Mommy Pressure and the Art of Slowing Down

What will you do all day?!

This loaded question just irks me. Its constant. Constant pressure to put the kids in day care, camp, activities, sports. What happened to just enjoying your life? Why must we be constantly entertained and evaluated.

I’m a stay at home mom and I enjoy it. Some where along the way of this feminist uprising, people forgot that feminism is based on the ability to make your own choices, not on the amount of shit you can cram into one day.

I used to work full time and my heart ached. I felt like I was missing everything. I don’t have an issue with other moms who choose to work. Everyone should get to do what they truly enjoy. I just happened to feel more passion and longing to stay home with my kids than to be in the work force.

My job was pretty dull as far as an environmental scientist goes. Maybe I had the wrong job. The only thing I miss about working is talking to intelligent people. People in academia. I plan on going back to school after my youngest is older to fill that void. I will see where it takes me. Sometimes as a stay at home mom you find yourself surrounded with busy bodies.

I didn’t put my son in camp this year. He’s 7 and he likes to hang out with me. I enjoy spending these moments with him. He’s only little for so long. Same goes for my 3 year old. Our school district has added full time pre-school for 3 and 4 year olds. As in full time is the ONLY option. My son went at 4 but I feel like 3 is too much. I just don’t want to let go yet. Its great for working parents because its F R E E free but for some reason everyone expects you to jump on the bandwagon. I stay at home… why would I put my baby in full time day care?

Some people pretend they send their babies to school. I hear people calling day cares school now. Its day care. They are learning just as much as they would being at home. I don’t have a problem with it but the language of pushing for production is deceptive.

What sports, activities, what does your child do after school? Nothing, hes fricken tired. Hes been at school all day. Why cant we just let our children be children. Why cant they just relax. Think, Stare out the window. Play with dirt. I feel the pressure sometimes and doubt myself but my son has no interest. He wants to be an animal scientist inventor. He reminds me I’m doing the right thing. Not to push, not to spend all of our time driving to various facilities so other people can entertain him. He just wants to hang out with me and I love it.

Sometimes I wonder if this set up of constant entertainment, constant work, constant activity, constant production is limiting the ability to just be happy with what you have. To just sit in quiet. To enjoy your family. To enjoy the little things, like your warm bed, your comfy couch, your silly sister, your funny dad. To observe other people around you. To observe nature. To observe and reflect. To think in silence. To find answers yourself, by experimenting and reflecting from within.

As I kid I never did activities. I was the oldest of 5 and my mother was not interested in driving us around all day. I played in the backyard. I played with my brother and sisters. I played on my street. I read a lot. I was creative. I’m not super ambitious as an adult. I finished college but I just don’t have this desire to be #1 at everything. I am pretty content with what I have and I think that’s really important. If you lost everything, what kind of skills would you have. Not only physically but mentally. Would you be able to just sit. To just think. Maybe its my bias towards Buddhism and minimalism but stillness and acceptance seems like a calming attribute.

I want to teach my kids to move through life without expecting constant entertainment and rewards. To be constantly evaluated and judged by what they accomplished today. I just want my kids to be happy with what they have. Peace, love, kindness, food.

I’m definitely not as active as I used to be. I was recently (this year) diagnosed with MS, and I tire easily. I have to conserve my energy. I can’t push myself like I used to. I believe this is a blessing in disguise. I should take better care of myself. At the same time I find my kids are older now anyway, I’m not on the 5 am shift eating lunch at 10:30. The things I used to get done before 9 am. My kids are growing out of their baby stage and I find we are all slowing down a little. We are ready to enjoy life as individuals that are getting to know each other.

Any time I start to doubt myself or feel pressure I stop what I’m doing. I sit down and take a deep breath. I look around, I start listening to my children. I start paying attention to these interactions that will be snippets of their own personal memories. I ignore the beautiful sunny weather outside and I just sit on the floor and play. I make coffee. I take the kids in the backyard. All easy stuff. Fun stuff should be easy right? Genuine heartfelt memories shouldn’t cost money. They should just be experienced at home and with family. One of my best coping skills for anxiety in this crazy fast paced world is to just slow down and stop. For me its the quickest way to calm.

 

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