Self-Parenting: Setting Ground Rules for the Self. ~ Andrea Isabelle Lucas

get elephant's newsletter
mother and kids
Photo: Jaimie Arnold

Do you set rules for yourself?

Recently, my seventh grade son, Roman, needed a little extra help with getting organized and managing his time so that he can stay on top of chores, homework and the like.

I put together a list for him of all the key things he needs to take care of in the morning, afternoon and evening before switching into “free time” mode.

The result? The structure has worked wonders for him! He is thriving—getting ready for school in record time because everything is laid out the night before, keeping up with his assignments and generally being successful.

We’ve tried schedules and checklists before so I’m not exactly sure what was different this time.

Maybe the fact that the emphasis here was not on doing everything at a certain time, but rather on making sure everything necessary gets done before starting free time.

Maybe it’s just that he has finally matured enough to handle these responsibilities. I sometimes wonder what it’s been like for Roman, who thrives on structure, to have a rather free-spirited mom like me.

As he grows up, so do I and this recent experience got me thinking. If I were to establish the same kind of list for myself, what results would I get?

What if I “parented” myself as well as I do my children?

And what would my daily list of ground rules look like if I were to show myself enough love and care to create rules – for myself – and stick to them?

Here are some “ground rules” that I came up with for me:

  • >>Do an hour of vigorous physical activity at least five days a week, yoga at least three days. (Some would say, as a yoga teacher, I should be practicing daily, but this is not intended to be a list of “shoulds.” Enough said.)
  • >>Check email and social media no more than twice a day. Set a timer for half an hour, then get outta there.
  • >>Never, ever, ever send text messages or attempt to read emails while driving.
  • >>Plan meals, buy groceries and stop ordering expensive and unhealthy takeout.
  • >>Meditate for at least ten minutes a day.
  • >>Get in bed by 10 p.m. (My alarm goes off at five or six a.m. most mornings!)
  • >>No work after 6pm (see above).
  • >>Get at least half an hour of “recess” time in the outdoors everyday.
  • >>Never be too tired for sex. (Hey, this is a grown-up list!)
  • >>Go on a date with my partner at least every other week.
  • >>Spend time with friends in a non-work related way at least every other week.
  • >>Put away the smart phone when I’m around others–including my children! Be present.
  • >>Make a little music at least 15 minutes a day.
  • >>Spend at least 20 minutes picking up the house each night instead of looking around bewildered and then slipping away to hide in the bedroom while my partner cleans up. (Yes, I’m afraid this happens almost daily.)

If I lived by these rules I know it would change my life.

What would you put on your list? What do you “know to do” that you’re not doing? And yes, yoga teachers, I know you hear me! What would make a difference for you in the areas of:

  • >>Health
  • >>Career
  • >>Family
  • >>Love
  • >>Play
  • >>Creativity

I’d love to hear what you come up with!

Andrea Isabelle Lucas teaches yoga, barre, burlesque, aerial silk, and other movement classes in the Boston area. Having experienced challenges like teen parenthood, domestic violence and divorce, she is passionate about helping other women, especially those recovering from trauma. Her mission is to empower women to live fit, fun and happy lives, and she holds a self-designed B.A. in Women’s Studies and Mind Body Wellness. She writes about what moves her on her blog: FitFeminist.


Editor: Seychelles Pitton

Like elephant family on Facebook!

is a new feature on Elephant Journal—enabling you to instantly share your mindful ideas, photos, art, YouTube videos/Instagram links & writings with our 5 million readers. Try it Now.

Write Now

About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of Questions? Send to [email protected]


6 Responses to “Self-Parenting: Setting Ground Rules for the Self. ~ Andrea Isabelle Lucas”

  1. eleanor says:

    What a great article for my day! Never a coincidence, I say. Thank you for the thoughts. Have a splendid day.

  2. Carrie Tyler says:

    Love it Andrea. I think time management is one of the toughest things we face in today's world of smartphones, computers, and over-burdened to do schedules. I love the idea of "parenting" ourselves.

  3. Deborah says:

    Wonderful piece Andrea. Thanks for sharing this. With love from your ukelele singing pal xox

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.