Have you ever tried digging a hole in the soft sand on the beach? Pretty impossible right?
As a parent of a gifted child or children and especially if you are the main carer in the family you will find trying to get a teensy, weensy bit of time for yourself and the things that you like to do almost as impossible as digging a hole in the soft sand! And every time just as you think “This is it! They’re in primary school, secondary school, college, I’ll now be able to take up that creative writing course or whatever it is that you would like to do for yourself, along comes another intensity that has to be dealt with. And yes I did say College! Even at college stage and beyond the issues related to giftedness will continue to chase you and stop you digging that hole in the sand!
Whether it’s behavioural problems related to boredom in school that have to be dealt with, and yes I did say that dreaded “B” word which really seems to get the hackles up if mentioned to teacher, but that’s another days blog! Or you could be dealing with issues that come with dual exceptionality such as ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia to name but a few. As the years go on you could discover yourself dealing with crippling perfectionism, anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, again to name but a few! By the time they reach young adulthood you realise that you have done so much reading and research at the various stages that you have gone through with them that you have enough knowledge and material for several PHD’s! But you still don’t have time to do one! Because now they’re moving into the adult world and starting their working life, and they are doing this with the same intensity that they have done everything else so far!!
My advice is move onto the hard sand every so often and dig yourself a decent hole! Fight for that bit of time for yourself and the things that you like/want to do. If they are very small, rope in friends/relations to look after them one day a week and have a whole day to do your thing. That’s what I used to call “Red Carpet Day!” (I even wrote a poem about it!” As they get older and more capable, tell them every so often, ‘today is the day I do…’ whatever it is that you do, and let them look after themselves for a couple of hours.
They really don’t get it off the wind and it’s possibly that we approach parenting/caring with the same intensity that our kids approach everything else, so you will probably find it hard to fight for that time for yourself but it is very important that you do. Remember that you are not just a parent, you are a person too!