...And boy am I glad we did. Aside from the really great (NOT perfect - more on that later) day we had as a family, doing something completely new for us created a really great opportunity for us to see things about ourselves, our children and parenthood that I had never seen before.
We don't really care if our kids think we're fun police (although we do like having fun together as a family), but we did like the idea of giving our kids some responsibility (I think that this is what most of us misunderstand about a yes-day - its actually giving children MORE responsibility than usual, not less), and we were very curious about what they would choose for us to do together if they had (mostly) zero restrictions placed on how we do family time.
...but here are some things that I learnt about motherhood, myself & my children that really made the whole experience worth it:
I don't think that they derailed our day much, I was just surprised at how much anxiety the experience generated. I am not in a crazy shame spiral about it or anything - I choose to make it ok - in that I see it as something to see, know & learn from, not something to judge and heap shame on myself over. Like everything in life, we can't change or address what we can't see and I am grateful for the opportunity that this day gave me to see something that I am hopeful for change over :)
2. I set my own bar for "supermom" waaaaaaay too high
One of our greatest fears around a yes-day was that our kids were going to want something from us that we weren't capable of... that they were going to ask for something we couldn't give them... and so we just avoided ever making room for them to ask.
Meanwhile, our children's requests were simple and easy. Our children's wishlist wasn't insane, it wasn't even that indulgent (accrording to our standards anyway)... it was thoughtful, fun and revolved around simply being together. Swimming, water games, walks in the park, unlimited swinging, splash pads, more swimming, a visit to our old farm, more swimming, movies with slushies & more swimming & some Starwars.
It made me realize that I have been holding back from really embracing the simple joys I am able to give to my children, because I focus so much on the more extravagant and elaborate 'joy' that I can't.
3. A great day does not equal a perfect day.
Life doesn't need to be perfect to be good.
There is magic, but it doesn't look like the movies. It's much more special than that. We just need to be willing to see it without them (the movies that is).
When I am following Christ and learning how to live from him, the exact opposite of my lived experience would be true. That Christ would lead me away from and teach me how to live free of hustle, burnout & overwhelm! (gasp!)
Additionally, when they're too long - it becomes a "can't see the wood for the trees situation".
Some people like to just start at the top and work their way down - thats a great strategy if you just want to do SOMETHING but, its not an efficient strategy and it does not guarantee that you will get to the end of your day feeling any less stressed or satisfied about how you spent your time if all you have done is distract or exhaust yourself doing things that aren't really important.
or asked differently:
Additionally, wasting it on priorities that aren't really ours or spending energy dealing with bitterness and resentment because we have allowed other people to dictate to us how we use it isn't worth it.
There was a time when I probably would have been extremely proud at my propensity to hustle.
I am by nature pretty driven and hardworking and when the goal is worthy, I can be extremely disciplined and focused. Basically, I am full-on Type A, and hustle was me in my element.
My hustle does have a darkside though. Discipline and focus becomes ruthless elimination of any distraction - even if that distraction happens to be another human who I love and who loves me back. Hard work turns into self-harm as I feel my body groan under the weight of its workload. Early mornings, late nights, all work, no play or rest - all in the name of strong work ethic and whatever it is I start to believe is worth the cost of my health and my peace.
I think the worst part about all of this is that it actually works (at least for a while) - goals are accomplished, a system flooded with adrenaline feels amazing and even better is the value that an achievement, no matter how arbitrary, can bestow upon a small self-esteem pretending to be confident and secure in who she is, and not what she does.
It works… until it doesn’t. It works until bodies start to give in after years of abuse. It works until marriages and friendships are eroded until there’s nothing left, and it works until your appetite for achievement or value becomes so insatiable that nothing satisfies for long or how it used to.
Here is the real problem with hustle though. The issue undergirding all of that self-destruction is that the energy driving most of our hustle is scarcity and shame.
Hustle is not about hard work or productivity.
Hustle is a posture and an energy.
It’s an expression of scarcity and an experience of danger or threat to who we are.
It’s fight or flight in action.
If you know anything about fight or flight you know that it is a physiological and emotional state that is only supposed to be short term and for extreme, dangerous situations.
Rest doesn't happen there.
