I love holiday traditions and making things fun and bright. I don’t love stress though or being overwhelmed. Hmm…you may wonder, how does that work?
As I thought about this year’s holiday madness, I wanted to list the things that help me stay calm when I get stressed (and I do!) If there’s so much stress involved, is it any fun….and more to the point worth it?!
First, remember people would rather be invited to a messy house with delivery pizza than not invited. Recently my friend Mimi called at the last minute, “Having people over, want to come?” Four families showed up for a pot-luck supper while we watched the Cardinals win game seven. Yes!
Second, have the attitude, “Let’s make this a party!”
Then combine friends, good food (a recipe I’ve been wanting to try), a party attitude and…the space to play. For kids that means either outside or in a basement. I can’t remember a time when the kids have been unhappy with this.
Being spontaneous can also work in your favor. Recently we were at friends and the hostess said, “I just got these Midnight Special videos, do you want to watch?” We were skeptical, but said yes. It turned out to be one of the most entertaining evenings we’ve had singing along to favorites from the ‘70’s and ‘80’s and sharing stories about our lives then. Totally fun.
Today’s author Pam Wilson is author of S.O.S From Suburbia. For more info visit www.sosfromsuburbia.vpweb.com.
To celebrate our almost first birthday which is October 9, we’re sponsoring a contest for our current and new subscribers. Because we want our October self-care contest/challenge to succeed, we’re asking that any subscriber get ten other friends, family, co-workers, etc. to join our blog, and we’ll enter you in a random weekly drawing for a box of Godiva chocolates for the month of September.
Winners will be chosen each Sunday and announced the following Monday. If you’ve never tasted Godiva chocolates, you’re in for a treat and if you have, you know how irresistable they are. For any new subscriber you recruit, have them leave your name in our comment box so you get credit.
We’re also asking you to give us your recommendations for favorite woman-or-mom-related blogs and websites, so we can include them in the October contest/self-care challenge. While we’ve discovered many sites we think are terrific and worthwhile, the web is too vast for anyone (except possibly a search engine expert) to know what’s out there. This will help ensure that we provide what you want. Likewise, as much as we enjoy social media, we can’t quit our day jobs for endless web surfing.
Now our self-care tip for the week. Focus on those experiences which strengthen rather than weaken you. I realized this again, when I was having a massage and started to freak out about an upcoming interview. Instead of scaring myself, I thought about situations I’d survived despite my fears and felt much calmer.
Since we’ve been discussing the thoughts which bind us, let’s review several myths about motherhood/life. If you’re not a mom, substitute the word “women” and whatever situation pertains.
1. Myth: Good mothers never make mistakes. They always know the right thing to do. Reality: All mothers make mistakes. The trick is to learn from them and not wound yourself with guilt.
2. Myth: Motherhood is always bliss. Reality: Motherhood is likely to be the most challenging and rewarding experience you will ever know. Each woman will experience it in her unique way.
3. Myth: Motherhood is easy. You automatically know what to do. Reality: Being a “good enough” mom is hard work. It is a journey not a destination.
4. Myth: Good mothers sacrifice everything. Reality: No woman is a bottomless pitcher. You must replenish your resources regularly or your health will be compromised.
5. Myth: Motherhood is instinctual. Reality: Motherhood is a learning process. It is in the “doing” that you become a mother.
Sound daunting? Here’s one thought-changing strategy. Take any belief and ask yourself what’s the evidence that this is true? My personal favorite is #4. Take #4 and observe how you feel when you sacrifice everything? Martyrdom is rarely pretty and lessens the qualities, like patience and kindness, which make you a good mom/person. Then substitute the reality-based statement above which the evidence is likely to support.
Preview Chapter 6 of Life Will Never Be the Same for more ideas. The more you release judgemental thoughts, the better you’ll feel. For inspiration, click here.
Something happened when I became a mother.
I became disconnected from my thoughts, feelings and desires. With two little people depending on me, I spent my time on their needs and wants. When I wasn’t taking care of them, I shifted my attention to my work, husband and home life. Then, back to the kids.
Gone were the childfree days of college and young professional life, when I would spend hours alone, contemplating my place in the world, journaling (oh, the journals I have filled!), taking long walks in the woods, imagining life’s possibilities and going after them one by one.
As a mom, my only times alone with my thoughts have been 10 minutes in the shower or commuting to work. And guess what I was thinking? “Man, this shower feels good” or “I really hate this $#&@ing traffic.” Deep stuff.
Perhaps because my almost-5-year-old is more independent and my 19-month-old is no longer a baby, I’m now emerging from the mom-cocoon. It also helps that I work for myself, from home, with child care. As I poke my head (antennae?) out, I’m looking around saying, “What about me? What do I want?”
I’m allowing myself to move up my priority list. How do I want to spend my time? What do I want to experience or accomplish? It’s exciting to ponder these questions. I’m still a mom, with all the responsibilities and joys that come with it. But I’m also a person — who’s enjoying getting reacquainted with herself again.
Today’s author Susan is co-founder of Working Moms Against Guilt.