You’ve heard how important self-care is and have probably even reminded yourself or a stressed…
Mom Life: You Are the Center of Your Family's Universe
Living the “mom life” is often a fast-paced whirlwind of activity, so sometimes it can be hard to see how much we influence our family. But we do – they take their cues from us, both in their activities and in their emotional well-being.
In the following excerpt from my book, I talk about this phenomenon and how we can both recognize that it happens and manage our response to it. Isn’t it amazing how much our families rely on us for guidance? It can feel like a burden sometimes, but it’s most often a blessing. Sometimes, living a great “mom life” means recognizing just how important we are to the people we love.
Here we go!
As mothers, like it or not, we need to be on our thought A-game, because, after all, we are the center of our family’s universe. Have you ever thought of yourself in this way before? Is there a more badass way to see your importance as a mom? With myself and my friends alike, I see this proven true time and time again. It’s often the root of one of our biggest frustrations. Moms are the rock of the family. Moms are the ties that bind families together—the lifeblood, the special sauce. Not that everything is about us or revolves around us. No way—far from it. What I mean by this is that we, as moms, are the guiding force, the grand master, the reason things happen and/or don’t happen, the be-all and end-all of our family.
Even when we have partners who are fantastic at the whole parenting thing, the emotional load of our family falls primarily on mom’s shoulders. We can anticipate needs, moods, and feelings before they are even expressed. I believe that’s how we are hardwired as women. We are tapped into our families, and being able to offer that support and security is crucial to the easier functioning of our family’s life. If we aren’t careful, that help can come at a very high cost: our well-being.
Your Family Seems Lost Without You
If you don’t see this, think back to a time when you were too sick to function or so swamped at work with a pressing deadline that you had to give all of your attention to it. How did that day go for your family? Did everything run smoothly, without a hiccup? Was everything that usually gets done on a normal day executed when and how it usually is? Or did all hell break loose? Maybe all hell breaking loose is a bit much, and maybe the house and family put themselves on pause for you. OK, everyone survived, but it was true survival mode, and typical daily occurrences had to wait for a day when you were better.
I see this clearly in my life with any back-to-school night or evening meeting when I’m not home, and my family is left on their own. I treat these evenings as social experiments for my family and purposefully don’t leave a to-do list or any specific instructions. This is progress for me, because there was a time when the mere thought of doing something like this would have me hyperventilating into a paper bag. However, now I grab my purse, give everyone a kiss and hug, and depart with a big peace out! Mama has left the building. What happens each and every time is that my family members wait for me. Their day is put on hold. They keep playing or doing fun things, but the must-do tasks that are standard routine in our house are placed on hold. Now, I’m not sure if it’s a “the cat’s away, the mice will play” scenario, or an “I’m going to wait for Mom because she is part of that routine” thing. I come back, and there are times they haven’t even eaten dinner. Sometimes they had something super quick and easy. But consistently, not one person has done one part of the standard routine in my absence. The same happens if I’m traveling for work, or if I’m under the weather. Go figure.
Your Feelings Influence Your Family’s Feelings
Now, think of a day when you wake up healthy but just in a funk. You know, one of those days that you can’t even stand to be with yourself. Did the dynamic of your family change in any way? Usually for me, everyone is having some type of varied meltdown within fifteen minutes of the start of my funk, and the whole day goes to shit unless I actively change my funk and help everyone else out of it too. So the frustrating part of this being-the-center-of-your-family’s-universe thing is that bad days and sick days aren’t an option, even though they happen.
One random Saturday, I woke up feeling like I had just stepped out of the Monica video “Don’t Take It Personal” from 1995, where she is having an off day and just wanted to be by herself. I was like, “No offense; just leave me alone, guys. I love you all, but I’m not really feeling it (or anything, for that matter) today.” I don’t remember why I was feeling this way; just one of those days, I guess. Everyone else in my family was up and in great moods. The boys were happily playing, and my husband was working on a project nearby. Within ten minutes of me gracing them with my funkiness, the boys were fighting like cats and dogs, I was spazzing, and my husband was pissed that the calm morning had morphed into something from Jerry Springer. I was annoyed on so many levels, but mostly because I couldn’t just be in a funk for half a freaking hour! Seriously, live your lives without me for thirty damn minutes! A few days later, I was discussing this with a dear friend, and she exclaimed, “Yesssss!! What is up with that?? The same thing happens with me!” We then swapped war stories of how we recovered, and we ended up feeling less alone in this crazy fact of mom life.
A Happy Mom Life Means Learning To Embrace The Chaos
We can see this as a total mom curse: We can never have a bad day or a day to be sick, wah wah wahhhhhh! It’s just so hard and demanding to be a mom! Why are these people so obsessed with me?? Wahhhhh!! OR we can see the incredible influence we have in our family unit and step into that power. The point isn’t not to be the center of your family’s universe anymore, but to embrace it with grace, peace, and a whole lotta deliberate attention on yourself.
Need a break from the chaos of mom life? Try my quick Meditation for Moms – a 14-minute rest-stop on the Chaos Super Highway!