Peace doesn’t happen there.
Reproduction and fruitfulness doesn’t happen there.
Real growth gets stunted there.
Healthy energy can’t be sustained there.
Hustle is fear of loss or losing, it is shame and fear responding on your behalf, its self-protection - and it’s also isolation when you need connection more.
If we are honest with ourselves, we can acknowledge that a lot of us structure our lives around avoiding pain.
What if we chose to structure it around pursuing love?
What if the energy we need to succeed in life isnt hustle, what if it is courage infused with love and it's rooted in deep peace and a confidence that we are safe, that we are valuable and that life is good?
What if there is always more than enough time?
What if it were fun and easy?
The commitment I am making to myself, and the one I am inviting you to make for yourself is to consistently examine my foundation and the energy propelling me. Am I prepared to work hard? YES! Do I want to live my life having left nothing on the table? HECK YES! Do I believe it's worth sacrificing my health, love and peace for? Never again.
I can choose to do all of that from a place of already, right-now, in-the-present deep satisfaction and peace.
What about you? Are you ready to let go of the fear and the shame and shine in your love?
If you are reading this and are concerned that your hustle might be starting to take its toll on your health and wellbeing, you might be interested in a free quiz I put together for you. Click here to access the “what is your survival mode score?” quiz!
Here is what she says about her experience of the Stress & Self Care Reset:I just wanted to touch base since I wasn't able to speak with you last week. Even with all the chaos last week threw at us unexpectedly, I was able to continue participating in almost all aspects of the reset. In the few days that we've been home this week and settling back into our usual pandemic work/life routine I've finally had a chance to reflect on impacts I've seen from the reset.
I just wanted to touch base since I wasn't able to speak with you last week. Even with all the chaos last week threw at us unexpectedly, I was able to continue participating in almost all aspects of the reset. In the few days that we've been home this week and settling back into our usual pandemic work/life routine I've finally had a chance to reflect on impacts I've seen from the reset.
Two places in particular where I saw changes were in using the Superfood supplement and identifying and using a daily mantra/affirmation. I have a deep and abiding love of Coke, and while I have mostly eliminated it from my diet in times of great stress and overworking, I find excuses to let it back into my life and while it's not the couple a day habit i used to have, even a few during a single week is not something I really want. It just has a noticeable impact on my physical and mental health. Anyhow, that's where I was when we started and without even making a conscious effort, I found that a few days into using the Ningxia Red that I no longer had that mid afternoon craving for a coke. In fact my afternoon fatigue seemed to be gone in general.
The idea of using a mantra or daily affirmations isn't new to me. I do them with my kids regularly, but it's not something I've actually focused on for myself. When we first started the reset, our family was reading through Romans in the mornings together. And there were some parts of Romans 8 that just jumped out at me. So I began with the daily affirmation of I am free. (Romans 8:2) I am fearless. (Romans 8:15) and I am never alone. (Romans 8:38-39) Coming up with the daily affirmation forced me to really think about what it is I needed to hear and tell myself each day to remind me of who I am and who I want to be. Not knowing when we started what the second week would bring into my life, I relied on those affirmations often throughout the day on our trip to my hometown to say good-bye to my grandmother and spend some time with family. I won't go into detail, but leaving that town was my greatest goal from the age I first realized it was an option. My parents have always been a stress trigger for me starting with a diagnosis of a stress-induced autoimmune disease when I was a teen. I've spent a long time learning to deal with the impact of stress to my body and mind and how to manage and prevent it and how to stay healthy while having a relationship with my family of origin. I didn't realize how much I was relying on those affirmations until I sat down to reflect.
I have also been using the other protocol tools regularly. I very much enjoy integrating them while I spend a few minutes meditating in the morning or when I was traveling I used it on the short 10 min drive from our cottage to visit my grandmother. I haven't usually used something like that during my morning meditation time, but I plan to continue the entire RESET protocol through the summer.
All in all, I'm very grateful to have participated in the reset...it did just that for me, helped me reset to healthier ways that I feel empowered to build on. I plan to keep up all the things through the summer and hopefully catch up on the journaling too. Thanks so much for offering it!
If you would like more information about the Stress & Self-Care Reset: Visit the webpage here.