25 Apr The Doldrums and Creating Your Own Wind
(No, I’m not talking about passing gas!)
No matter how much you love what you’re doing, sooner or later you’re going to run out of momentum. Marathoners call it hitting the wall, sailors call it the doldrums, and mamas call it… afternoon.
Every mama knows that the ebb and flow between loving our kids and being irritated by them and being engaged with them and feeling overwhelmed is our real daily minute-by-minute life.
Sometimes, the mood of depletion and distraction sticks around…….. And you don’t get anything done.
So if you noticed that your kid had no energy or wasn’t really engaged in anything, how would you respond? Giving kids a list of all the things you see that they could do, or things that need doing, isn’t the cure. (Plus it’s irritating to have all your great ideas dismissed!)
So how about not doing. Anything. For whatever period of time.
There’s an unacknowledged value in boredom and daydreaming.
Our productivity culture catapults us into uncomfortableness when we are not in production. And yet our brains and bodies often need to just check out.
There’s a difference between giving up and putting aside. Sometimes you need to push through the wall, and sometimes you need to let go — of expectations, completion, perfectionism. Sometimes you need to stop and NOT smell the roses.
I myself have left the dishes in the sink. The pet unwalked (please don’t judge!). Opened a book and closed it. Opened a magazine and closed it. Thought about dinner, then ordered pizza. Let the kids watch 2 movies in a row. Allowed my kids to lounge all day in their pajamas (and not bathe).
A great thing to model for our kids is actual laziness. (No, not all the time!) Lazy doesn’t just mean you don’t want to work; it can also mean moving slowly and gently. And intentionally. When things get chaotic, slowing down to the point where it looks like you’re “doing nothing” will improve your capacity to get things done (later).
I encourage you to role model for your kids that there is power in the place of letting ourselves slow down, allowing ourselves to be still — to just be.
They’ll grow up knowing it’s okay to order takeout, skip the meeting, delay the housekeeping or just sit in the yard in the sun. They’ll see how important it is to give yourself space to float without direction, ready for whatever comes when the wind changes.
The dynamic equilibrium of a healthy life is both production and relaxation. And it’s a powerful gift to grow a child who can find a balance between the two, leaving aside negative self-talk about opting out.
Pro tip: Don’t forget that as r(E)Volutionary mamas we speak the words to what we are doing so our kids hear and integrate the teaching.
Announce, “I’m feeling lazy today.” “I’m not doing xyz cause I don’t feel like it.” “I’m in a creative funk.” “Let’s skip the event and get a smoothie instead.” “Whatever it is, it will wait.”
So when you need to move slowly and gently, tell your kids that it’s okay to let yourself lie around, make a mess and leave it until Life’s light unpredictable winds lift your sails again.