A field guide to living an intentional, creative and fun life — with children.

Tag Archives: how to relax

Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt on Flickr

What would happen if just today you let go of the tight grip you keep on your life?

Would the world fall apart?

Would YOUR world fall apart?

What if you didn’t care about what your children ate, the activities they did, if your husband packed his lunch or even if he was going to be home late, again?

Will the sun still come up tomorrow? Will your family still be OK?

What if just for today you didn’t care what other people thought and you just did your own thing without worry or societal pressures?

Would all that authenticity make you shine brighter?

What if all those balls you’re juggling in the air just fell one-by-one onto the ground and shattered on the floor?

Would you be upset or would you be relieved?

How would it feel to just be without trying to get to the next best thing that you simply must achieve? That next blog post? That next level of management? That next big screen TV? The bigger car?

Would everything you have right now, this very second, be enough?

What if you just stopped caring so damn much about life’s minutiae and started paying attention to all the beauty that surrounds you instead? Who cares if you really say no to volunteering, just this once? Who cares if you really say yes to skipping the latest social function, just this once?

Especially if it means more time to yourself. Or more time with your family?

The image of losing my tight grip on all the many things I try to control all day is a beautiful, profound thought to me. Breathing helps. Doing less helps. Saying yes to more fun things helps.

The idea of not needing to be responsible for every. little. stinking. thing is WONDERful.

But the idea of losing that tight grip that I have on my children’s day is even more appealing. Are they old enough to start learning valuable mistakes? Are they old enough to pull away from me just a bit? Are they old enough to start doing more things on their own?

How about you? What could you care less about today? Beds not getting made? An unkept house? Piles of laundry? Children’s squabbling in the other room? If they ate iced pop tarts over the new box of organic shredded wheat? If their clothes match? Finding the perfect photo to share on your blog or on Facebook or to send across the miles?

That everything is perfectly perfect?

Original Photo Credit: D Sharon Pruitt on Flickr

WRITING PROMPT ONE: Write a list of all the things you have to do today. I mean truly have to do today. Now, circle only the ones that are life or death — meaning they have to be done today or someone gets hurt. What’s left?

WRITING PROMPT TWO: Is there anything in your life that you’d like to let go of …  maybe a long-held belief, an insecurity, a personality trait? Perhaps it’s a constant worry. Or a fear that just won’t let you relax. What have you done to let go of it? What could you do to try harder to let go of it?

Feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments or on your own blog, linking back to this post. I’ll always share your links on my Facebook and Pinterest pages.

Big super-sized thanks to Chintermeyer on Flickr for this really fine photo.

You begged for help today and no one answered.

Just breathe.

The children woke up a half hour too early and will be a mess by 9 a.m..

Just breathe.

Milk was spilled all over the counter and the clean clothes.

Just breathe.

She had another tantrum over nothing. Again.

Just breathe.

He only wants to watch TV and play video games.

Just breathe.

The twins are fighting again.

Just breathe.

The house is a total wreck because that’s the kind of day/week it has been.

Just breathe.

You need more sleep.

Just breathe.

You need quiet time and cannot get it.

Just breathe.

You couldn’t find time to exercise, again.

Just Breathe.

You don’t have the money to pay the bills.

Just breathe.

You just lost your job.

Just breathe.

Your child failed another test.

Just breathe.

Your child had a fight with a friend.

Just breathe.

Your child is being bullied.

Just breathe.

Your child is the bully.

Just breathe.

You haven’t talked to an adult in days.

Just breathe.

You have too much to do and no nap time to do it.

Just breathe.

You work all day and come home to housework all night.

Just breathe.

You have dreams and you cannot — not for the life of you — reach them.

Just breathe.

The babies are growing up faster than you ever dreamed would happen.

Just breathe.

We’re in this together. This is your village. This is where we support each other. This is where you are reminded what peace feels like. This is where you know it’s OK to do less, to be imperfect. This is your place to find your silly side again. This is the place where we remind each other to stop and play. This is the place to feel inspired, to say yes and embrace the wonders of the world.

Do Less magnet by Artfrombeing on Etsy. Click image for more.

We had the unfortunate event of a very sick child this past weekend. At least a few to-dos on my to do-lists had to be scrapped. We were left with the very basic, very simple of days.

In other words, relaxing.

No one I know has more t0-do lists than I do. At least, my husband seems to think this is the case. I always have lofty goals. I always have running lists. Crafts, writing projects, do-it-yourself goodies … the lists are constantly updated {thanks, Pinterest!} and always a work-in-progress.

And yet I know more than anyone that the pressure to do those fun, creative, awesome, amazing, wonderful, can’t-live-without-them things is 100 percent on me, myself and I.

I feel this unrealistic desire to do things, all the time and constantly. And, I’m sure I’m not alone, I often put that same pressure on my children.

And now they are obssessed with doing things, too.

So when Sick Girl slept all day, I realized that my other daughter felt a bit lost without her. She could entertain herself but that wasn’t what she was used to doing and so she was constantly saying that she’s bored. She was used to either myself, her dad or her sister filling her days.

Boredom just isn’t our style. Well, not mine anyway.

I let her be bored anyway.

I’m learning to appreciate boredom. First encounter with appreciating boredom happened when I took two different weeks off work just to be home with our daughters during their school breaks last year. Mid-way through that first week off of work and just being at home, not doing much of anything, and I came up with this blog idea. Mid-way through the second week, I came up with a really GREAT non-fiction book idea.

Tell me boredom doesn’t lead to great things. Tell me.

Not just that. Boredom helps children problem-solve and be more creative. I was bored A LOT as an only child. Some could argue that that boredom did wonders for me, my creativity and imagination!

Parents who don’t or can’t do all these fancy learning projects that cost a lot of money and time do not need to worry — letting children be bored is perfectly OK.

Parents who don’t or can’t do all these fancy learning projects that cost a lot of money and time do not need to worry — letting children be bored is perfectly OK.

So, I’m trying to “entertain” less for my children and, rather, be simply entertained by them, their imaginations and free spirits. This child-centered approach will take some getting used to but they are old enough now to take more control over how they fill their free time. {So long as it’s not TV!}

It’s also all part of being mindful and not worrying if we’re doing enough or being enough or teaching enough. It’s all enough. Just showing up is enough. Just sitting there, paying attention is enough. Looking them in their eyes, is enough. Laughing at their silly jokes? Enough. Playing that game that they made up and you’re destined to lose? Enough.

Will it be hard not to fill our every free moment with stuff to do? Absolutely. Will we survive? Fairly certain we will. This doesn’t mean I will not play with them because I will always stop what I’m doing for that. I will also still offer suggestions if they ask me.

But I’m not going to force my adult agenda on them, at least not all the time.

I’ll also do less of other things that fill that void for myself, too. Maybe I’ll read more and clean less.

Or, maybe less Pinning in the middle of the day …

Eh, nevermind on that.

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