Spring is the opportune time to clean out more than just your house, writes Jen Vuk.
The first of September marks the beginning of the perennial phenomenon known as ‘spring cleaning’, whereby many of us feel the need to attack the clutter that accumulated over winter and open the windows to let in the clean, fresh spring air.
But it’s not just our houses that can do with a serious clean-out. You might find that your parenting, too, has fallen into a rut over the colder months. So, as a new season takes hold and new life begins, why not apply the same spring-cleaning principles to the most important job in the world?
Take a good, long look
Like most of life’s changes, the parenting audit begins with taking a good, long, critical look at yourself, which is important because sometimes we can get into negative thinking and we don’t even realise we’re doing it.
Why not ask yourself a series of questions? Such as, what is it about parenting that I love? What is it about parenting that I hate? How can I make a difference in my child’s life? How can I surprise my child today? How can I praise my child? How do I not become frustrated?
Enjoy the vacuum
Our minds are so often jam-packed with things to do and place to be, so why not try to empty them of thought? Letting go of the daily stresses can add years to your life (or so I’m told).
As Cheryl Butler, Mighty Mommy blogger, writes: ‘I give myself “mommy time outs” on a regular basis where I remove myself from the fray and grab a good book. Or I turn on a mediation CD which has natural sounds like waterfalls, waves crashing to the shore, or the sounds of birds and bees softly chirping and buzzing in the background.
‘I may only have a few minutes to do this, but now that I’m in the habit of taking these breaks, I’m able to step back into “real life” and feel more refreshed and peaceful.’
Clear the calendar
What’s better than a full calendar? One that’s been emptied of appointments.
You know the feeling, every week having to ferry yourself to and from work and the children to and from school/sport/music/drama/playdates turns life into a literal blur of activity.
But you know what all kids want the most (okay, aside from an iPad or the latest Xbox)? Time with their parents. Yes, it might sound old-fashioned, but one-on-one attention from a parent trumps all the latest gadgets and can also create wonderful, long-lasting memories.
‘So clean up some free time on your calendar by eliminating obligations that you don’t need to keep and use it instead to give your uninterrupted, undivided attention to your kids and family,’ writes Butler.
Get moving together
Okay, it might still be a little fresh outside, but the sun’s breaking through, so it’s time to get those bikes/scooters/rollerblades out of the garage and back on the road/footpath, riding track.
Most people know that exercise releases feel-good hormones, so what’s better than exercising alongside those you love best? With another winter behind us, it’s time to get a move on. Together.