Devices, work, the grocery store, the classes, the dishes, the house, the yard-honestly I have no idea where to begin with the never-ending list of daily chores. With all our modern conveniences, why was I so stressed out? Could I ever be a calm mom?
Do you feel stressed out but want to be a calm mom too?
Do you want to be more mindful with you kids but just feel too busy?
After reading Chapter 2 of Free To Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life , by Peter Gray, I felt a lot more knowledgeable on the ways kids learn naturally. After reading the extensive research on societies that let children learn freely, through free play, adult example, and oral tradition, I wondered what in the world I was doing spending so much time on my device these days? That in addition to the daily grind makes me basically an absent parent to my children in terms of parenting with real thoughtfulness. Am I really providing a good example? Can my kids be calm if I am not?
This chapter really challenged me to think deeply about education, or “cultural transmission” as Gray calls it. “Cultural transmission” means that each new generation of human beings acquires and builds on the skills, knowledge and values of previous generations” is content dependent.
This means that what we show our kids is what they learn. We are in the position of great influence because to our kids we are their heroes.
As a parent, such an understanding can be unsettling. No one taught us how to be parents, and our only lessons come from our own childhoods growing up in our own families. Only one source to reference. For the next generation, being truly mindful of our actions is so important because as parents their are often things we would like to do differently than our own parents.
So what lessons are we teaching our kids?
What example are we showing them in order to be Calm Kids?
Stressed Mom vs Calm Mom
Once I started looking at my own day-to-day schedule, I was shocked at my lack of awareness. I felt like I never had time to sit down and regroup. I felt as though less achievement and commitment would be a breath of fresh air. Slowing down would be bliss. And I wondered how it must feel to actually be quite and still.
I also felt like becoming a bit more low tech. I have to say “lower” tech, because the idea of not being on near my device sounded a little scary. Still, it might be worth it as long as it I was calmer.
As a challenge to myself to really look at what goes on in my day, I stopped what I was doing one afternoon and watched my thoughts. What I found was shocking! I found quick thoughts running thought my head, meal plans for the next day swimming in my head, all while wondering where the garden should be placed this year in our backyard. Yikes!
Not Quite the Calm Mom.
Once I saw my high paced thoughts, I understood why my body was always in motion. It was just doing what it was told to do.
So how could I slow down and be more mindful?
Usually I get things done with a list, so I decided to make a list of things that would calm me down. Maybe even calm my kids! Here’s what it looked like:
Top 10 things To Do to Be A Calm Mom
1. Get rid of the lists-they are always too long and make me angry when I can’t get them done. (OK, so much for that………)
All The Time In the World
All That Time In The World is a movie that changed me for the better, at just about the time I got rid of lists. It was great timing to say the least. My husband heard about it from a podcast he was listening to and we got so curious we bought ourselves a copy to watch.
Suzanne Crocker, from Vancouver, Canada was asked to make this documentary as a wasy to “disconnectin order to reconnect” with her family of 5. And how she set out to do this was nothing short of a super hero effort. She embarked with her family into the Yukon Wilderness for 9 months, part of which was in the dead of winter. Check out the trailer for All The Time In The World here.
Suzanne Crocker and her husband bravely took their family on a journey to a cabin in the deep woods without running water and electricity, one so remote that the only way to get to it was by boat or snowmobile. A place that has bears and temperatures that dip well into the -40’s and -50s. A place where there are no modern conveniences.
Setting out, she thought her kids would want to strangle each other by the end of it all, but she found the exact opposite to be true. Despite all the wood chopping, homemade fires and food, and just plain work, they bonded. They bonded so much that they didn’t want to leave.
However, Crocker’s movie made a huge impact on me too!
Seeing what it means to take time with each other, to have nowhere to go and nothing to do, was eye-opening. Having seen the movie gave me some real life ideas on how I could create some down time for me and my family in our very own suburban bungalow.
Finally, daily choices like putting the devices away, not making plans, cooking meals together, not going shopping, and taking a walk in nature all made sense.
I had always imagined I would cook more food at home, take walks in nature, and spend long days of quality time with my kids. I just never saw a real life example of it so I didn’t know how to be a calm mom. Now I did. I knew enough to get started, even without trekking to the Yukon Territory in Canada.
Being mindful of how I spend my time with my family became a driver for me and I did begin to feel like I had All The Time In The World. We took 4 days of park walks over the Christmas holiday, we spent a whole weekend indoors in January, and cooking began to be more fun than going out to eat.
Life began to feel more orderly.
I began to feel like I just might be a Calm Mom.