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Deals You Can Make with Yourself

You can get so overbooked and overstressed in supporting your kids' growth that you can also become, well, overlooked.

The answer to this problem would be simple - make a list of things you can do for yourself and really do them - except for the problem of time.

So you have to get creative. Here are a few ideas:

Double up. Instead of just waiting while your kid takes a music lesson or has a sports practice, why not take a walk? Or bring a funny book?

Learn how to say no. Sometimes, letting somebody else bake the muffins is okay. Also: Buy sometimes, instead of baking. Everybody knows time is precious, and the kids really won't mind.

Learn how to say yes. Some things that sound fun and fulfilling are rejected because you "don't have the time." Well, once in a while, go ahead and say yes to that invitation to go out to lunch with a friend or to get a sitter on a Tuesday and go out to a movie at night. Sure, you'll have to catch up on some chores later, but you'll manage.

Really use time that you save. Or not. But whichever one you do, do it deliberately. Sometimes, you run two errands at once (like doing your grocery shopping while your kid is at practice), but then when you get home, you're so exhausted that you just sit in front of the TV to recover, and next thing you know, that time you saved is gone, and you're kicking yourself for it. Wouldn't it be better if you had started out from the beginning with some veg-out TV time in mind? Then, after your TV time is over, you'd feel like you'd earned that break instead of feeling like you'd merely resorted to it. Or, if you really do have something you're burning to do - writing that great American novel, re-tiling that great American kitchen - run your two errands at once and then simply refuse to be sidetracked from your quest when you get home, even if you are tired. Remind yourself that the tired feeling will pass once you get involved in your project.

Most importantly, acknowledge and celebrate, rather than suffer, the many things you do. Instead of your "to-do" list being a source of feeling oppressed and overworked, look at the crossed-off items in last week's list as accomplishments, even if a lot of those things - driving the kids to their practices - seem routine. Remember, it's those little things that do add up over time.

Speaking of which, time to get going... We'll see you next in time for the December holidays!

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