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11/8/16blog post

why you should take a moment for yourself

When is the last time you told your child that you were not going to some select sports activity because you wanted more time for yourself? Your need for sleep was more important than taking your child to a sporting activity.

Lack of adequate sleep is a serious threat to your physical and emotional health. The impact has been well documented in the medical arena, with exhaustion related to an increase in errors by physicians and nurses. Driver fatigue is a factor in at least 30% of automobile accidents, and contributes to errors in a variety of professions ranging from airline pilots to truck drivers.

Physical and emotional fatigue is one of the most common challenges of raising kids. We are getting about 20% less sleep today than we were a century ago. As is typical in many areas of psychology, this is the classic example of parents knowing what to do, but not doing what they know.

Why don’t parents make sleep a higher priority?

When asked that question, parents mention unending child-care demands, responsibilities at work and the desire to spend time with their spouse.

Those responses don’t really explain why good parents make bad decisions about how they spend their time. Adequate sleep contributes to you being a healthier person and a better parent and spouse, but most parents lack the discipline to make the tough decision to place their own needs above those of others.

We erroneously think that parenting is all about making sacrifices for our kids. Being a parent does involve an incredible commitment that often results in placing your child’s needs above your own. However, it seems that many parents have taken that to an extreme, going to extraordinary measures of making their children the center of the universe.

That’s bad for kids, bad for your spouse, and bad for you. Caring and commitment doesn’t mean doing whatever your kids want you to do.

Many parents are caring people, but psychological wimps, afraid to say no to whatever their children want. They are reluctant to assert their own needs, and tell their kids that the world does not revolve around them. Your children need to learn that they are part of a family, where what they want will be balanced by the needs and wants of others.

Sleep deprivation isn’t the cause of bad parenting, but rather it’s the result of well-intentioned but weak parents whose lack of confidence leads them to do what is expected rather than what is right.

Want more sleep? Be confident enough as a person and parent and learn to say so.