Where Did Your Energy Go?
By Lori Radun
The most common complaint of mothers today is that they are tired. Being a mom is hard work. I love Dr. Phil. He always says, "Being a stay at home mom is like having two full time jobs." Following that logic, moms who work from home actually have three full-time jobs. It's exhausting just thinking about it. While we obviously need to conserve our energy, it is difficult when we are confronted with constant energy drainers. This month I am going to address those things in life that steal energy.
Today my two year old woke up, and I could tell from the beginning, it was going to be one of those days. Independence and opposition were on the top of his priority list. He wants cookies for breakfast! The fork I pick is absolutely the wrong fork. After a challenging bath, he insists on drying with the dark green towel. I explain this towel is dirty and he has a choice between a red towel and a light green towel. When he stubbornly refuses to make a choice, I pick the red towel. Of course that is the wrong choice. As all moms know, in this kind of mood, the light green towel would also have been the wrong choice. And every child, regardless of age, has days like this.
Dealing with negativity in children is an obvious energy drainer. The answer is to remain positive and flexible, to work at neutralizing the child's conflict energy. It is important to rise above the frustration and meet his negative energy with love.
While the daily demands of being a mom take an obvious toll on energy, there are many energy drains that are not as obvious. Unresolved conflict and negative emotions can be an enormous, though subtle, energy drain. Many people are not even aware of the energy it takes to hold on to unresolved issues. Think of it this way. The more unresolved issues the brain has to cope with, the less energy there is to cope with every day issues. No wonder coping skills tend to diminish as these issues build up. Forgive and let go. If fear and anxiety are taking over, have faith to believe that everything is going to be okay. We all have the power to handle anything that comes our way.
Relationships that compromise our values drain energy. I know a mom who wants to instill high self-esteem in her son. She is encouraging and loving. Her husband, on the other hand, values making his son tough. He doesn't want to nurture his son for fear of making him too soft. When these two energies conflict, the mom feels unsupported. Each of us needs to find balance in our relationships. We must understand and convey to family and friends the values we are unwilling to compromise on and set boundaries with those who challenge those values.
Not enough sleep or exercise is obviously going to deplete energy. But how about that health concern we avoid? Taking care of the body, the mind and the spirit are important when it comes to keeping energy levels high. When I first started staying home with my children, I was very lonely and bored. I had been a working mom for over 10 years. Now here I was stuck in the house carrying on one-way conversations with a baby. I didn't know any other stay- at-home moms, and I certainly wasn't being intellectually stimulated. It took me a while to figure out why I was so down. I was so busy taking care of my child, that I forgot I was more than just a mother. It took volunteering at church and starting my own business to fulfill that depleted part of me. Our energy drains when we don't nurture the intellectual and creative parts of ourselves. It is okay for us to take a break from motherhood and be the women we were designed to be.
Clutter and disorganization are major energy drainers. When my house is in order, I feel so much lighter and freer. Believe me, I know it is difficult to stay organized and clutter free. Start with one room at a time. Fly Lady tells us to set the timer and de-clutter for 15 minutes a day.
It is interesting that financial issues are the number one things that coaches work on with their clients. This is not surprising when so many areas of life rest on our financial state. Having a Will to protect children and assets, getting a clear idea of how much money will be needed for a child's education and for retirement are issues that need to be addressed. Worrying about these things even once in a while drains energy - energy that is needed for daily life.
Understanding the things that can drain energy is the first step towards dealing with and eliminating them. It is amazing how much energy can be freed up and how much more fun life is when we resolve our worries and deal with our unfinished business. Being happier and healthier moms not only benefits us, but also our children.
Lori Radun, CEC is a certified life coach for moms.