Making Selfish Decisions for the Good of the Whole Family

IMG_0887crop_lo-resWhen we started thinking about our lifestyle overhaul, which involved quitting work, moving and starting our own business, our progress was often delayed because we worried it would not be a good move for the kids.  We had a stable life and there was little question that we could support them for years to come.  It was hard for us not to feel that jeopardising this stability for the uncertainty of the plan we wanted to follow (discussed in detail in the blog Building our Balanced Family Life) was being very selfish.  This thought delayed our plans for quite a while until we decided it was finally the best plan for the whole family, selfish or not.

While we were content with our lifestyle there were many things about it that were starting to weigh us down and it was starting to be noticeable.  It became obvious to us we needed to make a change when we noticed that our growing resentment to our daily routine was having an effect on the kids.  With my growing apathy towards a fairly stressful job and Lisa feeling like there was little escape during the day from 3 needy kids, we were not always in the most positive of moods.  We never had fights and we tried to keep the mood around the house upbeat but despite our efforts we were still bringing to our home a negative energy.   There were many days that went very well and we would both be in good moods and on those days the kids were generally well behaved and cheerful.  If we both had less than stellar days then simple tasks like having dinner as a family could be a challenge as the whole family would be impatient and the kids would often fight for our attention.  This was a sign to us that our kid’s happiness really is a reflection of our own.  They are at their best when we are at our best.  We had to create a situation that allowed us to be at our best more often.  We had to to look after our own needs and plan our life around what makes up happy.

Now that we have kids we understand the notion that your whole life revolves around them, but there has to be some sort of balance.  Parent’s lives often consist of work, house work, driving the kids to numerous activities, and not much else.    Even if your work is something you absolutely love to do, I believe it is also important to make sure you are regularly doing activities, with and without the family, that you enjoy.  In our new lifestyle we are working 7 days a week, but each day we each have time to spend with the kids, time to work (mostly very enjoyable) and some free time for our own personal escape.  For us personal activites include reading, playing games, gardening, walking, yoga, among many others.   We will allow the kids to partake in sports and other activities in the community but there will be a limit and it has to fit into our schedule.  Much of our free time will be spent as a complete family doing activities that we all enjoy (at the age of out kids it means a lot of beach, nature park, and playground time).
Aaaaah me time...
Aaaaah me time...

We have just started this new lifestyle and it is too early to tell if we will have all the benefits that we are looking for, but there has been some noticeable improvements already.  We have removed a lot of the stress in our lives and are having far more good days than bad.  We are sharing the family duties and the kids get to spend a fair bit of time with each of us, as well as time altogether.  The kids just seem happier and are getting upset less often.   Everyone in this home has their emotions interlinked together, and as heads of this family, our recently revived positive attitude has injected an uplifting energy into our daily life, and it is great.  We strongly believe that our selfish decision to look after our needs first will ultimately be the best gift we ever give our kids.

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