Rest — is it a focus in your family?

I’ve grappled with slowing down and resting my whole life. Growing up, our family values were unwritten and just understood, but if you had to sum them up it would be ‘work hard, play hard.’ It laid the foundation for strong work ethics as a family, we all take on a bit more than we should, and we are very passionate and dedicated.  We also rarely rest. Naps were uncommon over the age of two in my family, and lounging around wasn’t really a thing. There are both positive and negatives to this of course.

I’m usually high energy and rest is not a natural response. But as I turned 20, and lived and worked and overworked in New York City, I started to realise it was all go, go, go, and I began to see the need to properly switch off on holidays, to take yoga classes, and to sometimes have lazy pajama days. Then I realised parents with young kids just have a different kind of go, go, go….  I sometimes think I will one day lie around and leisurely read a Sunday paper when I retire. What a silly thought! And what a long time away that will be!

I have only gotten better in the last few years because of a health scare — I had pneumonia while I had a 15-month-old and it took nearly a year to recover — then I had to learn to rest. A friend of mine who is a nurse had to explain that rest is part of health. Rest is as important as eating and exercise. I love doing, and sometimes I take on too much… but now, I am writing this in pjs, pottering around the house (we didn’t even have the phrase ‘pottering’ growing up)! How far I have come. But what does my natural inability to rest teach my children?

And what is your definition of rest? A reason to recharge, a way to have some time alone? A calm walk in a beautiful setting? A day at the beach? Calm music and herbal tea? A 20 minute cat nap on the sofa or a good book in your hands? Is it only something that happens in a sleeping state? Or is it just quieter time doing something you love? Baking? Reading? Having a bath? Walking somewhere peaceful?

I ask this because I am still trying to understand it better. As mums, we are often great at taking care of others and terrible at taking care of ourselves. (Do you agree?) We often make sure our babies and toddlers have blissful naps and cosy sleeps, but don’t indulge in the same for ourselves. What do you do as a caregiver to look after yourself to ‘fill the well’, to recharge, and to rest?  It is so common to hear about stress — people often talk about being so exhausted — and I’m wondering if we all took more time to rest, if this would be less of a problem? 

With kids, there’s so much time spent on doing in the form of after school clubs, play dates, birthday parties, activities and lessons. Do you enforce rest or quiet time within your family?

Lara x

ps I loved Esther’s article about what time you and your children go to bed and I would love to know more about how you help to recharge batteries outside of just sleep in the evening! Please share your thoughts.


Comments (2)

December 6, 2018

For us resting as a family means listening to music or audio books. But also relaxing on our sofa and reading something. Or watching a movie also means relaxing and resting for us. Our son really likes do do 1000 pieces puzzles this is also a good rest for him to forget all the stress he has in school. He normally does this in the evenings before he goes to bed, because watching tv isn´t goof for him on school day evenings, so he is only allowed to watch tv at the weekends.

December 6, 2018

this is so true and so often overlooked. With all my kids we started quiet time after lunch once they dropped their naps. We still do this at the weekends if we’re at home. It’s a time for quiet play or reading by themselves in their rooms and at the same time an opportunity for us parents to recharge…

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