Today I’m sharing a lovely article written by Mothering with heART contributor, Jennifer Schmitz. Jennifer is the mother to three busy boys, and she knows what it’s like to juggle while finding balance in life! She is FULL of creative ideas, and this is just one of a few that she’ll be sharing with us this summer. You can learn more about Jennifer by visiting her blog, Hand Grown Life.
Be an Island
By Jennifer Schmitz
Some days come at you hard and fast, like a huge flood. No matter how prepared you are you can’t predict everything. Everyone has a tough day (or week, month, or year) every so often, but as moms, we are responsible for others. They are swimming in the stream with us. It compounds everything, especially tough days, when there are tiny beings depending on you.
What you really need is to be an island in that raging stream, a place of refuge for yourself, and a harbor for your children. It can be challenging to create a retreat in the middle of a flood of activity, but you can do it. It will take your willingness to stop, think, and change to address the needs of your particular situation.
The big key: it all starts with you.
No matter how late you are, no matter the poop on the floor, no matter the shards of glass (provided little feet are out of the way, and there’s no blood…), stop and take one (or two) deep breaths. Then calmly, quietly handle the immediate problems one at a time. With the crisis either averted or handled, move on together.
Know that being the mom who can be an island for herself and others starts long before the flood-like day. It’s much easier to be a sanctuary if you are working from a place of having met your needs. This is certainly easier said than done when you are almost always with another being, but it is possible to carve out time while caring for your little loves.
I have an entire list of ways to practice self-care with your kids (and get creative about child-care) to share with Shannon’s students in Mothering with HeART. I’m super excited to be writing about this topic; I really think this is something every mom can use more of!
To get you started, I’m going to give you a little teaser activity. All you need to do is a bit of planning ahead (something you’ll read more about in the class), and enjoy the few minutes you have while your kids are busy. Yep, distract them with part of a project while you enjoy your tea.
- Collected natural objects like leaves, okra, carrots, potatoes, cukes, flowers, etc.
- Bucket or container in which to collect things
- Scissors for trimming specimens
- Kitchen knife
- Cutting board
- Paper plates or paint palette(s)
Plan ahead and have paper, paint and brushes (if needed) pulled together and ready to put on your work surface as soon as your kids return from collecting. Tell your kids you have a project to do with them and explain that all of you will be creating prints and stamping with things from nature. Send them outside to collect things from your yard and garden. Make some suggestions based on what you know you have available in your yard, but make sure they know that they can make choices too. While they are collecting, enjoy a few quiet minutes. (Make sure you do something to savor this time!)
When your babes return with a haul of things to try, get everyone a sheet of paper and some paint on a palette or plate. Use brushes to put paint on more delicate things like leaves and flowers before pressing them gently onto the paper. Firmer things like osage oranges and some veggies can be dipped in paint and stamped or even rolled on the paper. Experiment with slicing some things open and stamping what you find inside. We’ve loved stamping with okra, printing leaves, carving potatoes into fun shapes to make stamps, and watching how a cut cucumber prints. You can even crack open nuts and try stamping with the inside shapes you find.
Things to know:
Have plenty of paper ready; you will most likely go through several sheets per person. You should also have a space set aside for things to dry. Keep a wet rag handy for wiping down things and hands. Relax and have fun, you can clean up the mess together, later. Your kids might want to create something specific and draw or paint back into their prints; let them. To make this easier, consider having small brushes and maybe something to draw with within reach.
Enjoy PLAYING! You will feel refreshed while nurturing your creativity and bonding together.
Your Personal Reflection:
Does your creativity need a little recharge?
Mothering with heART online experience starts Monday, July 8th! Be on the lookout for an intro video where I share more details about class. I hope you will join us.