Sunday, November 9, 2014

{Real Mom Life} At Rest

Ever have so much stuff running through your head that ya run around like a crazy person trying to do all the things?

Yeah, me too.

You ever just get overwhelmed by stuff? Chores? Clutter? To-dos?

Yeah, me too.

Glad I'm not the only one over here.

My world is a small one, I'll admit. Home. Grocery store. Home. Park. Home. Church. Home. Walgreens. Home. No big bells and fancy whistles over here. I'm pretty much the most average stay-at-home mom you'll ever meet. And it's not like I have a whole bunch of stuff to be overwhelmed by, BUT for some reason, I still get stressed. And uptight. And crazy busy. I've set a certain standard for myself, certain expectations, goals. And when I'm failing to meet this self-imposed standard, I start to feel waaaay more stressed out than I should.

One of my expectations as a mama and our household manager is to keep a clean, tidy home. I like everything in its proper place: dishes in the cabinets, jackets and shoes put away, clothes folded and in drawers, floors swept and vacuumed, books on the shelves, and toys in the box after playtime. {I'm a Nazi, I know. I worry far too much about the dirt on our baseboards.} The errands and to-do lists? Check. Check. Check. These things help me feel accomplished and in control.

These expectations, though? They're completely unrealistic for my life right now. They're kinda unrealistic for anyone actually who lives a full life. But here's the thing: sometimes, okay most of the time, I totally forget those expectations are unrealistic and I stress about making them happen anyway. 

And who suffers from it? My daughters. 

I left my job as a teacher specifically because I didn't want to be stressed out all the time. I didn't want them to see their mother as a harried, irritable, worn out woman who worried about her job too much. This is who I was when I was teaching. It's always been difficult for me to handle intense stress of any kind, and being a teacher was definitely intense. What I've discovered, though, is that sometimes my daughters get that woman anyway. They see that me when I want to get everything checked off but know my time is running out. They see that me when I force one extra errand that bleeds into naptime. They see that me when the house is a complete wreck but I don't have the energy or the extra hands to get it all picked up before bedtime. They see that me. 

I'm not saying I should {or could} have perfect control over my emotions all the time. But I am saying that I should be more aware of how I'm acting around my daughters. It's hard to believe in the moment, but that kind of action rubs off on them. 

The other day I was watching Maylin play. She was moving her things from one part of the room to the other. Babies, her teddy bear, books, blocks, random small objects. She's not a sit still player. Never has been. She's more of a doer. An explorer. An open the cabinets and pull out the dishes, an empty out all the trash, and transport the dog food to the water bowl kind of player. She's a piddler. No puzzles. No stacking blocks. No movies. Barely even 30 minute Daniel Tiger episodes. She's not interested in sitting and touching the buttons to make the lights come on. 

At first I didn't understand it. Why does she do that? Where does she get it? I used to get frustrated. So frustrated. I would whine, "She doesn't just sit and play. She doesn't want to stack blocks or do puzzles. She doesn't just sit and watch a movie. {whine, whine, whine} She doesn't play the way I used to as a child. She doesn't do things like me." 


Oh but she does.

She does things exactly like me. 

Because that's what I do. That's what she sees me do. That's the example I'm giving her. I move things from one room to another. I take things out. I put things away. I don't sit. Rarely sit. I'm always busy doing something around the house. Always trying to complete the chores, do the list, clean the clutter. I haven't modeled to her how to sit and play. I haven't modeled to her the learned trait of being still. Of resting

What's important here? In my home? Is it that the house always has to be picked up and dishes can't be left in the sink? Or is what's important that my girls see me sitting still, being with them, taking a break, resting. 

What am I showing my kids? What are my actions teaching them?

Having a clean house and getting all the chores done is a good thing. It keeps our lives running smoothly and effectively. But you know what? It's okay to be still too. And also? It's not worth being that woman who's stressed about it all the time.

It's okay to rest. To take a break. Sitting still to watch a movie is just as learned as riding a bike. Sitting still to stack blocks, or play with puzzles, or play house with the stuffed animals is just as important as all the chores.

So from now on? That's my new goal. To make time during the day to be still and rest with my daughters. To be intentional about setting aside the list to make time for breaks. Hopefully, one day my daughters will know the value of being still. Hopefully, one day I'll know that too.

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