I’m going through our Family Creed and addressing each line. The next one up is “We believe…that everyone’s feelings count.” Funny enough, my first inclination on this as a family creed is that it means that we pay attention to the feelings of our small children. While I definitely believe that is important, I’ve been struck lately that it really means everyone. That means us parents, too. Specifically…it’s me as a mom.
Raising children is not an easy task. I absolutely adore our girls–we have so much fun. However, knowing that we are shaping the lives of a future generation…and that our household will have a great impact on what our children will become…that’s a lot of pressure. And that sometimes can equate to major burnout.
Have you had those moments where you feel like a slave in your own house? Where on top of cleaning the house, cooking meals, doing laundry, paying bills, accomplishing work, and trying to maintain sanity, you have beautiful little children undertow that demand your attention 150% of the time??? I’m there. If I here “MOMMMMMMMYYYYYY!!!!!” one more time I may scream and run the other way. (If you’ve met my youngest, you’ll know that even if I hightailed it to California, I’d still hear her).
Being a mom is a special role, and especially with small children, it’s a highly demanding role. There is something about being the mom that requires extra nurturing, extra attention, and special boo-boo kisses that only mommies can administer. How can you say no to a child begging for mommy’s love?
Again, going back to feelings…I want more than anything for my children to feel love in our home. I want them to feel safe, secure, and at peace. I want them to know the old cliche, “home is where the heart is”….and our hearts are always open to them. I want them to feel heard, for them to know we’ll listen and weigh their words seriously no matter what their age or what the topic, and I want them to feel free to be open about their feelings, no matter what they are (I’ll add the caveat that one of our rules in the family is “no hateful talk”, so having the feeling about not liking someone does not equate an “I hate you” in our home, ever).
Now….the whole paragraph above…let’s take out the kids and put the parents in there. It’s just as important. It’s not just about acknowledging your children. I don’t believe in a child-centered home. One day, those children will leave, and if everything is centered on them, what you can end up with is a shell of who you once were. I want to ensure that in our home, my feelings, my husband’s feelings…they are just as vital. Our relationship is #1 in our home–taking the time to invest in each other is, to me, the best thing I can do for my children.
Showing them an example of a loving, healthy relationship is important because this is the first and foremost impression they will carry for relationships throughout their lives. My parents came from families with unhappy marriages/divorces…they overcame all odds to remain happily married, but they are the first to say that although their history didn’t break them, it did make them–they worked hard to establish the relationship they have now, determined not to duplicate the wounds of the past.
Finally, beyond respecting and truly listening to the feelings of your spouse, let’s get to the root of it. Are you taking the time to listen to you? I’m getting hit today with how hard it is for me to just let go, wind down, and take some me time. When the girls are asleep, I relax with my husband, but sitting here tonight on “guys’ night”, I’ve thought about all the things I “need” to do–clean up the kitchen, throw in a load of laundry, answer the gobs of work emails piling up…but where is that time for me? I get so busy doing that I forget to be. Taking those moments to rest are so, so important. If my cup is empty, drained, exhausted, and completely depleted, how can I pour my “riches” over to others, specifically my family?
So…take the time right now to think about you first. How do you feel? Have you spent time today doing something just for you to help you remember the amazing person you are? Second, have you invested in your spouse–let them know their feelings count? And only after these two things…make sure you wrap your arms around your precious children, no matter what their ages, and let them know that despite all the craziness live throws your way, you truly cherish them.