As I finish a fun week of boating in Seattle with the boys and my parents, I am sharing another favorite post from my archives. Traveling always forces me to pull back from the daily grind and get into “relaxed” mode, which includes NOT doing much writing or work of any kind. (I wish I could say that was easy for me, but it honestly isn’t.)
So here’s a post to remind you and ME of something that I think is pretty important…
The importance of being a relaxed parent.
I hate to ruin any dreamy notions you may have about my life, but I’ve gotta tell you: Things get stressful in Hawaii, too.
This week we finish our fourth week of homeschooling for the year, and my nerves are already a bit frayed. The waves are still only on the South Shore, so we have this on-going stress between (my boys priority of) getting all the way downtown to surf every day, and (my priority of) homeschooling. There is tension. (keeping in mind being a competitive surfer requires a LOT of training, so they aren’t being irresponsible–just inconvenient. :))
Dave and I ran into friends while out to dinner last night, and when I
complained mentioned 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 think I would use other words to describe things.
Well, there’s your sneak peek into some typical Swanson family stress…(You’re welcome.)
But really: I’m a Mom. I want everyone’s work done. I want routine, a schedule, and some order. And I want a clean house.
I may have hit a personal low when recently one of the boys asked me what would make me happy that day (suggesting a trip to the beach, time with friends, etc.) and I heard myself say:
“You want to know what would make me happy!? A clean house would make me happy, that’s what!”
I know it’s funny, but some of you are nodding in agreement, aren’t you?
Life is stressful. Being a mom–Oh yeah, it can bring out the worst in us. When life feels overwhelming, we tend to want to control anything we can.
So I don’t know if what I want to share today is good news or bad news, but this thing keeps coming back to me. And it’s kind of 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, 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.
I mean I get things like tidy, organized, consistent with discipline…But relaxed? Just relaxed!?
That is just way too…easy.
And yet so hard.
What I appreciated most about this advice was that my friend had passed it on to me from an older wiser woman in her life. I totally appreciate 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’re always spot-on.
But this relaxed-mom thing made me wonder if it could really be right…So I did some searching around on the subject. And sure enough, everywhere I looked–From Web MD to Psychology journals…They all agreed with the wiser, older woman, in support of the relaxed Mom. Here’s what I found:
–A relaxed parent raises more stable, secure children.
–A relaxed parent raises kids with less fear and anxiety.
–A relaxed parent has a better relationship with her kids.
–A relaxed parent is healthier, and happier….and her kids are too.
and the list goes on.
So what’s up friends!? What are we all doing trying to make our home perfect and our days 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. We see moms feeding their kids only natural, organic foods and then we’re full of guilt if we slip our kids an Oreo. My blood pressure goes up when I think of all of the crafts I do not do, and how often I feel guilty for not turning all-of-the-things into a teachable moment.
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?
(You do know I’m preaching to myself here, right?)
I have a friend who grew up with four siblings. They are all adults now–every one of them happily married, raising children–all amazing people. I asked my friend about how she was raised, because I knew there had been some years when her dad struggled with alcohol and maybe even some time that her parents were separated. I asked how her mom handled it, considering the kids all grew up so well.
Can you guess how my friend described her mom? She said straight out, “She was a really RELAXED mom.” She said that her mom taught them about God’s love, and taught values, but the quality that represented her the most was simply that of being “relaxed.”
Moms: (and dads if you’re listening--) We can do this thing! Really, I think we can.
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 doesn’t have a clue what it means to be relaxed. Poor thing.
Have a great weekend friends, and please PIN and Share this post if you think it might encourage others! 🙂