Recently I read an article about an attorney who took paternity leave so his wife (also an attorney) could go back to work. He was a stay-at-home Dad from the time his son was 3 months until his son was 9 months. The article detailed how the attorney initially was sure he would have time during the day to read, study, and write while his new son napped. Instead he found his schedule exhausting with little time to rest. His law practice looked easy compared to this!

Parenting whether for an infant, toddler or teenager takes an enormous amount of energy. Sometimes it is physical energy as with a baby or young child and sometimes it is mental energy as with a teenager.

As a young parent it didn’t occur to me to complain to my friends or family that I felt disillusioned about the whole motherhood bit. I loved my children and wanted to be a “perfect mother”. That meant cooking, cleaning, playing, disciplining etc. all perfectly. To keep that sort of appearance up is extremely tiring. Do I sound a bit like a “Desperate Housewife”?!

My own behavior was not the best role model for my own children. Thank goodness they survived my over industriousness!

Actively choosing what we want to spend our energy on is an important life lesson. I had a picture of a perfect mother in my head and I was trying to be that model. There was a lot about motherhood I did like but my desire for perfectionism was making it difficult for me to enjoy it.

Sometimes I got so caught up in taking care of everyone else in the family that I barely had time for myself. How easy it was to get resentful and even angry! In those days I never thought about what I wanted in my life. Hard to believe but I’m not sure at that time I even knew what was fun for me!

Perhaps I was an extreme example in a different world. (This all happened in the late 60s and early 70s,) Instead today I hear mother’s talk about thinking about their kids while they are at work and their work while they are home with the kids. That has to be draining too. Ask any mother to make a list of the people in her life who are most important and I’ll bet she doesn’t even think about putting her own name on the list!

Both mothers and fathers want to bring their full energy into their parenting. One way to make sure you do that is to ask yourself, “Where am I losing my energy?” Some of the most common places are: lack of self care, too much debt, trying to be perfect, and work guilt.

Once you are aware of your own energy deficiencies it is time to make a plan to do something about them. Sometimes the answer of what to do is obvious and taking action easy. If not then get some help. There are parenting groups, coaches, therapists, and financial advisors who can offer advice and support. The next step is up to you.

Author's Bio: 

About Alvah Parker
Alvah Parker is a Business and Career Coach as well as publisher of Parker’s Points, an email tip list and Road to Success, an ezine. Her clients are managers, business owners, sole practioners, attorneys and people in transition. Alvah is found on the web at www.asparker.com. She may also be reached at 781-598-0388. To learn more about parenting issues go to the website www.awesomeparents.com for tips and ideas about parenting. The site also offers conference calls for mothers and fathers to share their parenting issues and ideas.