I rush around most days trying to get it all done. I wake up in the morning and don’t slow down until everyone is in bed. It makes for a long day and one tired mama. Stress is my shadow, lurking wherever I am, waiting to reach out and grab me by the throat. I have a hard time staying zenlike, even though numerous parenting books claim your children pick up on your stress and start to carry it as their own. Not only am I stressing myself out, but the kids are feeling it too. More mother guilt. More stress. It’s a vicious cycle.
One evening I was hurrying to get it all done, the invisible list in my head keeping track; finish the dishes, make dinner, change the laundry that’s dying a slow death in the washing machine, clean up the squinkies the baby can choke on, answer the phone, change a diaper, clean up the crayons that are now dumped in a pile in the middle of the kitchen floor, help B with her math homework, go pee, set the table, clean up the house before my husband comes home, and on and on. I was at a breaking point, drowning in all my to do’s. I knew I had a real problem when my 7-year-old said to me, “Mom! Relax. Slow down.” Her words and gentle tone took me by surprise, wise beyond her years, she was right. It was just that simple. I needed to RELAX and SLOW DOWN.
My husband can do this easily. Coming home from the grocery yesterday he was driving at a slow, steady pace.
“Why are you driving so slow?” I asked.
“I rush around all week,” was his simple reply.
“How do you do that? Just turn it on and off? I rush day and night, it never ends and I don’t know how to stop rushing,” my voice escalating.
“You don’t know how to let loose,” he said. It stung a bit, but I knew what he said was true.
This year I vowed to work on managing my stress and along with it, my tendency towards perfectionism. It’s tough, but I’m making some headway. This blog helps. Writing, pouring it all out on the page, a purging of sorts, helps. I meditate and pray in the shower. It’s the only place I find tranquility. Some of my best ideas come to me there. Someone needs to invent waterproof pens and paper. I’d be their most loyal customer.
I’m starting to incorporate yoga and meditation into the kid’s bedtime routine. Sometimes we just climb in bed and read books and snuggle, but if it’s been a particularly hard day for anyone, we do a few easy yoga poses and calm down. I wasn’t sure how my two daughters would react to it, but they love it. They ask to do yoga now and I’ve even worked a simple meditation into the mix, which comes in handy when they are upset. When they are extra teary, not feeling well or just out of sorts, I remind them to take deep belly breathes and relax. It seems to be working a little magic here and there, so I plan on sticking with it.
As for me, I’m simply praying for peace and fortitude to get through the day. Tomorrow I get to start fresh. It’s a new chance to relax and slow down.