Strive for Balance in Your Personal and Family Life

The following is a condensed version of this Principle. If you have questions about this Principle or how to apply it to your family situation, please contact an API Leader near you or post your comments and questions to API's forums.

Striving for Balance involves ensuring that everyone's needs -- not just the child's -- are recognized, validated, and met to the greatest extent possible. In an ideal world, every family member's needs are met all the time, everyone is happy and healthy, and the family is perfectly in balance. In the real world, nobody's family life is perfectly balanced all the time. It is not unusual for parents to feel out of balance at times. Parents who practice AP continuously look for creative ways to find balance in their personal and family life.

Balance is the Foundation Upon Which Attachment Grows

  • When in balance, family members are more able to be emotionally responsive
  • The best defense for feeling isolated is to look outward to create a support network in the local community
  • The child's needs must be a priority, and the younger the child, the more intense and immediate his needs. Even so, he is one piece of the complete family picture that also includes the needs of the parents as individuals and as a couple, siblings, plus the family as a whole

Practical Tips for Maintaining Balance

  • Enjoy today, and accept that having a child changes things
  • Set realistic goals
  • Put people before things
  • Don't be afraid to say "no"
  • Turn "unpleasant" parental duties into enjoyable ones
  • Be creative in finding ways to spend couple time
  • Take time for yourself
  • Use a "mother's helper"
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Exercise regularly
  • Take naps
  • Take care of yourself
  • Avoid over-scheduling
  • Look for ways to make routine tasks easier
  • Get out of the house
  • Follow your heart and listen to your baby

Tips for Supporting New Mothers

A new mother can become so involved in the care of her infant that she doesn't recognize her own needs until she is in emotional or physical trouble.

  • Be patient and sensitive
  • Say something appreciative about each other every day
  • Be grateful
  • Be an empathetic listener

Tips for Balance and the Older Child

  • Bring a friend or mother's helper to activities
  • Avoid over-scheduling
  • Spend time just being together
  • Develop family traditions
  • Have parent-child "dates"
  • Create family nights
  • Rekindle hobbies and interests

Tips for Dealing with Parent "Burn-Out"

Recognize the symptoms of burn-out. Burn-out is a physical, emotional, and mental response to high levels of stress. Parents may feel relentlessly fatigued, strained, and physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. They may also feel overworked, under-appreciated, angry, resentful, powerless, hopeless, drained, frustrated, detached, anti-social, unsatisfied, resentful, like a failure, indifferent, and lacking motivation. Parents who feel their emotions are taking over should get help immediately!

  • Make regaining balance a priority TODAY
  • Cultivate friendships with other AP parents
  • Simplify and let go of unnecessary things
  • Take frequent deep breaths
  • Use yoga, meditation, or visualization
  • Consider professional counseling
  • Remember that "this too shall pass"
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