I have been on a self-help binge lately. My life is in transition, and it’s all good, but one of my coping methods is to read every self-help book I can get my hands on and take every personal growth workshop within a 60 mile radius of my house.
Something I read this weekend caught my eye, and it reminded me of what we as moms do without even thinking about it:
“Overgiving is often a sign of deprivation – a signal that a need isn’t being met, an emotion isn’t being expressed, or a void isn’t getting filled.” – Cheryl Richardson, The Art of Extreme Self-Care
This generation is certainly prone to overgiving when it comes to our children. We overbook our own schedules and those of our kids; we put other people’s needs ahead of our own; we say “Yes” when we really want to say “No” because we don’t want to hurt another person’s feelings.
Perhaps it is because many of us are a part of Generation X, which according to a Reach Advisors 2004 study, “went through its all-important formative years as one of the least parented, least nurtured generations in U.S. history.” We are making up for what we didn’t get as kids.
My mom loved me to pieces, but I don’t know if she ever got stressed out over a PTA bake sale. I don’t think our moms worried about things like teachers who weren’t the right fit, or that we weren’t involved in enough extracurricular activities, or whether we spent too many hours in front of the tv.
We were the kids whose parents weren’t overinvolved, and we don’t want that to happen to our kids. But have we let the pendulum swing too far in the other direction? Are we giving so much that we are depriving ourselves of a rich and fulfilling life?
I am all for giving to our children. On my priority list, the kids come first. However, the kids are not the only priorities. Work, alone time, creative pursuits…. these are all important to me too.
Think about what’s important to you, outside of your children. What do you really need to feed your soul? Do you need more time alone? More sleep? Time for creative pursuits?
We can give without overgiving if we just remember and focus on what is important to us, because it is those activities that give us the fuel to keep going.