Day 4 was to ‘create one family ritual today’. It took me the whole day to think of something I’d like to see incorporated into our days, something meaningful, something I did not just pick out because I had to pick something. I decided on meal time blessings. It has been a while since we said ‘grace’ or blessed our meals together. Hectic-ness, people eating at different times and in different spaces just changed things. But I’d love to see us take that time again, a little pause before meals, to be thankful. I used several internet resources to get short, meaningful, poetic prayers, including many drawn from a scouting reference.
I printed them up on 4×6 index card so that we can read, memorize and use these to punctuate our day with thanksgiving and reflection.
Day 5 was to remind yourself, when your kids ‘push your buttons’ (if you don’t know what that means, maybe you don’t need the Mommy Challenge!) that they are just kids.
Again, I used my inner arm to note that.
I was really proud of myself, it was going so well – until dinnertime. Mikey & Gavin sat at the island eating, and laughing hysterically – at nothing! They were carrying on so much that I wanted to knock their heads together and scream “stop it!” So I paused for a few moments and thought about what they were doing. It was annoying, it was beyond silly, it was unnecessay – but it really was harmless and quite frankly – “they are only kids”. I refrained, and it passed in about 4 minutes. I don’t think the particular incident held any significance, but the practice of being able to stand back and assess the situation was what was important. One situation, on one day of the challenge is not what is going to change me. It will be practicing this each time I feel that ‘cut it out!’ feeling emerging.
Day 6 asked me to be truly present when interacting with my children. It required turning away from my ‘doing’ and start ‘being’. I thought I was very good at this. But as I noted throughout the day, what I am really good at is pretending/looking like I am attending to them. One time Gavin came to me to tell about winning Halo and providing me with a long narrative of the ending. I realized that I was still washing dishes, nodding and affiming, but not really listening. I dried my hands, and tried it Sigrid’s way. I made eye contact (ever wonder why kids’ eye contact is lacking – maybe we are setting really bad examples – take note of that in your day) and listened to what he was really saying. It made a difference in that moment and challenged my habits. There were many more incidents, including stopping my ‘doing’ altogether. Instead of setting Sean up with his toys only to go back to ‘my’ stuff, I stayed and played. It was time well-spent.
Upcoming challenges involve Love, Intuition, and Negativity.