Do you ever feel overwhelmed by everything you are supposed to worry about as a mother?
Kids are obese
Society tells girls they are too fat
Society tells boys they are stupid
Protect your kids from predators, but make sure you encourage independence!
Too much TV
Bad things in your food
No time outs!
Your kids are behaving badly, where is your discipline?
Are your kids reading enough?
Do they do enough art/creativity projects?
Clean the house
Don't use harsh chemicals
Sports and activities
Oh, and DON'T FORGET TO SIMPLIFY!!!!
Ugh, I'm sure I could think of more, but that seems plenty don't you think? How do you boil down your mothering strategy to address as many of these areas as possible? Or better yet, how do you decide what to worry about and what to toss?
I think ultimately, we just need to stop looking at everything as all or nothing. Implement small changes if you think it is important, and continue if you like it. I think we also need to trust ourselves a little more. You will know what to do and say if you try to be in tune with your kids and leave the doors of communication open. To me, this means, slow down, try to find, and spend, unstructured time together as a family.
I put the simplify worry last, because as women, we even get to worrying about simplifying and if we are doing it right, or enough. But this is just silly. Simplifying your life will make a difference in your stress level. Take a look at your family's schedule and how it lines up with your priorities. Are there things you can cut out? How about a new approach to dinner or housecleaning to alleviate certain stressors? There will always be things to worry about, but lets see how many birds/worries we can kill with one stone. Think of it as simplifying your stress.
Here's my example, in the parentheses I put the birds killed by my mentioned stone.
I focus on turning off the TV, going outside and letting my children freely choose their play without getting in their way, as much as possible(this tackles obesity, play, imagination, and I also believe some of societies messages to our children).
I have tried to cut out processed food as much as possible without going overboard(obesity, going green, etc).
We do one scheduled activity(it takes place 2Xweekly) It is swimming lessons, so it is fun but also a needed safety precaution. I considered dance, or gymnastics, but right now swimming is more important in my eyes for it's safety aspects(safety, obesity, activities).
I was also given the tools to tackle a lot of my mommy insecurity(Am I playing with the kids enough? Oh no, my house is a mess!) by implementing certain aspects of Waldorf mothering into my day.
As one example,I always invite the children to join me in my housework or baking by providing extra cloths, spray bottles, pots, pans, and spoons. Sometimes they join in, sometimes they keep playing, but they always have the option for more mom time if they want it. Plus, I no longer look at my cooking and cleaning as things to get out of the way, but as an important opportunity to model for my children things they can use in their imaginative play and ultimately learn later in life(imagination, independence, cleaners/chemicals, simplifying). Just this change in attitude has done wonders for my worry.
( For more information on ideas for moms from Waldorf concepts check out joyfultoddlers.com.)
So once again, how do you pick and choose, and ultimately let go of your mommy worries? What are your strategies for simplifying your stress?