How do we find a balance as parents?
By Sitara Hewitt
How do we take care of our own energy levels, and get our work done while making sure our kids have all they need? The first step I had to make was change my frame of mind. Now I accept: My number one job is being a mom. And I feel accomplished and empowered by that statement. For the first few years of my son’s life I was lamenting my stalled career and how tired or overwhelmed i felt trying to do it while caring for a little one, but now I realize that the time and love I invested at home are worth more than any gig I could have worked on. Putting that time in to help him feel secure and seen and nourished during his early years is something I’m proud of.
Recently I started to go back to work. I even travelled for 3 weeks away from him to shoot a film. My work is varied; sometimes I see clients for my meditation practice, sometimes I’m running around to auditions and sometimes I am on set shooting tv or film. It’s not really glamorous work, though it can be thought of that way ;). The biggest thing that strikes me about being a working actor is that you need stamina. You need endurance. The days on set average about 12-14 hours long. Much like any parent’s career, you need to feel rested, healthy and focused so that you can do your best and then come home and have some energy left over to give to your kids.
So how do I do this? Well I put my health first. You know that saying ‘You can’t put on someone else’s oxygen mask until you’ve put on your own.’ It basically means you can’t properly look after others until you look after yourself. My sleep, healthy eating and exercise are non-negotiables. If I can’t get to the gym I power walk on my lunch hour. I turn down alcohol unless it’s a special occasion as it leaves me feeling too tired the next day (I know that’s not for everyone, so my advice is to limit consumption to one glass. Eventually your body adjusts to the lesser amount and you still feel a warm, enjoyable glow from just one!)
I make sure I get enough down time. I typically turn down events I don’t NEED to go to. I’m not anti social, I just save my energy for my close friends and family and my son.
I feel great about saying ‘no’ sometimes and just staying home and making art with my son or going for a quiet walk with him. In the long run I think that nourishes us both more than over booking ourselves.
Plus when I’m feeling well rested and healthy, I am more patient and fun around my son, and ultimately we both get to enjoy that time together more fully that way. He’s only little once, I do everything I can to feel good and be present for it!
I say no to sugar. It gives me a ‘hangover’! Plus it’s the best way to boost your immunity and feel fitter – sugar degrades the system and is what makes us put on weight. In that category is white flour too so I stay away from processed baked goods and pastas. Instead I buy gluten free bread or hearty whole grains. I eat lots of good fats! This curbs cravings for sweets and actually helps you stay slim and energized. Avocados, olive oil, raw nuts, unsweetened nut butters are my go to’s.
As far as being a woman who took time off her career to stay at home with her son: yes. It has it’s challenges. Especially in an industry where being young used to give the most opportunity.
But again it’s all about our outlook. I bring myself to a place of trust. Trust in perfect timing. Trust that my life path is as unique as I am. That things will fall into place as they are meant to if I just keep putting my best out there and keeping myself in a happy, healthy state of being. I let go of blaming external factors and others. Taking responsibility for where we are in our lives is empowering and gives us the strength to make changes. Whereas blaming others or outside circumstances just weakens us and keeps us stuck.
Feel proud that you’re a mom! Whether you’re working or being home with them full time, you are doing the most valuable work and there is no right or wrong way to design your life path.
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