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I want to tell you a story. I spent most of my life in a hurry. I lived with a plate so full that I had a hard time balancing it all. Straight up, I was doing too much. I was stressed out and spread thin. 

Then I had kids. And there’s something about being a mother in the year 2017 that makes us feel like we need to do everything and be everywhere. I spent the early days of motherhood doing just that: hurrying, hustling, and stressing.

But then one day, I stopped. I started to do less. I found calm. And I am not going back.

I would love to say that it was yoga, mindfulness, or some other enlightened activity that brought about my sudden “slow down.” But it wasn’t. It was actually much more expensive than that.

I wrecked a car. Three times. I was in a hurry. 

The final incident was a brush with the iron gate in my driveway. It was my husband’s car. I was terrified to see his face when he came home from work. But to my surprise, he wasn’t angry.

He was concerned.

He told me words I had heard a million times before, “you need to slow down.” But somehow they carried more weight this time. Because as a mother, it is my job to set an example for my children.

You know the thing about kids? They are little sponges. They soak up everything from us. The words we say, the attitude we have, and the stress that we carry. 

I am my children’s first teacher, and for them–I want calm.

I am not teaching calm when I am living life in a rushed, chaotic frenzy. 

I am not teaching calm when my train of thought is hauling a million pounds of freight on any given day.

I have to live it if I want to teach it. But as a mother of small children, calm isn’t just going to spontaneously happen to me. I have to go after it and pursue it. So I gave up the chaos of motherhood in search of calm. Slowly I started to do unpack the overwhelm that I had spent years accumulating.

These days I am doing less and I am confident it is the best thing for my family. By doing less of these five things, I have found the calm that I want for my children.

Worrying

As a mother, worry is the thief of joy. If I reflect back on times in my life where I have been overcome with worry–I can tell you that the worry overshadowed joy. When I struggled through two miscarriages, I worried my way through a subsequent healthy pregnancy. The worry stole my joy.When my first child was a late walker, I worried my way through several months of his sweet young life. The worry stole my joy. 

But not anymore. I want to soak up every moment of joy with my family. #aintnobodygottimeforthat.

Hustling

My hustlin’ days are over. I have honed my skills in getting my kids to cooperate and on the days they don’t, I hone my deep breathing skills. I have scaled back our schedules so we don’t have places to be every.moment.of.the.day. Now I have more time to authentically connect with my husband and children.

I know that stress and anxiety are an epidemic in the childhood of today. Therefore, I provide my children with the rest they deserve to grow and develop.

Hovering

My kids are learning how to fall. My job is to kiss the boo boos, not prevent them. When I take ten steps back from the monkey bars, my body language is telling my kid, “you got this”. My children are capable and my actions communicate that to them. I will let them fall so they can learn how to get back up and try again.

As a mother, there is so much fear commingled with love. Let’s learn to face it head on and teach our children to do the same.

Buying

I quit filling our house with stuff. I used to have a closet full of clothes I never wore. My kids had toys they never touched. But I decided that I want more for my family. I want us to be conscious consumers who protect our home and credit cards against the accumulation that pervades today’s society.

When my kids don’t have everything their friends have, they will to learn how to overcome envy rather than to fall victim to it.

Mediating

I can’t solve all their battles. Therefore, I won’t rob my children of the opportunity to practice doing it for themselves. I love watching my kids problem solve and work through disagreements with each other. I love seeing how capable they are without me sticking my nose into their business.

These days, I am doing less. I gave up the battle of the “what-ifs” and the “to-dos.” I traded them for a calm life that is infectious in the best kind of way, and I am giving you the permission to do the same.

What can you do less of for the betterment of your family?

This post was originally published at www.simplefamilies.com

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Denaye Barahona

Denaye is a Mother and a Wife. She and her family currently live in Dallas, Texas. Denaye has a personal and professional passion for helping women thrive in motherhood. Her Ph.D. is in Child Development and she isalso a Clinical Social Worker with a specialty in Child and Family Practice. Denaye followed that up with a Post-Grad Certificate in Behavior Analysis of Children. She has spent much of her career working with parents who deal with challenging behavior in children–whether it be eating, sleeping, screaming, cussing or hitting. She advocates for taking a holistic approach to helping the whole family stay well: physical, emotional, and relational. That means living well by developing a healthy relationship with yourself, your family, and your home. You can follow Denaye at www.simplefamilies.com.

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