We are our own worst enemies. Wives, mothers, daughters, sisters...what are we thinking?!
I asked followers of my Facebook page recently to share their New Year's resolutions as part of a little thank you competition and to open up discussion about what people thought were important things to change, focus or work on as we cross the symbolic line in the sand with the coming of a new year... closed chapters and new beginnings.
This fun exercise brought some great responses. Most interesting, and perhaps a little sad in my view, was the discovery of one recurring theme in the comments, something that as a mother I can also relate to. So, I'd like to share my thoughts with you and put a little challenge out there... I think we can turn things around!
Firstly, here's a little background to set the scene. Why 'live love life'? The theme behind all the quotes, feel good posts and observations I share through Facebook and the web site, about living the moment and appreciating the little things in our lives. As you may know, like most of my friends and readers, I wear many hats! I'm a married mother of 4 young children. I work part-time in a corporate role. I work at home to maintain a happy environment for my family to grow and experience life, preparing them for adulthood where they will take over all decisions and mark out their own paths. I work in loving partnership with my husband to achieve this as well as to make our life together as happy and satisfying as possible within the confines of our everyday responsibilities. I am 2 years cancer free after surviving Lymphoma and not one day goes by where I don't think about what could have been or what might lie ahead, while at the same time truly appreciating the new chance I got to live life. So Diana Photography - live love life was born from my need to do something creative, something spiritually satisfying, something for me. Photography, another 'hat', helps me to stop and look around. Stop and refocus. A brief moment of stress, a bad day, a run in with a rude person in the car park... most of our daily issues are transitory and when kept in perspective, they can be overcome and left behind. So what does this mean for you? That we are no different. We all have challenges, responsibilities, and high expectations of ourselves. We have a false sense that life has to be perfect, we have to be perfect. A fun competition inadvertently turned into a fact-finding exercise.
and so, here is what I found...
When asked to share a New Year's resolution, answers weren't about new jobs or material acquisitions, holiday plans (although that was one of mine!). Instead, they were largely about being happy, being good people, working on behavioural aspects of our lives to change old patterns and achieve some satisfaction and happiness.
"Make time for myself so I can be a healthier version of who I already am"
"To have more patience for my three year old boisterous son. I worry every day that our special relationship has changed since his little brother was born"
Women, mothers, sisters, daughters ... why are we so hard on ourselves?
The common thread through most of the answers to the New Year's resolutions question was... to spend more time with our kids, to be more caring, to be more understanding, to make more time for ourselves. Mums out there, if there's one thing we all share its MOTHER'S GUILT! It's time to stop! We are human and we are just as important as everyone else in the world. What message are we sending out to our children if we continue to question all our decisions, actions, words... Do we want our daughters to grow up and do the same? Do we want our sons to grow up oblivious that mothers are there for the family but they are not seen as individuals with lives of their own?
It's a material world, a highly competitive world where the competition is created by women for women and there is no winner! Why must we spend all our time transporting Johnny from football to swimming to music practice and Jessie to dance and soccer and netball... and play dates! What is it with play dates? In my time growing up play was just play. Hanging out with friends in the neighbourhood, riding our bikes to the local park or pooling our coins together to buy some icecreams and lollies at the shops.
We didn't need to have our play time scheduled with parents driving us to and fro! Yes, there was stranger danger, perhaps it's a less safe world today. But kids need to be kids and mums need time to themselves, free of calendars and text messages to arrange appointment after appointment. Birthday parties? Kids don't need a party every year. The competition for the biggest most expensive party filled with cute ideas replicated from Pinterest and lifestyle shows on TV...and the cakes! (Note: I confess that I do enjoy making cakes and they are the special feature of my kids' birthdays, um, and I'm proud to show off my creations, but not in the name of competition! Oh, and I hate fondant! Yeuch. We may as well decorate with sweetened play dough!). But enough about that. Most of all, we need to take a stand to stop being so hard on ourselves. We can't be the perfect parents. We need to lower our expectations of ourselves. Let us be human and make mistakes. Our behaviours and social norms change from generation to generation. We can make the change happen!
Lets try this!
So I pose this to all women out there, mums or not mums, aunts, sisters, daughters and dads! Lets set our minds to at least one of the following. Just one thing might be enough to influence others and in turn they might do the same. Here are some ideas and you will have some too:
- Stop scrutinising your actions, words etc after the fact. What is done is done, don't beat yourself up about it.
- Let kids be kids but make them responsible and stop spoiling them...they need to learn to be adults too.
- Allow others to share the load (dads are also parents - stop spoiling them too!)
- Take time out for you and enjoy it, guilt free!
- Cut back on some children's activities. It opens up more time for you and kids can just be kids. They have plenty of time for commitments and rosters when they grow up. Let them enjoy being kids.
- Find a hobby, dig out your favourite craft, exercise, read, take up yoga... Remember those things you used to do before you had children? Go to it!
If we all work on these things we can change our current culture and lifestyle to a happier simpler one for all.
Now I'd love to hear from you. Share your comments below, share this blog with your friends or just revisit this page from time to time, to remind yourselves of the things you want to change...hopefully you will have made some progress.
live love life
Another great blog! Can most definitely identify with a lot of your readers' quotes. Here's to more 'me time' :)
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