I have seen firsthand in my life how my mood has a DIRECT relationship to the moods of my children (specifically the toddler, but really both). It is incredible to me how quickly they can pick up on how I am feeling. Whether it is in my tone of voice, my demeanor, how “present” I am – I don’t know for sure, but they pick up on it and they most definitely act according to my lead.
Being a mommy is incredibly hard work. What can make it extra hard is feeling like I have 500 things on my to-do list and all I can seem to make time for is un-sticking play dough from a toy fire truck and wiping runny noses. Of course there are the household responsibilities – unload and re-load the dishwasher, do the laundry, straighten up, take out the overflowing diaper pail liners, prepare food for a picky toddler and a finger-food eating baby, oh and also provide entertainment, preferably educational and creative, for these children. But what about other responsibilities as well? I do part time work from home, so I squeeze that in wherever I can. Grocery shopping and errand running with a 2.5 year old and 8 month old? It should be considered a professional sport. There’s not enough time in the day!
Then you get to the part of the to-do list that barely ever gets scratched off. It’s the part of the list with the want to-do’s. These are the things that filled me up and bring me LIFE, and at the end of most days, those items go un-done.
What I’ve been learning as I’ve been striving for a healthy, balanced life, is that while it can seem selfish for me to get to the want to-do list, those are sometimes the most important. Because if I’m not taking care of myself, if I’m not being filled, then before I know it I’m going to be out of steam. When I run out of steam, I am impatient. I have a temper. I am frustrated and irritated and bitter. These are NOT examples I want to be setting for my children! Because they KNOW. They can sense it when I’m “off.”
I don’t want my kids to think that I’m perfect. But I want them to see me love them out of my overflow. In order for that to happen, they need to see me taking care of myself, mind, body, and soul.
I certainly don’t have this all figured out. Hopefully it will be a topic I come back to on the blog as I continue to sort through what this all means. I’ve been reading a great book called “Freefall to Fly” and it has been speaking to my heart so strongly and I feel like I am learning so much. The main question I’ve taken away from it is this (in my own words): Can moms love their families and children 100% and also care for themselves 100%? Can we as moms live out our passions and dreams, the ones outside of motherhood, while still being the kind of mother we crave to be?
I think the answer to both questions is “yes.” But I’m only just beginning to learn how to get there.
These photographs were taken by the extremely talented Meg Porter of www.megporterphotography.com!