I hate to ruin any dreamy notions you may have about raising a family in Hawaii, but I've gotta tell you: Things get stressful around here too.
We all have our unique stressors of course, and yep, we've got them here too. As a homeschool family, with competitive surfer boys, our stress is often about that delicate balance of school and training. When the waves are good, it's hard to say no to kids spending half the day or more in the water. My husband, though a doctor, is confident and relaxed about our boys' schooling. He has a very competitive nature (and a love for surfing) so he tends to bend easily towards the waves. I, as the one responsible for homeschooling, have trouble bending at all.
My husband and I ran into friends while out to dinner recently, and when I mentioned (or more like grumbled) that two of my boys were at home still finishing their school day because they had been out surfing all day, my husband smiled and said something about a "healthy tension" on the subject.
"Healthy tension?" I could think of other words.
I have to believe I'm not alone. I'm a mom, and I find peace knowing that everyone's work is done. I want routine and order. I want a clean house.
I wondered if I had hit a personal low when I recently heard myself say the words, "You want to know what makes me happy!? A clean house makes me happy, that's what!"
(They may tell us that we'll never have those thoughts on our deathbed... but I sure have those thoughts a lot these days.)
Life is stressful. Being a mom can bring out the worst in us. When life feels overwhelming, we often want to control anything we can.
So what I want to share today is a combination of a breath of fresh air and a punch in the gut.
It's something a good friend told me a few years back -- back when I was in yet another state of stress and frustration over things I could not control. She said:
ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT QUALITIES IN A MOM IS TO BE RELAXED.
Relaxed? I mean I get things like discipline, character or rules... but relaxed? Just relaxed!? That is just way too... easy. And yet so hard.
My friend had passed it on to me from an older wiser woman in her life. Advice like that is usually pretty good. I'm so thankful for the women in my life who pass down gems of wisdom and life experience. Most of the time they are not supported by science or statistics, but they usually seem to be spot-on.
But this relaxed-mom thing, I wondered if it could really be right, so I read everything I could find on the subject. And sure enough, everywhere I looked -- from WebMD to psychology journals -- They all agreed with the wiser, older woman, in support of the relaxed mom. Here's what I found:
-- A relaxed mom raises kids with less fear and anxiety
-- A relaxed mom raises more stable, secure children.
-- A relaxed mom has a better relationship with her kids.
-- A relaxed mom is healthier, and happier... and her kids are too.
and the list goes on.
So what is our problem? What are we all doing trying to make our home perfect and our hair perfect and our kids perfect? What if we all just relaxed and had a little more fun with our families?
We tend to get intimidated by the Supermoms we see in magazines and on Pinterest. The ones with super kids and super homes, doing super crafts and super things all of the time. My blood pressure goes up when I think of all of the crafts I do not do, and -- someone please tell me when all-of-the-things had to be turned into a teachable moment? Somehow I don't remember my mom worrying about those things.
But what if we quit judging ourselves so hard by this made up criteria, and started evaluating our parenting based on how peaceful and fun we were? What if we lay in bed the end of the day, and instead of going over how many items we checked off our to-do list, we went over every smile, hug, and laugh we got out of our kids?
When I consider the homes I grew up loving to visit, I am sure of one thing: I wasn't drawn to the fancy homes, or even the ones with the best toys and games. I loved a home full of joy, and peace -- a home where I felt relaxed. And the moms of those homes were not the prettiest, or most put-together. They were the ones that sat across the table in their bathrobes, listening and laughing with the kids over a stack of pancakes.
So, Moms (and dads if you're listening): We can do this thing!
I know you've got to-do lists, and I do too. I still want some peace (and a clean house). But let's shift our focus just a bit. Let's evaluate ourselves at the end of the weekend on the fun we have had, on the joy in the home, and the memories made, and not on how clean the house is or how much we've checked off of our list.
Oh, and about that Supermom? I'm pretty sure she's a big phony. And if she is real, I'll bet she has forgotten how to even have fun. Poor thing.
Have a great weekend, and please pin and share this post if you think your friends might enjoy it!
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