Recently we took the children to see “Night at the Museum, Battle of the Smithsonian”. It was a very good movie, I laughed as much as the kids, but I think the real story line of this kid’s movie was meant for the parents. The plot: Larry Daley enjoyed his job at the museum, but when a better money offer came along he naturally took it as any parent would. Amelia Earhart finally tells him that life is about going on adventures and having fun. It’s a hard concept for Larry to swallow.
I walked away from that movie really thinking about my life. Am I having fun? Or am I just drudging along? Have I taken my responsibilities too far? Why do I expect so much from myself as a mother and wife? What exactly am I teaching my children (since we all know they learn from what we do and not what we say)?
Just to see if it was only me in this state, I asked some of my friends what fun they (not their kids or their family, but they specifically as women) had recently. Most of them didn’t have an answer and frankly didn’t understand the question. Blank looks all the way around. But when I asked, “What fun did you have before you were married or had kids?” the smiles broke out and the stories started rolling off their tongues. When I asked why there’s such a huge discrepancy they replied, “Well, I’m a mom.” Or “I’m married now.” As if those answers should just explain everything and I was stupid for even asking.
Do you think there is a connection to our country’s high divorce rate, depression among mothers, and the answers I received to my questions? Hell yes!!! Today’s pressure felt by women to keep a beautiful home, prepare healthy meals, spend quality time with our children, bring home a paycheck, manage our careers, emotionally support and encourage our husbands to be all they can be, deliver great and regular sex, and if your children have special needs you can add in 180 thousand more items to your checklist of tasks and worries, is astronomical. Mama Gena (Regena Thomashauer) is right when she says “The horror is that we think we can do it all.”
Well, the responsibilities are not going to end, but the fun shouldn’t either. I can hear you screaming “And when exactly am I supposed to squeeze that into my over-packed schedule?” Here’s the ugly truth: We made our prison, so we are responsible for tearing it down. You are the only one who controls your life. Go against the norm and ask for help!
We need to start having some fun every single day. We need a village to rely on. We need a community of friends to brag how great we are to, to celebrate what is good in our lives, to go out with, to help us see the potential and positive in the situations that arise, to trade services with. We need to make ourselves the top priority without us wearing the “selfish” label like a scarlet letter. We need to worship ourselves for how fabulous we are!
Fun is serious stuff. Let’s get down to business. Here are 4 fun projects for the week:
1. Start gathering your friends. They won’t all be living next door to you, but I’m guessing you have a phone, a computer, or a way to write a letter on paper (remember that forgotten art?). Important note: Not everyone you know gets to be in your cherished group. There will be some who are just negative souls (glass is always ½ empty) or some who are jealous that you are having so much fun. Our culture doesn’t think too highly of truly happy women so be courageous and only keep those in your group that are truly supportive.
2. Pursue pleasure. If it’s not fun don’t do it. If it has to be done then make a game of it. Stop solving problems. Use your wonderful gift of creativity and communication within your group of friends to find the fun…solutions will arise when your mind is relaxed.
3. Give up your right to be angry. So what if you are right, is that making you feel better? Being right just means you fail to see the situation from any other point of view. Keeping your anger simmering on the burner will scorch and kill your inner soul. That’s quite a price to pay to be self-righteous.
4. Look at yourself in the mirror each day and tell yourself how much you love you. Find specific things you can complement yourself on. I personally love my feet. I think they are beautiful so I make sure they are decorated with pretty polish. Tell yourself aloud how sexy you are. Do something out of your usual routine that brightens your look – wear a bright shirt, dye your hair, wear heels, throw on some lingerie. Let your sexiness ooze out of you! And by golly, SMILE!!
I understand that it will be very hard for many of us to do those 4 tasks. We are so ingrained to downplay and sacrifice ourselves that we don’t even recognize it’s being done. We live with a constant low vibration of depression that fun will have to be consciously thought of, scheduled, and acted upon until we get used to it again. It’s going to take practice. And some days will be harder. But I know you can do it! You are smart, sexy, and extremely capable. The whole world is yours if you step out of your box. Amelia is right that life is an adventure and we should be having fun.
Here’s to your pleasure week!!!
If you want to know more about Regena Thomashauer “Mama Gena” and her school of Womanly Arts in NYC, you can look at her website www.mamagenas.com. Her classes are for women to find the pleasure in themselves and she also has a class “Giving it Up to Men” for the men in your life. She has books you can buy or check out from the library if you can’t make it up to New York.