Our next post was going to be about remembering to pause . . . and breathe, especially during this time of emergency (keep a look out for the corresponding video).
However, I came across a post from one of our anonymous contributors from last year and in reading it I noticed interesting parallels in our(my) world today. I thought this might be helpful for others due to its ability to simultaneously speak (have questions) about some of our collective circumstances as well as show how vastly different things have changed in a short amount of time. Feel free to share your thoughts and/or stories.
I hope to chat with you soon, and share in the Soulshine together (virtually and hopefully sooner in person).
There is so much reading materials, videos and seminars now on how to be a parent. What to do and not to do. What works and doesn't work.
Yet (whose with me) we still feel like we are blindly feeling our way a bunch of the time. Everything that works for your child, doesn't work for my children and vice versa.
Let me tell you a story...
I have three quite amazing children. I recently got married and adopted four more pretty amazing children. I have two boys and five girls. Here's the thing, very little seems amazing when you have seven different personalities pulling at you at once. I am a stay at home parent and I stay very busy most of the time. There is much to be done from breakfast til bedtime.
Summer vacation has just started and it is madness here with the Brady Bunch as I call us. My children range from eleven to my son turning 21 one week from today. I get up every weekday morning at five thirty and get my son to work. Who is with me that summer vacations are definitely more hectic than the school months. Schedules are quite exasperating. I find that I nearly need to be in two places at once.
So parents, let me ask you a question (or a few).
While it feels like there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done, while at the same time the hours drag by. When do we raise our children?
When do we in our busy lives sit with our children and really instill in them the knowledge we as parents need to pass to our children? I'm asking is it dinnertime conversations, on the way to whatever activity, or before bedtime conversations? When and where is there enough time to impress on our children all they need to know?
All of you reading this probably don't have seven children, but generally the same applies doesn't it? We lead busy lives, our children lead busy lives. I am finding myself at a loss.
Five of my seven children are working, and one is in the process of securing a summer job. There is not a lot of talk time. If you are saying to yourselves that we need to teach our children while they are young; I agree with you, however, in our ever-changing society, learning has to continue,
am I wrong? I sit with each of my children as often as possible, I am constantly encouraging them while discouraging some things.
Tell me your ideas. I would love as much feedback as you are willing to give.
Thanks for reading my thoughts.
Mother of Seven
I was going to write about those mad days. You know the ones when your emotional fuel tank is low. When you are running in circles and don’t feel like you accomplished anything?
Then, I noticed something.
My thoughts were awful! Super negative. My brain was calling me all sorts of names. Fortunately, from somewhere came a small voice of reason. I thought, “get it together Erika, that’s not okay!”
I bet once in a while, you have those days, when you feel a “Mess.” When you can’t tell Up from Down, or remember the name of your kid standing right in front of you (I’m like, “um hey you”).
Lately, I’m finding that’s happening more often than not. Is it part of aging, or my stress level? Could I use more sleep? Likely, it is all of those things, combined with so many others. However, it is not a reason to feel bad about myself. I cannot let frustrations belittle my accomplishments. I won’t (well try very hard not to) get caught in the trap of mommy guilt. So, in order to stay semi-sane and moving forward, I had to say “stop it!”
I decided, I will reframe what I tell myself and write about how l’m a mess “sometimes” (see, I’m working from a strength-based perspective 😊).
Being a mess is Okay! I’m a mom! M-O-M, super, magical, great, powerful, empowered, happy and sad, and mad at times. Most importantly I am fueled by my determination to ensure my three children grow to be well rounded, and kind individuals. I had to remind myself, that I might have to ride around to various dance competitions, soccer games, gymnastic shows, and basketball tournaments all in an effort to provide my children with well-rounded experiences. I will attend school events, and join the PTO (I am not sure how I became the President, but that’s a blog for another day) in order to ensure they feel secure and aim for their full potential. Most importantly, I have to take care of me. So there will be times I stay awake (likely binge watching something) a little later. I may stay out a bit longer with friends all in order to have fun. Why? Because I work long hours, have responsibilities, and self-care is the most important one.
So I am reminded that doing all that I do comes with its share of consequences and occasionally means being a Hot Mess, “Sometimes.“
And it’s okay.
As always, I hope to chat with you soon, and share in the “Soulshine” together.
Here I Go Again, but in my defense I can’t help myself!
I’ll make it quick.
I have to speak more about spending time, “together on purpose.” There isn’t any rule on how families should spend time together, but it is probably best to do what works for your family. I might suggest game time, family movie dates, or coloring (come on when’s the last time you colored?). This time we did yoga again.
I won’t lie, you won’t be able to get all your children to do yoga all the time. I can barely get all of them to sleep through the night (it always seems like someone will have a nightmare, or becomes feverish. Of course it never fails that it will happen right as my head hits the pillow). Anyway, on a particular day my son was all for hanging out with mom.
I noticed he was all wound up and restless. He was poking around, picking at his siblings in an annoying way and he could not keep himself occupied. So I decided we would “play” together; little did he know we would stretch our muscles (play=yoga. now insert mischievous music).
We started sitting and facing each other. I encouraged us to share a mat only to help him stay near and focused. We centered ourselves with taking a breath.
He is a bit competitive and by the third one he wanted to see who could release their exhale the longest (Maybe, I let him win, or maybe not). We then sat in what he calls butterfly pose and began to flutter away. He is more motivated when he takes lead, so I followed his rhythm. When he said fast we fluttered fast. When he said slow, I slowed. He took pride at touching his nose to his toes, and said mumbling “look mom this is turtle pose.” I was just grateful that he didn’t ask me to try it and that my nose was no where near his toes.
Afterwards we moved into child’s pose. He did not last long there and quickly moved upwards and I took the opportunity to introduce downward dog. After yapping like a dog, he decided he wanted to be a frog and I just let him move right along. I would cue him to close his eyes, or remember to take a breath. I even asked if he noticed any differences in his body.
We didn’t play and stretch for a long time. It was just enough time for us to enjoy each other. He gained a little more mastery over his body and confidence by taking the lead with directing the poses. By the end I felt less tense physically and enjoyed the fun engagement. He went back to playing with his siblings, but in a much nicer way.
There it is. Not long? I hope to chat with you soon, and share in the Soulshine together.
Sometimes, I don't know if I’m coming, or going. Actually, Most Times.
The work week seems to get busier and busier. There’s school drop-off and pick-up, afternoon activities, PTO meetings and I struggle to keep it all in order.
Don’t even mention finding time to make dinner!
Well, I started thinking. “if I’m all mixed up, stressed, tired and confused,” My kids are probably just the same. Although, for them, it looks more like irritability, intense hyper activity and hard-headedness (is that a word, is it even okay to use?). Anyway it becomes a battle to get them up in the morning and a power struggle to get them to do anything I ask. The first time.
Anyway. We had a family yoga workshop at Full and Fit Family, LLC and afterwards I found my children incredibly chatty. They were more engaged at dinner and talked a lot about things we’ve never talked about. I learned so much more about them and myself. It was a truly enjoyable experience, but for me the reward was what I received after.
By taking time with my children to breathe on purpose I stumbled across this added bonus. Our bodies became less tense and we were unknowingly freed of the day-to-day stress stored in our heads. We had an evening of open interesting and fun communication.
I am not sure if anything like this will happen again, but I cannot wait to create more opportunities for my family and others to schedule self-care. Who knows what we will discover.
I hope to chat with you soon, and share in the Soulshine together.