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Modern Moms Need to Chill Out

Modern Moms Need To Chill OutI think it’s pretty safe to say that being a mom has never been an easy job. And while most modern moms no longer have to forage for food and protect their children from wild animals, modern parenting isn’t without its challenges. Our kids are consuming media and using technology at a rate that we couldn’t have dreamed of when we were young. With almost any bit of information we want available right at our fingertips, it can be easy to become overwhelmed when trying to educate yourself and make informed decisions. We deal daily with more distractions and higher expectations.

I think that modern moms, more than any other time in history, feel the need to make things perfect I’m guilty of getting bogged down with the Pinterest-perfect lifestyle. But, 9 times out of 10, rather than inspire me, it stresses me out and makes me feel like I’m not good enough. Visit any parenting site and you’ll find thousands of parents worrying about things obsessively – and I think… it’s stressing us all out!

So in the face of these challenges (and let me say right here, I’m using the word “challenges” loosely. There are many more important and real challenges in the world than the fact that Pinterest sometimes makes me feel bad about myself) let’s all agree to chill out a bit, okay?

We only see everyone else’s highlight reels.

Social media is great. I can keep in touch with distant family members, quickly find out about news that’s important to me, and it’s fun! But whether we’re aware of it or not, we’re all choosing what parts of our lives we share online. And most of the time, we’re not going to talk about the huge fight we’re in with our spouse or show a picture of our filthy bathroom.

All the same, even though we know we’re not all sharing our “real” lives, we still compare our lives to everyone else’s online lives. When we see that Susie has a perfect house and takes five vacations a year and does yoga every day, we start to feel bad that we don’t have those things, too. Even though we know, rationally, that Susie’s life can’t possible be perfect, because no one’s is!

So can we all agree to comment and like and share, all the while remembering that we all have our own version of a filthy bathroom and infuriating spouses?

We spend way too much time on the internet.

This is one of the biggest challenges for me. I’m constantly trying to weed out, from all of the many, MANY, issues/causes/schools of thought/research papers, the things that are important for my family and me.

Do my kids eat too much red dye 40? Chicken nuggets are a staple at our house, but is it even real meat? I let them cry it out when they were babies – are they going to hate me forever? Should I be reading with them more? But here’s what I’m starting to realize. Just because something is on the Internet – even if it’s gone viral, even if there’s some study supporting a certain school of thought, EVEN IF the “experts” have weighed in – that doesn’t mean that it should be something I spend time and energy on.

My kids don’t have a bad reaction to red dye – so I don’t stress about it. I did let them cry it out – but they seem to like me okay and are champion sleepers, so I’m not going to stress about that either. But reading and education is super important to me – so I do my research and make reading a priority in our household.

We rode in the back of cars without car seats or seatbelts and survived, right?

Look, I know this isn’t the safest, or even most logical argument, but hear me out. Yes, we’re probably lucky to have survived not wearing a bicycle helmet or a seatbelt and running around our neighborhoods at all hours of the day and night during summer break. (Obviously, I’m not making the argument that we ignore modern advances in safety.)

What I am saying, however, is that maybe we can take a page from our parents’ books and relax, just a little bit. We cannot control every single scary thing that might happen to our kids. We can try, but it’s impossible. So do we spend way too much time stressing ourselves out trying to protect them from every possible dangerous scenario? I think so. And I can’t help but wonder what we’re teaching our kids. Are they learning to be anxious about every little danger lurking around every corner? Isn’t it an important life lesson to learn that you’re going to bump your head and scrape your knee and occasionally have to deal with a bully?

Of course if given the choice, I would save my kids from any and every hurt life can throw at them. But let’s face it, life doesn’t work that way. I also need to teach them coping skills and help them understand that they’re strong and brave and can face whatever life throws at them.

So unplug from technology, unwind, and really, don’t sweat the small stuff.

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