That’s what I kept thinking the other night. As I reflected on my day of homeschooling 3 tornadoes I cringed at my serious, harsh, controlling tone that ruled the day. I snapped at my oldest, scowled at my boy, and talked impatiently with my 3-year-old.
I used to be fun.
When I was a camp counselor, I was the most carefree mentor around. I was goofy, playful, warm, and I smiled more. I was a relaxed Sunday school teacher and I could work the room at any social gathering.
I thought for sure I would have this whole mom thing locked up. I thought I would have more fun with my kids. Why wouldn’t I when I had so much fun with everyone else?! What I didn’t account for was the effect of worry on my ability to relax.
Worry steals my fun. I stiffen up when I feel the need to control things. I get serious and tighten up mentally and emotionally. I have expectations of the mom and person I want to be. When I don’t live up to them, I worry that I’m letting everyone down, especially my kids. And that’s when I’m no fun.
Homeschooling is revealing new worries percolating in my mind. I feel the pressure to get everything done. I have windows of instruction available before I have to race them to writing class or home school group.
I worry that I’m doing them a disservice if we don’t get our work done, and clean something in the house, and get dinner done, and connect socially with someone, and meanwhile, all I can think is
I used to be fun.
So right now I’m working on one simple step to diffuse the “no fun bug” that lurks behind my worry.
I heard a wise woman encourage moms to simply smile at their kids and loved ones. It was a physical reminder to lighten up and enjoy the gifts God has given. I personally think it’s impossible to smile as I’m in the middle of another scowl…but it is helpful to smile at other points in the day.
Like when I give them breakfast – just a simple smile.
Or when I see my hubby walk in the door – stop and say hi, and smile.
Maybe when we’re in the middle of a lesson – look in their eyes and smile.
Smiling reminds me to stop and look at them. To remember that I’m not just driving through the day to get a task done; but I’m engaging precious souls most dear to me.
A simple smile can be therapeutic for you and the person at whom you smile…even if you don’t feel like it. According to research, your brain can’t tell the difference between a fake smile and a “real” one. Therefore it releases happy neurotransmitters regardless of real or fake.
There are a ton of other benefits to smiling (excerpted from here):
- Stimulates dopamine response and creation of endorphines (feel good neurotransmitters)
- Lowers stress hormone production
- Boosts immune function
- Improve physical endurance
It’s mind-boggling that our body experiences the aforementioned just from a smile. I wouldn’t mind a good helping of those benefits!
So I’m gonna get my smile on – and maybe I’ll even start to have some more fun 🙂