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Articles

MAKING SURE YOUR NEEDS ARE MET

By Karen Houghton

When we become a stay at home Mum, full or part-time, it is so easy to forget about our own needs as a living breathing person being met. This can begin from day one!

You probably agonised over your decision of taking some time out of the workforce. Will we cope financially for a couple of years? Will work cope without me for that time frame? Is this really the best way to go about it all for my child? Will my husband feel ok about me being at home. Odds are, thinking about your needs and whether it is what you want was probably way down the list! If you are like most women and I hate to say it Mums, you are probably still putting everyone else's needs first. If you are, then it is time to make a few changes.

I'm not talking about running away from home when we feel like it, or leaving children to fend for themselves. (Yes, yes, we feel like it sometimes!) What I am talking about is making sure we get a balance happening where everyone in our family has their needs met and that means us too!

Most women in our fortunate country of Australia manage to have their basic needs met like shelter, food, and water. These basic needs might have been satisfying for our grand mothers, as they were too tired after looking after families of 10, with no appliances and help from partners to even think about other needs, but it is 2002 and today we have other needs that need satisfying. We need to have our needs of stimulation, self-esteem and sense of achievement met. If we don't feel great and feel positive about our life as it is, right at this moment in time, then we run the risk of depression, anxiety and a general feeling of a life spinning out of control.

For most women, we work up until we have children and have activities like sports and hobbies, and a full social life to boot! I know I did. My life was full, but oh what a shock those first few weeks of full-time at home Mum were! It was very difficult to get my basic needs met like sleep, food and even water, I can tell you! Even though my husband was off work for 6 weeks it was still a survival game!

Things soon settled down a bit, and my basic needs were soon being met. My husband was now back at work and I would wait for the moment he walked home through the door. 'Tell me everything! What 's the gos' I would ask, as I grabbed his coat and case and neatly put them away. The house was absolutely perfect with not a speck of dust anywhere. His coat and bag had to go away instantly! We'd have a drink and I'd pump him for any news! Then I'd tell him how Gareth could now clap his hands. I had sat for hours showing him how, mind you! He was a wonderful baby and was going to be the most wonderful child/adult, on this planet!

I think it was the fact that Ian would not put a glass down on the table, (for fear of me whisking it away to wash it) that finally made me realise that I needed a life! I was living my life through my husband and my son's life. I was trying to have my needs met by them. I needed conversation. I needed to feel a sense of achievement, self-esteem and recognition of a job well done. I soon realised cleaning a house from top to bottom and teaching my son everything was not the only way to go about having these needs met. I was certainly a happier mother, spouse and general individual once these needs were met.

So how do we meet these needs. Well we can't just wait around for it to happen, we have to make it happen. If you crave conversation, like I did, then join playgroup and meet other women who are in a similar position to your self. If you crave conversation about anything but children, then join a bookclub, rotary, neighbourhood watch, or toastmasters. If you have a need of doing something worthwhile then do some charity work. You may be able to bring your sweet bundle along to a nursing home and say hello to the residents.

A sense of achievement can be met through sport or hobbies. Going for a walk and losing all the post baby weight can be a big achievement! If you are a creative person and these needs are not being met, then you will definitely not be a happy lady! You may now have a little person around, but this doesn't mean you can't still be creative. You will no doubt think up creative ways just to manage sewing with a toddler on the ground!

Take a reality check and see if your needs are being met. If you run from place to place making sure that all the children's needs are met (sport and hobbies) and you can't wait for your husband to walk in the door, then it might be time to think about how you are going to meet your needs.

This article was provided by the For Women At Home Group. You can find more articles and information on their website www.forwomenathome.com.au


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