#4 was asked to complete an all-about-me poster for her teacher to display during #4's birthday week. One section of the poster asked #4 to include a picture and short description of her hero. I looked to find that she had written the following:
"My mom is my hero because she always makes sure that I am safe. She helps me. She cooks good dinners for me."
I've never even hoped to be someone's hero! To find out that my child thinks of me as such made me so very happy!
Rather than drawing a picture of me on the poster, #4 wanted to snap a photo before school so I could have it printed by the time she got home and got back to work on the poster. With my new heroine status, I figured my appearance should live up to the title. When I told #4 my idea for the photo, she blushed and reminded me that the picture would be hanging up for her whole class to see.
"I know!" I replied. "It will be awesome!"
"It will be too embarrassing," she answered with a nervous laugh.
I reminded her that she thought the speech I helped her write last year for her campaign, to be Class Representative in the student government, would turn into a huge embarrassment. Something about mixing opera, rap, and an English accent made her nervous. When she couldn't come up with a catchier idea, though, she decided to practice the lines. After a few days she felt more--not completely, but more--comfortable with the idea of singing in her speech, and she eventually mustered the courage to belt it out in front of her whole class. They laughed and loved it, and she was voted in!
*Note about politics: I've learned that a show of being clever and fun can win votes. The pattern held as true for last year's third graders as it did for the nation.*
*Note from my past: In the beginning of my elementary-school years, I sort of had a reputation as the class clown. Not that I was super disruptive (though I do remember my name being on the board a lot with check marks next to it that indicated I talked out of turn too often), but I could usually come up with a comment or physical humor (different than bodily humor) that would make others laugh. That part of me sort of faded after fourth grade and I became quite shy outwardly, keeping my humor to use only with my close friends and family. As a young mother, I one day had the epiphany that my shyness was cutting me off from potential friendships and other opportunities, and I decided to overcome it. As a mother of school-age children, I have discovered that I am determined to not let them slip into shyness without them understanding that it is a choice they are making. Fortunately, I seem to have given birth to a bunch of extroverts. Sometimes it's annoying; but for the most part, Kent and I are pleased at how friendly, outgoing, and cool our kids are. They are each cooler than we ever were/are. #4, though, is the child who is most likely to follow in my footsteps. I don't mind that she is quiet. I just want her to know that it's okay to be fun and that people actually like a little silliness in a person.*
Once she recalled how well last year's crazy speech went over with her peers, #4 gave in and let me run to get my costume for the picture.
I wish you could see my cape and crazy hair a little better. #4 had been hesitant about the super hero outfit idea, but once she saw the pink eye mask, she was all in. (It was an added bonus in her mind that my mask and shirt coordinated.) When I let her add the yellow power marks, she traded fear of embarrassment for excitement!
I've recently put my life in better order than it's probably been since I became a mom 1 1/2 decades ago. I've worked out my schedule to contain everything that is important for me and everything I've committed to do for others. I have personal time to communicate with Heavenly Father, and to exercise my mind and body. I have time to care for my marriage, my family and home. I have time to write and rest and read and carry on friendships. It is so empowering for me to know that I HAVE TIME! All the busy-ness of my life is still here, but it's no longer overwhelming. I have found that my stress level has gone down as my brain can finally relax and know that everything it's been worrying about will be seen to. I've implemented strategies with my nutrition, my smartphone, Google Calendar, and IQTELL's productivity app to keep things running as smoothly as possible. That's not to say that my schedule doesn't get thrown off every day--I'm already an hour behind as I write this--but at least I'm now choosing what to neglect in my schedule rather than wondering and thinking about the future work that is piling up when I turn my attention away from my original plans.
To sum up the effects of turning my life over to routine and electronic reminders, I can say that I am more happy and feel more free than I have in years!
True, it helps that all my kids are in school and my body and time are mine again for six hours each day. But I'd guess that a lot of other adults with school-age children or no children at home still live in the stress and worry that I carried around only a few weeks ago.
This new-found sense of fulfillment led me to the idea that I might like being a life coach. I could help people organize their lives, be a person to answer to as they worked on goals, and give them pep talks as they aim for more willpower and self-control. Business owners hire consultants to help them manage their companies. Why not see if people would pay me to help them manage their lives?
For two days I nourished thoughts of how fun it would be to be a life coach. I would love to help others swap stress and pressure for calm and contentedness.
Then I took a hard look at my calendar. This screen shot was last week's schedule, after I cut out the activities that would have required me to be in two places at once. Basically, I have some free time from 10:30 p.m. until 6:00 a.m., but that's only because I didn't create time blocks for my sleep.
That's when reality took over: I'm already a life coach for five awesome people who depend on me less to tell them when to wash their hands and more to guide them into adulthood...which is approaching way too quickly. I guess I can wait until they are grown to try meddling with anyone else!