As mothers, we juggle. We balance our kids with our careers with our home with our husbands with our personal time… In the equation it works out that “personal time” gets the least amount of attention. Most of us are too busy to notice or to complain—complaining doesn’t get things done and, as mothers, we are all about getting business taken care of. So, as a mother who is trying desperately to take note of what is and what is not conducive to getting it all done and remaining healthy and happy through the course of it all, here are some things that I notice make the days easier and make me healthier and happier.
I quit my job and, even though I am writing full time and in the process of building a darkroom, by all accounts of definition I am a full time mommy (or “stay-at-home-mom”—there, I said it). I think I am going through a routine that might be familiar to women who have embarked on the brave and noble task of transitioning from independent-career-savvy-mom classically attired for her lunch meeting to harried-distracted-covered-in-peanut-butter…stay-at-home-mom.
In sending our first child to camp, we did find a general all-around sleepover one. When camp day arrived, I had the normal trepidation as my wife and I dropped him off with what seemed to be enough supplies to comfortably survive twelve years alone in the wilderness, while also having the capability to change clothing six times a day and never run out of T-shirts and shorts.
As a mother of four, I often like to peruse the birth announcements in the newspaper, mostly to convince myself that having more than the requisite 1.5 children is in fact a smart and trendy thing to do. It’s either that, or the “misery loves company” theory I’m employing.
“And try to remember to have more than one shower in a month?or at least make sure that the one shower is just before you come home.” With these words, I sent my eleven year old son off to camp. Okay, technically he was ten, and he would celebrate his eleventh birthday at camp, without me. Does that, plus the fact that I was really looking forward to having one less kid in the house, make me a bad mother?
So you don’t feel quite guilty enough about sneaking past your toddler’s bedroom this morning, hoping desperately that you don’t wake him up, as you’re already running 10 minutes late for work. Telling your children that you will be happy to take them to the mall to buy them a new fish to replace the dead one doesn’t really make you that bad a person if you don’t get around to it for 3 1/2 months.
How often are you fully and completely present when you are with your children? One of the greatest gifts we can give to our children is to be fully present with them. This can often be a big challenge.
One of the things we struggle with is allowing ourselves to follow the rules and agenda of our kids. Especially when we’re tired. We’d much rather dictate the rules ourselves. But if you consider it, why wouldn’t they want to make the rules? My kids, like most other kids, spend much of their life following the rules of others.