By Lori Radun
Let’s face it. We live in a fast paced world. As moms, it is hard to keep up with everything on our plates. We have piles of laundry, piles of dishes, and piles of school papers. Along with the many errands we have to run, we also play chauffer for our children. It may be martial arts on Monday, soccer practice on Tuesday and music lessons on Wednesday. Weekends may be even worse with baseball games, gymnastics meets or ballet lessons. And it doesn’t end there. Many of us also try to squeeze in time to volunteer at school and church because we know they need help.
When life is too busy, stress increases and adrenaline levels rise. Eventually, our bodies begin to tell us we are in trouble. Common problems of an over-stressed lifestyle include physical illness, disease, anxiety and depression. Our bodies can handle only so much before they scream STOP! Relationships may also suffer, as everyone becomes tired and irritable. Children, who are over extended, may not be able to communicate their stress in words, but tantrums, fighting and other unacceptable behavior may all be warning signs.
People who try to handle too much often become disorganized and forgetful. (Have you ever searched everywhere for something you just saw yesterday? Or remembered an appointment – three days late?) My husband and I are perfect examples. I was scheduled to attend a teleclass on Monday: on Wednesday it dawned on me that I had forgotten all about it. Last week my husband returned home twice after leaving for work. The first day he forgot his briefcase; the next day, he forgot his samples. Today he forgot his suit jacket. It really is a vicious circle. Every time we have to take time to return home or worry about things we have forgotten, stress levels increase even more.
For many of us, volunteering becomes a time-stealing trap. Don’t hear me wrong. Volunteering is a great thing. Our world needs volunteers, and volunteering is very rewarding. It is also our responsibility to teach our children the importance of community service. But moms overwhelmed with volunteer work may be over scheduling themselves at the expense of their families and themselves. When people identify a kindhearted person, who likes to help, they may take advantage. It is easier to approach that type of person than one who is never willing to volunteer. Volunteering is important, but keeping our lives balanced is more important. Expect others to do their share, but when they do not, do not step in for them. Knowing when to say no is as important as knowing when to say yes.
How wonderful it would be to have a magical machine with the ability to create peace in the midst of chaos. With this machine life would be slower and we would feel like we have all the time in the world. If I had this machine I know what my life might look like: I wake up 15 minutes early every day to meditate and pray. I have time to spend on laundry and housecleaning because there is nothing on my schedule. My children have time to relax and play because they have eliminated many of their extracurricular activities. Each night my family sits down to dinner together and shares the best parts of their day. One night of the week is designated as family game night. Saturday night is date night and the children enjoy their babysitter. Everyone in the family is happier and less stressed. Real connections with loved ones exist.
Is this a “Fantasy Island” that can never be reached? No it is not. In fact, no magical machine is needed. We all have the power to create any kind of life we want. We can transform our stressful lives into more relaxed and enjoyable ones. We may have to rearrange our priorities. We may have to make some hard choices – eliminating some of the activities and responsibilities we once believed were necessary. We may have to develop new habits or change old attitudes. But it can be done. Change is not always easy, but isn’t a happier, less stressful life worth it? Think about this: The lives we model today will probably be the types of lives our children live as adults. We do have a choice – choose wisely.
Lori Radun, certified life coach for moms. To receive her FREE monthly ezine and the FREE special report “155 Things Moms Can Do to Raise Great Children”, go tohttp://www.true2youlifecoaching.com.