We do so many things as parents. So many responsibilities on our shoulders: paying bills, working, cleaning house, laundry, grocery shopping, homework, supervising kids, listening and advising our kids, having play dates and being a playmate, and so much more. Prioritizing and scheduling are the keys to sanity and some feeling of control. Sit down and write a list of the top five most important things in your life. Here are mine as an example: (1) Family; (2) Work; (3) Running; (4) Reading and writing; and (5) Social life. Structure your life around these priorities, if something is outside of these things, ditch it. When faced with conflicting schedules remember what is important to you and were it fits in.
Structure and flexibility are essential in parenting children and running. Structure, routine, predictability all of these provide security to children. Children are unable to set their own boundaries and limits. They cannot regulate their own behavior or moods. The adults around them teach these things. Schedules make sure we get everything in and they teach our children to organize and prioritize things as well. When you schedule time in for your family and children, they feel important and loved. As important as structure is for children, flexibility is also important. The unexpected is going to come up, you will have to move things or disregard them entirely. Every situation is different and each child is different. Being able to change your parenting style to your child’s needs is like changing from road shoes to trail shoes.
Parents need to learn to let things go or “don’t sweat the small stuff.” Sometimes we are hung up on things we think are critical in our life, such as house cleaning and yard work. These things are important, but they are not as critical as we make them out to be. I’m not saying live in a pigpen, so you have more time to play. What I am saying is if you are choosing between scrubbing the kitchen floor for the fourth weekend in a row and the kids want to play a game of Clue. Go play, it’s okay, the floor will be there once the mystery is solved.