While we are enjoying some extra snuggle time with the Monkeys, we are so pleased to be able to bring you a series of posts from some of our favorite bloggers. Today’s post comes to us from Christi of Learning to Be the Light.
Christi and I are fellow members of Multicultural Kid Blogs. She is a gentle soul who also has a great sense of humor – what a wonderful combination! The love she has for her family and others radiates through her posts, and her upbeat attitude is infectious.
I am so pleased to share with you her post on the need for stillness in our busy lives. I know it was just what I needed to read!
There I was, sitting in my dark closet, trying not to move. Trying not to think. Trying to be still. Like, meditation still. Finding inner peace still. But I think inner peace is bogus. It’s a trumped up life goal that is only attained in fleeting moments. It’s like magic. Or voodoo. Okay. That took a quick turn to the dark side.
Every so often I am overwhelmed by life and find myself ducking into my closet to regroup. I turn off the light, close the door, and sit cross-legged while I try to clear my mind. But it has to be done stealthily, because if Marco or Daniela know I’m in there, it ruins the whole thing – I can’t be still. I get squirmy and walk out more frustrated than I walked in, which is bad news for everyone. But when I get it right, it’s glorious.
I’m not big on meditation. I wish it weren’t so, but I’m not. Actually, the first time I tried it was just a few weeks ago and it got this result:
Thirty eight seconds. Thirty eight blasted seconds!? Oh, well. But my closet time, yes, that will make up for my lack of meditation. There’s something about sitting in the dark and seeking quiet. That tiny place of peace 3 seconds before we fall asleep. That? That’s what I search for. That 3 second, fleeting stillness that overtakes and relaxes our bodies and our minds.
As mothers, we are constantly being pulled in so many directions that we often put ourselves on the back burner. There is a lot to be said for “me time” and any way you can get it is great, but I think that we need to go a step further and prioritize it so that our children learn from our self-caring example. A friend said to me the other day that children need mothers, not martyrs. Yes! Our children need to see mothers who take time to nourish themselves. Who reach for their dreams and who have an identity outside of their children. Even if it’s just yoga during nap time. Or a book without pictures.
My closet time is always sought in times of desperation. It’s a last resort for a mom on the brink of meltdown. Why is that? Why do moms feel the need to push ourselves far beyond what we can reasonably handle? I think inwardly we know there is a better way to handle life, but we just don’t have the time to figure it out. What fulfilled you before you had kids? We lose sight of the fact that before being moms, we were women. What did that woman inside aspire to? Reach for it! Doing so will teach your child that you are more than mom. You are a human being with passions and spirit and gifts. Plus, indulging in your self will make you a more content and dynamic parent.
Life will always have overwhelming moments, but I’ve learned that those dark closet moments born of absolute desperation are rare when I’m taking care of myself. When I set aside time for me, I say yes more. Yes to after dinner walks that push back bedtime. Yes pulling the car over and visiting the cows. Yes to ice cream. But here’s the kicker, when you’re in that self care groove, it makes the no’s easier too. No’s are handled with hugs and understanding instead of time outs and frustration. Forget about life long inner peace, it’s a parenting sham. Make time for 3 seconds of genuine stillness, and really search for it. It will make a world of difference in your family.
Christi Madrid is a Florida based blogger who grew up in Northern Michigan. Together, she and her husband strive to rear their daughter to be a globally-minded citizen; confident and empowered in her world identity. Christi blogs about step parenting and her personal passion of Learning to be the Light at ChristiMadrid.com. You can also catch her on Facebook.