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Taking care of the glue of the family

November 8, 2009
By CATHY BROWNFIELD,Family Recovery Center

She is the glue that holds a family together. She is a nurturer by nature. She is compassionate, patient, a guiding star in the heavens of our personal, individual worlds. But is Mom taken care of?

The Child Study Group of East Liverpool has met monthly since 1941. They asked, "How can Mom get back control of her life when she and her children have so much going on in their lives?"

As I searched my files for seven or eight titles by direct reference I estimated that in the nearly 10 years I have been the Family Recovery Center publicist I have written a minimum of 500 articles. I work from my home and have many files. My search was unsuccessful, but all was not lost. A good writer knows her topic.

Is Mom a little STRESSED out?

Look at her life. What does one of her "average days look like?

I went to see my doctor. "I am tired all the time. I get out of bed tired! I think there must be something seriously wrong." He asked for a rundown of my "average" day. If you're a mom I don't have to run down the list for you. He asked a very interesting question. "And do you sit down, put your feet up and listen to your favorite music or read that book you've been dying to read?" "Who has that kind of time?" I asked.

Then he said something so profound and powerful. "If you don't take the time, you aren't going to be around to take care of all the things you're responsible for-OR THINK YOU ARE."

My eyes were opened. It was OK not to be perfect, to delegate and expect those delegated tasks to be completed and it was OK if I didn't get my entire to-do list done every day. It was OK to sit down and just be, just breathe. A Momism comes to mind: "Is it going to matter a hundred years from now?"

Attitude: Are you

where you want to be?

Another Momism pops up right off the bat. My mother, bless her, has always started her day off, as soon as her feet touch the floor, "Well, Lord, what wonderful adventure are we going to take today?" That's definitely the right attitude to set the pace for the entire day. When I hear someone say that a 30-second incident ruined their entire day I don't understand why anyone would let those 30 seconds ruin the other 86,370 seconds still left in the day!

Most mothers have probably asked themselves, "Why am I here? Why do I stay?" Love. Love is why we stay. Love is why we do this. Love is a healing thing and Moms have a lot of love to spread around this needy world.

Secrets to being happy

All of the things that make you uniquely you will be found inside of you. Strength, endurance, sense of humor, happinessthose kinds of things that you have to reach deep inside yourself and pull out and be true to yourself. Nobody can make you happy but you. Refer back to attitude. And teach this to your spouse/partner and children if they think you are responsible for their happiness.

It only takes a minute but

reaps so much: How

compliments and kind words help

When I delegate a task to my husband, bless him, he doesn't always jump on it right away. He likes to wait until I'm going to be away for hours. He doesn't say anything. He waits to see how long its going to take for me to notice and to compliment, praise or otherwise acknowledge what he's done. Or maybe it's just his way of thinking about me when I'm not where he is. Of course I appreciate the things he does that I ask, and I really appreciate when he just does things on his own initiative because it makes my job easier. The burning question: Does he appreciate the things I do to make his job easier? How goes it at your house?

Are you too busy?

My dad, bless him, died last March. At 82-years-old he got into mischief almost every day, mowing grass, raking leaves, climbing ladders, cleaning out rain gutters on the house. All the things he wasn't supposed to do because of his emphysema. When I walked through the door I could tell he'd been a bad boy. Generally, we would end up in the emergency room before the night was over.

"Dad," I would say, "why didn't you call me? I would have helped you. Or one of the boys (my brothers) or one of the grandchildren."

"I know how busy you are. I didn't want to bother you," he'd say. (What I wouldn't give to talk to him right now.)

I couldn't make him understand that I am always busy. He helped to make me this way. If he saw me "just" sitting and reading a book he would tell me, "Put that book down and go help your mother." So my hands are always busy and I tend to be a workaholic just like him. I will always have busyness because I don't like to just sit idle. Even just sitting I pick up crocheting or quilting, surf the Internet, sit with pen and paper in hand scribbling stories or character sketches. But I can push my business aside to tend to the other important priorities in my life: my family. There is a difference between being too busy to take care of your priorities and being too busy but pushing it all aside to love our families. It is a matter of priorities. What are your priorities?

Are you empowered?

Empowerment simply means you take responsibility for yourself, your thinking, your actions, your consequences. You are an intelligent human being who doesn't have to wait for someone else to tell you what to do. Teach this to your children, too. It may not be as easy as it sounds but gets easier with practice.

Burnout: Just can't

handle stress anymore.

This comes with trying to do too much. You have the same 24-hours each day that everyone else has. Are your goals realistic? You really don't want a break down. When you become numb, just rolling with the punches, it's time to make some changes. Mentally carry your 'plate' to the trash can, dump everything off the plate and begin again. This time, be selective about what you choose to put there. Priorities. Learning to say no takes practice, but for Mom's well-being she needs to know how to articulate, "No means no."

Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities. Though the agency is a substance abuse counseling agency, other issues like depression, self-esteem, risky behaviors and many others may contribute to substance abuse. FRC offers education, prevention and treatment programs that you might find helpful. Contact us at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, FRC is funded in part by United Way of Northern Columbiana County and Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.



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