, I had to find another one. When I travel, I have to find the gym. When I experienced pain, I had to push through it. It took about three months before spinning became routine.
What quick-charging devices help parents of kids from hard places refresh physically?
Hustle. Do the Hustle, or the Macarena. Even the Hokie Pokie will work. Put some music on and dance for five minutes. Don’t worry about technique. Remember laughing refreshes emotionally so clumsy dancing can mean double refresh.
Get out. Walk the dog, pull a few weeds, take the trash to the curb or sweep the back patio. It doesn’t have to be a chore. Bike around the park, fly a kite, explore the Farmer’s Market and buy some…
Heart-smart food. An apple a day does help keep the doctor away. Try small snacks that combine protein and carbohydrates. Eat breakfast. Stay hydrated. Pick smart fuels for your body and you’ll get a smoother ride.
Swap. Meals, childcare, chores, swap with a partner and you’ll both get a break.
Don’t get desperate, use RESPITE!
If you don’t want to end up like this parental unit, hiding out in the bathroom watching little fingers curl under the bathroom door, plan for time away from the kids. Likely you’ll need to partner, prioritize and persevere to make this happen. Keep at it. Phones need recharging periodically and so do parents.
How do you recharge physically? How do you partner, prioritize and persevere to make it happen?
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