I recently had my kids to myself for two weeks. My husband is in the Navy Reserves and took his annual 2-week obligation in Yokosuka, Japan. As the wife of a former active duty sailor, I’ve done this before, and I know how to set reasonable goals, how to capitalize and make the best of our time without dad, and – most of all – how to survive with grace!
But, I’m an ambitious mom. “Ambitious” is the euphemism I use for flighty, frantic, fast-moving, overly-focused, and (often) motivated for no good reason. I just try to get a lot done. Laundry and a trip to the library and dinner and Oh, maybe I’ll make bread for us today. (Spoiler alert: the bread did not get made.)
This is often too bad for my kids. Can you imagine being with this person all day? Even in stressful circumstances, I still push hard, work more frantically, Let’s go let’s go let’s go! Like being (more) of a crazy person will make me more efficient and get shiz done.
While my husband was gone, I learned how ridiculous this is. One morning, I was particularly stressed while trying to get my three kids ready for the day and out the door towards the destination, the goal, that I had set for us ALL to achieve that morning. I was forcing things and pushing my kids and it didn’t work. Go figure! They resisted and bit back. Can you believe it? 😉 I finally threw up my hands because I was sick of this scenario that we kept finding ourselves in. I sent my 2 youngest to the playroom and just stopped.
I sat there with my 5-year-old. And did nothing. I stopped. Stopped pushing and striving for that arbitrary deadline.
Instead, we watched the rain. We prayed. We sat. I enjoyed his presence, pure and simple. And he relaxed. And I relaxed.
I thought that if I threw in the towel on my frantic pace, I would lose opportunity, time, or my Mom-of-the-year award (still waiting for that to come in the mail…). But I didn’t lose any of that. I don’t even remember what we were rushing off to.
I didn’t lose anything; I gained. By loosening my grip and just stopping, I found peace. I gained connection. I got my center back. It rocked! And it made a huge difference the rest of our week.
My point is: whatever you’re struggling through as a mom (or a parent in general!), remember that you are allowed to just stop. Sometimes that’s what we need in order to keep going. Stop striving. Stop figuring it all out. Just do nothing and be present with your kids. Take that time. It will make you a better mom; not a worse one.