Recently I had to ask Crew 7 times to put on his shoes. This was just one small example of how my days seemed to be going lately, so I taught a refresher course on ‘Mom’s Energy’ for Family Night. I wanted my children to understand that moms have a limited supply of energy, but the kids can help conserve that energy too.
I filled a mason jar with floral rocks from the Dollar Store and labeled the jar “Mom’s Energy”.
We first talked about my responsibilities for my energy. Mom needs to get enough sleep, eat well, exercise, and not over commit myself so that I have sufficient energy for mothering (being in charge of Teacher Appreciation Week for the whole school was not helping matters.)
One of my favorite lines from a talk by Julie Beck says, “…wise mothers who know are selective about their own activities and involvement to conserve their limited strength in order to maximize their influence where it matters most.” It is my job to keep my energy jar as full as possible so I can be the best mom possible.
Next we talked about the children’s contributions to mom’s energy. I removed rocks as we discussed basic tasks that moms do like cooking, cleaning, driving, etc. This energy lost was expected. I took out even more rocks as we discussed the extra energy drains like messes, tantrums, fights, complaining and disobedience. These acts are what deplete the energy supply. Soon my jar was empty. Mom’s energy was gone.
We discussed ways that the kids could replenish and conserve mom’s energy like using polite words and doing chores without being asked. The kids would state their ideas and then put rocks back into my jar. The kids could really see their part in mom’s overall energy level.
We filled the jar back up and started again. I recounted the day we had (it was actually a really good day, so I could use their examples.) The kids did chores quickly, they played happily together, and they were helpful. Energy was still lost because that is life, but since the kids had been so helpful, they could see that I had energy (and rocks) left today.
And because I had energy left, we ended Family Night playing/jumping on the tramp altogether. They saw that good stuff happens when mom has energy. It is a win/win situation for everyone.