Ask a mom what she wants for Mother’s Day, and you’re likely to get one of two answers: either she wants a fun family experience, or she wants some relaxing time by herself. Either a family fun day, or a spa day.
Those two answers seem opposite of one another: one mom wants quiet time, and the other wants quality time. One wants to be alone, the other wants to be with her spouse and kids. But the two answers aren’t really that different, if you look deeper. Both types of moms are asking for one thing: more meaning out of life.
When we all run around with the stressors of modern life hanging over our heads, we leave very little time to add meaning. Sure, we can find it in small moments, like reading bedtime stories, or once-a-month volunteer time. But in the rush of day-to-day living, stress often wins out over meaning in the battle of where we put our focus, time and attention.
The two polar opposite responses – one wanting more family time, one wanting more alone time – are in fact solutions to the same problem of not having enough meaningful moments in life.
I recently surveyed my readers, and I asked them the fill-in-the-blanks question “what would make your life easier or more enjoyable?” The top two answers were “relaxation/down time” and “time with friends and family.” (The #3 answer was along the lines of “fewer details/simplification”, just showing how much stress interferes with our life enjoyment.)
A Mom who wants quality family time doesn’t want just more hours with her family. She likely spends 18+ hours a day thinking about her spouse and kids! (even more during Science Fair season, right?) It’s not about more time, it’s about doing enjoyable things with that time. It’s about non-stressful time, where she doesn’t have to make anyone’s lunch or mediate a fight or use a plastic spoon to dig the last little chunk of stain stick out of the tube. It’s about building a meaningful memory, without stress getting in the way.
And a mom who wants quiet alone time doesn’t just want to be solitary. She is looking for space to hear herself think. She wants to hear the little voice in her head that reminds her of who she is outside of being a wife, mom, employee, daughter, sister, volunteer, boss, whatever. It’s about slowing down and remembering what’s really important to her.
When we let the stress and busy-ness of everyday life become our standard operating procedure, we don’t have a life with very much meaning. When life is one endless responsibility after the other, we don’t have a life with very much meaning. When peaceful, unstructured time (either by ourselves or with loved ones) is the best gift we can think of, we don’t have a life with very much meaning. What mom really wants for Mother’s Day this year is a little more meaning in her life. Can you find a bow big enough for that?
Article by Courtney Clark and originally posted here.