Parenting: Busy as a Bee
Posted on March 7, 2018
I was sitting outdoors last weekend, and a bee caught my attention. As I saw it buzzing from flower to flower, I couldn’t help but wonder what it must be like to be a bee. Gathering pollen from one flower and dropping it to the next, bees seem to be on a mission to get the job done. I had a question, however, “Is the job ever done?’
That reminded me of the tasks that we take on in the name of parenting: drop-offs and pick-ups, groceries, school projects, laundry, after-school activities, and dinner prep. Moving from one task to another, we are as busy as bees—often not even completing what we started out to do. Any free time that we have we gladly spend in the company of our friends on social media. And that often leads us to ponder how others are doing with a “lucky them” or “why not me?” train of thought.
Along with all the tasks on our agenda, according to a report by Common Sense Media, we, the parents of children 8-18, are spending an average of nine hours on screen time. Even a conservative 4-5 hours on our devices means we must be dropping a lot of things off our to-do lists. We are no longer as busy as bees… we are actually busier!
Eventually, the kids come home from school. And all those tasks that we didn’t get to during the day are added to unexpected occurrences—a homework assignment, a sick kid, sibling wars, and so on. Where does that leave us? Stressed, anxious, impatient, intolerant, angry … basically with a short fuse triggered by the slightest normal kid behavior. Our out-of-control feelings then spin off into a need to control our children. After all, they should comply and listen and respect our wishes because we are their parents. We also claim that whatever we do, we do for their own good, because we are their caretakers, guardians, stewards, well-wishers and any other authoritative description we can think of.
Parents, it’s time to rethink this. It’s time to start being really responsible by looking carefully at how we are dumping our emotional overload onto our kids. We know that we are all doing this in more than one way. The big question then is: How do I fix this? Where do I start? Well, If you’re honestly and authentically committed to changing things, I will start you off with three easy tips…
- Visit reoccurring battles and the time that they occur. If the trigger is starting homework or getting to bed on time, how do you show up at those times? Are you impatient, aggravated, feeling like you just had it? The emotion that you’re feeling is what the kids will mimic back to you in their behavior. So take a deep breath, self-regulate, shift your own energy, and then move to directing the kids.
Say you’ve already spent a week successfully redirecting your own energy and you’ve been showing up consciously, mindfully, authentically, calm, and patient … and yet your child won’t brush his or her teeth, or whatever. Well, habits take as long to break as they take to make. So give it that time. And remember: Your child will mirror your behavior. So be patient and believe in yourself and your child.
- Take ownership of how you show up: There will be times when you are tired, overwhelmed, and beaten. Recognize that; accept it. Stop buzzing like a bee and take some time to feed your soul. Honor yourself and your existence. You are not supposed to experience life on a hamster wheel. Stop and smell the roses. Be silent and allow your inner chaos to settle and move through your body. That should take only 90 seconds if you break the cycle of hitting repeat on your repetitive thoughts. Remind yourself that ….
- You don’t have to parent, you get to parent! Focus your awareness and attention on this truth every single day. What throws us onto the hamster wheel— besides trying to get things done in a time crunch—is our attitude, our complaints, our feeling that something is missing. Life is abundant, there is plenty of money, happiness, joy, and, believe it or not – even time to go around! We are just focusing on the wrong attitude. And, as we know, anything that we put our attention on long enough becomes our reality. That’s what shows up in our life. Parenting is a unique gift of growth. It’s an invitation for us to learn more about ourselves and how we behave when we hit obstacles.
So take a moment and think about that when you are buzzing around as busy as a bee. We are not bees! We have been given the gift of human life to live to our fullest potential joyfully. How can we inspire our kids to use this gift if we don’t know how to harness it ourselves? We can either live our lives like busy worker bees or we can rewire ourselves and learn to be the still flower. We too can bloom every morning and blossom through our days. We owe this to ourselves and to our children.