You probably weren’t expecting to be raising kids again at this stage in your life. (Pssst…. I'm 54!) At times, the physical, emotional, and financial demands may feel overwhelming. That’s why it’s vitally important that you take care of yourself and get the support you need.
When you’re preoccupied with the daily demands of raising grandkids, it’s easy to let your own needs fall by the wayside. But taking care of yourself is a necessity, not a luxury. You can’t be a good caretaker when you’re overwhelmed, exhausted, and emotionally depleted. I KNOW I KNOW …. and you know this, but how? That's the dailyness of it all ~ D A I L Y!! In order to keep up with your grandkids, you need to be calm, centered, and focused. (Uuuumm…. wondering what this lQQks like? Me too, however, together we will get there and do it!! Wonderfully, successfully and fantastically together!) Looking after your own mental and physical health is how you get there.
A healthy you means a healthy grandchild. If you don't take care of your health, you won't be able to take care of your grandchild, either. Make it a priority to eat nutritious meals, exercise regularly, and get adequate sleep. Don't let doctor's appointments or medication refills slide.
Hobbies and relaxation are not luxuries. (THIS is where I fail miserably! And still a work in progress. Come to think of it, ALL of this is and will always be a work in progress ~ it's called "doing life together.") Carving out time for rest and relaxation is essential to avoid burnout and depression. Use your “me time to really nurture yourself. Choose activities that indulge your senses. Zoning out in front of the TV won’t revive you. And if need be, hire a sitter to go out to lunch, get that massage ~ not the 60 minute one but the 90 minute one!!
It’s okay to lean on your grandchild for help (just be sure it's age appropriate). Kids are smarter and more capable than we often give them credit for. Even young children can pick up after themselves and help out around the house. Helping out will also make your grandchild feel good.
Support makes all the difference!! This is another area of which I struggle gravely. Due to where I live etc. it makes it a little more difficult. I live in PARADISE, God's waiting room in SW FL where most folks come to retire. So, I get creative and am in search for mom's groups, play groups, any kind of group for her to connect and hope there's a connection of me too!! Studies show that grandparents who cope well with the added stress of raising grandchildren are those who seek out others for support.
Find someone you can talk to about what you’re going through. This will give you a chance to work through your feelings and come to an acceptance of the situation. If you deny or ignore these feelings, they will come out in other ways and may affect your relationship with your grandchild. Look for support groups for grandparents raising grandchildren. Support groups or even phone support can be very helpful in this journey, and it's a good start for making friends in similar situations. Hearing from people who have been there can help both uplift your spirits and give you concrete suggestions for your situation. Reach out in your community for childcare help. If you are a member of a church, synagogue or other religious organization, you may be able to ask around for available babysitters. Try library story time hours, chatting up other parents at the playground, or seeing if your neighbors have a reliable teen available to babysit or if any parents are interested in a babysitting swap.
Connect with parents with children. Even if you feel like you are from a different generation, the joys and tribulations of raising children can quickly form common bonds. It may take time, but forging friendships with parents with similar aged children can offer camaraderie and help on navigating the maze of issues facing children today.
Being me I'd be remiss if I didn't mention a thriving relationship with Jesus. It's what I'm all about!! I'm addicted to grace. Prayer, scripture … it's my life line when I'm alone and really don't know where to turn. And then when Jesus steps in THINGS happen: miracles, rest, peace, joy, love, patience, goodness!! I know there's that song that goes something like "when Jesus enters the room there is healing …" Can't think of the title or the author of it.
Let me know your thoughts and your journey!
Raisin' 2nd generation