Balance – the holy-grail of peace, mindfulness, and joy that we all strive, long, pray, hope, and even grovel for, but rarely find.
Us mothers, we want it, we need it, we strive for it and are on a never-ending quest to find it, and I think I just may have uncovered the key to establishing and maintaining it.
We must act like our children.
Think about it.
Our children, very intelligently and craftily ensure that their wants and needs, valid or not, are being met by us on the daily; and taking a cue from them could increase the likelihood of our personal needs receiving the attention and tending to that they deserve.
Here are a few ways in which children effectively get what they want and need:
Children don’t take “no” for an answer. They are hella-persistent; so annoyingly persistent that we end up rewarding their persistence by giving in to what they desire just to get them to stop. Be that way with yourself. Don’t take “no” from yourself. When you think ‘I need a break,’ and then your guilt-ridden mind tells you “no, that’s not allowed,” do not accept that answer, keep telling yourself that you require one and you deserve one.
Children have no trouble delivering a “no.” Say no to the playdate if you don’t want to go. Say no to the weekend birthday party if birthday parties are ruining your weekends. Say no to your husband if you’re not in the mood for hanky panky. Say no to your child who asked you to get their socks when they are very capable of getting their own socks. Say no to all the things that you want to say no to.
They act silly. This is a must. Being humorous or finding humor in challenging situations will decrease your anxiety. Have a hard time laughing while under-stress? Then let your observation of your children’s jovial antics destress you.
Children live in the present moment and so should we. Stop fearing what tomorrow will bring, or what unexpected (or expected challenges) the next hour will bring. Live in the here and the now with the people in your here and now. Disconnect from your electronics and focus on the experience at hand, pulling out every ounce of livelihood and good feelings that you can.
Children own who they are. Most well-rounded children find pure gratification in being themselves; they are not worried by the thoughts of judgmental onlookers. Just like them, each of us is unique, and while we consistently encourage our kids to love their bodies, personality, and strengths, we too must recognize, protect, promote, and be proud of what makes us the dynamic individual that we are.
Children self-soothe. After they have surpassed the newborn/toddler stage, children are usually able and willing to at least attempt to calm themselves down naturally, whereas us adults turn to coffee or alcohol or other uppers and downers or even food to regulate our moods. Our children will read books if they want to tune out the world, or maybe they will listen to music. They may play on the computer or ask to paint. They may be social with others or just want to cuddle with you on the couch. The point is that children do not turn to beverages, or pills, or potato chips (in most cases) to find relaxation. They either seek it out and curate it themselves, or they rely on affection and attention from you to help bring them to an alleviated state. We should follow suit, and if you are someone who is doubting the ability of a hug from your child to draw you off a ledge of unwarranted and self-imposed stress, then you are not hugging your child long enough or tight enough.
Try all of these.
Our children can teach us so much, and while of course there are many child-like behaviors we most definitely don’t want to adopt, I can’t help but hold the contention that taking a cue from them could perhaps bring you closer to achieving more balance inside of yourself and your home.