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For the love of kids

What do you do for the love of kids? Do you sacrifice your time? Do you forget to brush your teeth in the morning, because you are busy getting everybody ready for school? Have you stopped doing what you love most ever since you had kids? Take a minute. Think about it. What have you given up, that you really like, that makes you whole and happy?

Well, I have given up a lot.

And it happens naturally. I forget to align with myself one moment, I let my wishes go another moment, I spend my birthday money to buy clothes for the kids instead of treating myself to whatever my heart desires. Little things. I take away parts of myself to make other people happy. But. I forget. They are happy, when I am happy. And if I am miserable, my whole family starts falling apart.

So for the love of kids I took a weekend off. The first night away from the kids since forever. Why for the love of kids? Well, because they should finally get their happy momma back. Except I feel, that I need a month away to actually recharge. On the other hand I would die being away from them for such a long time. That’s true, too. So the ultimate goal of this weekend was to figure out, what I need to keep being happy every day. What do I need to change to make my life better?

Take time to listen to myself. To truly listen. To align with God. And do what will make me happy. Make that a priority.

I would lie in bed in the morning and either think about how I don’t want to get up. Or I would think of all the things that have to be done, but I don’t really want to do them. Get the laundry done, clean the house, make some food, go for a walk. Then do that same pattern all over again. It’s never ending. And it doesn’t make me happy. I kinda hate all of those things. I love clean house, good food and neatly folded clothes. But doing it, every day? Grrrr… No wonder I feel so unhappy. And for some other things, that actually bring me joy? Well, I got my half an hour, when I’m done with the house stuff and my toddler is napping. What can you do for half an hour? Almost nothing. And so day after day my own wishes and things that make me happy have been put off and off, and off. And finally I didn’t see a point in even trying to do those things I love, because why? I’d just watch Netflix and feel sadder and sadder, not clearly understanding, why.

This morning I woke up and I was lying in bed for extra 10 minutes, just enjoying that sweet time In a cozy bed (and trying to make up an excuse to oversleep, because waking up every morning at 6:30 for the kid’s school is a torture).

I was thinking, what will give me energy today?

What will make me happy? What will make me want to live? And I enjoyed trying an activity in my mind and thinking, whether it is good enough to bring me that life juice, that I need.

I ended up thinking about painting and watercolors. My mind would wonder to the things, that need to be done. The list is enormous and never ending. But I would take my thoughts captive and return them to joy. What will make me happy today? What will give me energy to live, to do those never ending tasks with joy?

Rules to get back to happy:

1. Your kids are happy, when you are happy

No need to sacrifice yourself, to do maximum, to get exhausted while trying to be a perfect mom.

2. What makes you happy?

What makes you want to live? What brings enough joy to keep you going for a day? Write this down.

There is a difference between things, that make us feel better, when we are tired, and things that give us energy to live.
Things that make me feel better, when I’m tired:

  • Take a bath
  • Take a nap
  • Take a walk outside
  • Listen to music
  • Be in the moment, play with the kids (not to teach them something, but to enjoy the process)
  • Get a cup of coffee and 10 minutes of silence

Things that give me energy:

  • Photography: taking photos, planning projects, cleaning the equipment, posting photos, connecting to fellow photographers
  • Painting or learning about painting
  • Wandering around town for a few hours with my camera in hand
  • Meeting with a good friend
  • Planning an exciting project and making it happen

Ok, for me it’s just these few things. But they give me energy and a will to live. If I have a good photo session and post an inspiring text, I have that unique excitement and butterflies in my stomach. It will be enough to fill me for the day.

3. Take time to find your “life juice”

If you do this thing, you are happy for the rest of the day.

If you have a hard time coming up with anything, just think of what it used to be before the kids. What used to make you really happy? If you are still not coming up with anything, think about what you loved, when you were a child? Maybe it’s baking, maybe painting, maybe counting (I don’t know, whatever works, right?) Maybe you love organizing something, or speaking in front of other people. Whatever it is, find it! Find your life juice.
Then when you feel sad, you know what to do to return to life.

4. Make it a priority

Yes, I mean it! Build your life around your happy moments, not around folding laundry and making dinner. Set time in your day to do these things, that give you energy. Make sure you make it work. Even with kids around. Make it work. And then all the chores will be done with that happy energy. Or left for later, lol. Happy momma is what matters, not flawless kitchen. Well, if flawless kitchen makes you happy and gives you the will to live, then go ahead and make that a priority.

5. Ask others for help

Maybe you need to paint for an hour each day. You can try doing it by yourself. But you can also ask friends for help. They may be happy to babysit your little one from time to time, and you can barter and do the same for them.

6. Check back with yourself

Listen to yourself. Check back and see how you are feeling. As often as you can. Acknowledge moments, when you feel tired or upset. That is when you start yelling at kids. When you realize, that you are tired or sad, get to that list of things, that make you feel better and make sure to stop what you are doing and get that break.
It is very important to finish making dinner, but it is even more important not to be exhausted, not to yell at your kids, not to be angry with your husband. All you need is a break. Right now.

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