My son asked me to play with him and I shuddered.
Don’t get my wrong, I love my children. I’m a fierce momma bear and I would take a bullet for them.
But, playing cars with a three-year-old for the one-millionth time? Especially when, apparently, I don’t know the rules or do the voices right?
Or Monopoly with a nine year old whose attention span is a lot shorter than what’s required to actually finish the game?
For years, parenting felt exhausting because, when my children would ask me to do things that I didn’t want to do, instead of saying “no”, I told myself to suck it up because: “They grow up so fast and I’m going to miss these moments when they’re older.”
I let mom-guilt control my actions.
I placed pressure on myself to adapt to their needs.
And, from that energetic space, I became easily frustrated, impatient, defensive.
And, though I played a lot with my kids, I was rarely fully present with them.
Which caused more mom guilt. And the cycle repeated.
Kids are smart.
They KNOW when you’re not present.
They KNOW you’re not giving them the attention they want.
And, what do they do? They drag out the game to try to will you into it.
Or they get frustrated and act out.
Unlike adults, who’ve learned to control our emotions, they won’t bottle it up.
There are developmental milestones that go along, of course, with how children will react. A 3-year old hasn’t fully developed empathy so they won’t understand why you don’t think that rolling cars along the floor is an exciting time.
A 12-year old is learning to exert independence and developing their self-identity, so they don’t have the bandwidth to process the discomfort of your emotions.
But, regardless of their age, the end result is the same: disconnection, frustration, unease.
Which can lead to stress, overwhelm, and burnout.
I know because that’s just what happened to me.
It took getting physically sick and emotionally hitting rock bottom before I started getting my shit together and started to find my voice – even with my kids.
Implementing the Mary Poppins’s “find the fun and -snap- the job’s a game” mindset into practice has changed everything.
During the COVID confinement, my sons became obsessed with computer programming using a free developing language called Scratch.
So, I knew it wouldn’t be long before they asked me to start doing it with them.
This past week, it happened: my 12-year old asked me to check out this program he coded and asked me if I wanted him to show me how to do it.
And, the truth is, I didn’t. Not right now. I’ve been learning a lot of different computer apps and I really didn’t want to learn another one.
But, I wanted to connect with my son.
So, I said, “honestly, I really don’t want to learn how to do it but I’d love to do something else together.”
And, he came up with this idea: his program created a swirling spiral of color and he said, “this is really meditative. Maybe you could use it in your yoga classes?”
Me: “Ooo… good idea. Can we add music to it?”
Him: “Sure, let’s put it into iMovie and add some relaxing music.”
And we spent the next hour listening to different music clips, downloading his Scratch program into video form, and editing it together!
Speaking up and saying “no” to doing something I didn’t want to do let us find an activity we both enjoyed.
It was a fun, connecting, and intimate #MomentOfMagic that both of us will remember for a long time!
So, don’t be afraid speak up!
Whether it’s with a 3-year old who wants to play cars, a 12-year old who wants to computer program, or an adult partner over whose turn it is to fold the laundry.
Experiment with finding fun ways to be truly present and connected when engaging with others. And watch how simple it can be to create more ease and calm.
Sending you hope, health, and love,
Does your work-home balance feel more like a rickety rollercoaster than a smooth ride?
I get it!
You like your job and you love spending time with your family, but, going back and forth between all the hats you wear is exhausting and frustrating.
You end up defaulting to people-pleasing mode and don’t always feel seen or heard.
Your needs, wants, and desires matter.
It’s possible to discover a happy medium for you and your family so that you can create more ease, calm, and fun in your life.
I’m here to show you how and support you as you get started.