First of all, I don’t know where January and February have gone. Truly. I think these past two months have been the fastest I can remember. Holy whirlwind.
In this whirlwind, I have been thinking that maybe things could slow down a little bit for myself if only I would follow the advice I give to my daughters. Recently in our household, I seem to keep hearing myself repeat seven things over and over to my kiddos. I seem to say many of these things many times in a week, some of them several times in a day, and a couple of them even a few times in an hour! So, I am wondering if maybe perhaps the reason that I have to keep repeating these seven things so much is because that I myself am supposed to listen to them, not just my daughters. I am thinking perhaps that I need to follow my own advice! (Gulp!)
Please read the following orders out loud in your best Mama Bear voice, because that is probably exactly how I said them to my daughters:
1. Put down your phones!
Oh boy do I say this one multiple times daily. We have a basket in our house where phones are supposed to go when our daughters come home from school. When they are doing homework. When they go to bed. Do you think this basket is ever full of phones? No. But I also am terrible at policing it. But in addition to being better at policing it, I also need to start being a part of it. Putting my phone in the basket because yes, I have been guilty of not hearing what one of my daughters says to me as I am texting or reading an email. Yes I have been called out on it, and yes, I am just as bad as my kids. The bottom line is that when any single one of us in our household is on our phones we are not present. We are away, gone, in another world, in another conversation. And that is not how I want to be or how I want our girls to be. Home is family time, homework time, safe time, sleep time. And while I cannot say no phones ever being used at home, I need to be better at having everyone putting the phones in the basket for certain time periods, including ME! I need to listen to my own advice: put down your phone! Because when all the phones are in the basket and all five of us are sitting together? Guess what happens? We talk! We listen! We engage! And I LOVE it.
2. Get some sleep!
I hate, let me say HATE how much homework this generation gets and how late activities go. It is INSANE. I never had this much homework when I was growing up and my school sports ended an hour or so after school. I am now going to 9:30 p.m. pickups, having to feed someone dinner at 4:45 p.m., and the kids and I are up way later every single night than is healthy. Doctors and news reports say to get seven to eight hours of sleep. HAH! My kids and I barely get six if we are lucky.
Just yesterday I gave my high school daughter permission to go to school late just so she could finish her homework in the morning! She’s in the middle of lax tryouts (send luck!) and on top of that has hours upon hours of homework. At 11:30 p.m. the kid has got to go to bed, she can hardly keep her eyes open! I was proud of the choice we made in letting her go to school late instead of staying up until 2 a.m., but I hate that we even have to make the choice. My daughter literally had to miss some school just to finish some homework. Do these teachers not see what they are doing and how their work loads are insane? It isn’t any different for my middle and elementary schoolers. My youngest is home today sound asleep. Is she sick? No. Exhausted? Abso-f’ing lutely! We joked when our children were little how we were dying for them to get in bed and stay in bed. Geez, were those days a piece of cake. Every single one of my children is sleep deprived, so guess who else is too? Sadly the world isn’t going to get any easier for them, so I have to police their sleep, AND I have to listen to my own advice, get some sleep myself!
3. Take Deep Breaths!
It is so crazy to me how something so simple can be so hard. Taking deep breaths helps when making a decision, helps when we are upset and can’t get the words out, and helps even when we are trying to fall asleep. Deep, slow calming breaths. I have tried to teach this to my daughters as best I can. “Take a deep breath right before you start the test,” “Take a deep breath before you react to something that hurts you or makes you mad,” “Take a deep breath right before you go on the field,” “Take a deep breath before we talk about something hard,” etc. etc. This is not just mom advice, it is a proven medical fact that deep breaths slow your heart rate and calm you down. Help you to focus. But, so often in our busy worlds we forget. We react. We say/do/text things that we regret later, things that had we taken the breath we may not have done. Again, I need to listen to my own advice and slow my life and my decisions down. I need to take deep breaths! I swear I will be a better mom and person if I can do better at this.
4. You Do You!
We all have heard it before. I say it to my kids all the time for school, for grades, for activities. So easy to say but still so hard to practice “you do you” when you see someone else doing something better than you and the envy of human nature kicks in. It is hard to do with peer pressure when other kids are doing something you don’t want to do, and hard to do when perhaps you are being made fun of or being mocked because lets face it, kids are mean. And just because we grow up and become parents doesn’t mean other adults aren’t mean and that other adults make choices we wouldn’t make. It is a life lesson. We can each only be who we are. I tell my kids there will always be someone richer, smarter, better, stronger, but there also most likely also will be someone poorer, less smart, worse or weaker. It doesn’t matter and we shouldn’t compare. We should just be ourselves. A favorite elementary school teacher of my daughters’ had a sign on her wall that I love. It said:
“Be the Fruit Loop in a world full of Cheerios.”
I need to “do you” just as much as my daughters do. There is only one of us, thats what makes us who we are. Parent or child.
5. Eat Right!
You would think as an adult I would have learned this lesson already. HAH! Magic trick, put a box of Milk Duds in front of me and watch them disappear! But the truth of the matter is I really, really do notice a difference in how I feel when I eat better and for me this means less sugar. I am more focused, I am less tired and I am in a better mood. Of course I see this as a mom too with my kids, but mine are at the age where they have to make their own food choices. Choose their snacks, decide what they want for dessert. I can tell them all day long to eat right and pray they listen, but I have to eat right too! So next time I ask my kids if they are eating right, I need to ask myself too.
6. Go outside!
Can you hear your own mom’s voice here? “Just go outside Kristy!” I used to think this was because I got underfoot, but now I know my mom was absolutely right because every time I am outside something is released. Any stress, negativity, frustration, it goes away. I see it with my daughters too. Even simple things, taking a walk, jumping on the trampoline, sitting by our favorite tree…it can change everything. Not to mention riding a bike, skiing, climbing a 14er…. try being in a bad mood after any of those things? The outdoors is healing. So while I tell my daughters all the time, “just go outside for a little,” or, “go walk the dogs!” I need to go outside too. Nature is nurturing, for everyone.
7. Trust your gut!
This one is a biggie. If there is one thing I want my daughters to remember above all it is this. Our gut feelings tell us EVERYTHING! Just yesterday at the doctors office one of my daughters asked me, “Mom I really don’t want any medical students to come in if there are any will you tell the nurse?” I looked at her wondering why she thought about this and told her I was happy to. Sure enough when I asked the nurse this she said “I’m glad you told me we actually have someone following the Dr today I’ll ask her not to go in.” Big life changer? No. But listening to a gut feeling prevented a situation that would’ve made my daughter uncomfortable.
Gut feelings can be as small as a voice in my head telling me to turn right when driving instead of left…if I listen I avoid an accident, if I doubt myself I crash. You just never know. I tell my daughters this in every situation. I tell them to take a deep breath and trust their gut no matter what, always. This can be for a test answer they are unsure of or for a bigger decision or choice.
No one said this is easy, it is actually hard, our head gets in the way so often! We doubt ourselves, we get busy and don’t have time to listen to our gut, we listen to friends advice (or parents, or spouse) when we should first listen only to ourselves. So while I preach to my kids to always trust their gut, I need to slow down and listen to my own!
So in summary, these are just seven things I say most every day to my daughters but don’t always listen to myself. Only seven things. So I tell myself I can listen to seven things and surely if I can, my kids can. So moving forward into March (yikes!) I’m going to see if maybe trying to do these seven things better my world might slow down just a little bit….
Wouldn’t the world be a great place if everyone followed mom’s advice? Including moms themselves?
Blessings and love,