Refocusing Priorities on Parental Leave

Refocusing Priorities on Parental Leave

I’m currently on parental leave and it has been very different this time with a baby and a young child to balance. Being committed to my career is a priority. My number one priority while on “parental leave” is to be a good parent. I try to be supermom and focus on my kids – cooking for them, cleaning up after them, and going on adventures with them. Unfortunately, that’s a lot of focus on 2/3’s of my loved ones and not a lot of focus on my spouse.

My priorities going forward in no particular order are:

  • Quality time with kids (aka leaving the house)
  • Housework duties
  • Cooking for my family
  • Me time (training for a half marathon)
  • Quality time with my partner

I’ve somehow overlooked the importance of quality time with my partner. Watching a TV show that we both happen to enjoy isn’t quality time. It is a way for both of us to decompress from the day and I think it serves a purpose, but I’m fooling myself if I consider it quality time.

My Me-Time Dilemma

If you’ve read this blog before you’ll know that I am a runner. I train for half marathons and that requires 2 weeknight runs and a long run on the weekend. Running is when I have my time to myself to recharge my mind, share a laugh with my running buddy, and talk about something bigger than Fancy Nancy’s latest fancy word.

My husband and I usually watch a TV show at night and then go to bed. I’ve been really sick for all of March with a cold that I can’t shake. I realize now that I complain about my cold and use it as the excuse for going to bed early or wanting to sleep in after the kids wake on a weekend morning. However, my husband really shook me when he asked why I don’t make time for him. He pointed out that I complain about being sick, yet I still made time to run 16 kilometres. His point was that I’m to sick to stay up another 15 minutes to talk about something important that happened during his work day, but I can find the strength to run 90 minutes.

I’m really glad he did speak up and question my priorities. I think it shows our mutual respect for each other that we are addressing it. I truly believe that self love isn’t selfish. That said, I was living pretty selfishly by how I was making my priorities.

Why My Husband is a Top Priority

My husband is my partner and my best friend. Unlike prior relationships, I feel like we are equals. While we each bring different strengths to the relationship, we achieve a perfect balance. I think its important to state that because when I set my priorities today I need to make him a priority too. I decided 9 years ago to enter into a marriage with him. Entering into marriage was me acknowledging that I would always make him and our relationship a priority. We need to hold ourselves accountable to reset our priorities if one of our needs isn’t being met.

Refocusing Priorities

I’ve spent 12 years in my career and I know how to get my job done successfully. As a mom of two, I only have 11 months experience so I’m going to cut myself some slack and refocus my priorities. I think I’m going to dust off our chess board and challenge my husband to a game of chess instead of opting for a TV show one night. Last week, we made 80 meatballs after the kids went to bed and we had fun being in the kitchen together. Maybe we will even go for a run together with the baby in the stroller when our older daughter is with grandma.

Shelby Hancock discusses the need to refocus priorities while on parental leave

Let me know…

Isn’t being a grown-up fun? I’m thankful to have this blog to be able to express myself, especially this topic which is a lot more personal than normal for me. Have you made an effort to refocus your priorities or re-prioritize your marriage? Let me know in the comments below.

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