resting face, dancing face

When your child becomes your teacher don’t expect the lesson to be an easy one.

We were halfway through the spring school holidays when I decided it was probably best to clean the table – I was getting tired of shifting books, paper and pencils to one end come meal time (every meal time). To be honest, I’m not overly bothered with this kind of tidying; it often bares reward in the form of funny pictures, phonetically spelt words and small insights into big imaginations. I could see that Che had been working on a rough sketch of a family tree and as I scanned the page and recognised the faces I noticed that everyone was smiling except me.

Straight to the heart.

So I asked him: “Why am I sad in the family tree?” Never one to want to upset me, he fumbled and made excuses before I stopped him and told him that I wanted to hear his truth. “Oh mum, it’s just that often you are thinking and frowning.”

And there it was, laid out in front of me, impossible to ignore: I’m thinking and frowning instead of talking and smiling.

I admit that these past few months have been full to the brim; juggling work with three children was never going to be easy. And more often than not I’m so caught up with the to-do list that runs through my mind that I’m not nearly as present and aware as I need to be. I’m not unhappy but I’m definitely not happy-go-lucky. But for goodness sake, I don’t want to be the frowning mum in our family tree, do I?! Regardless of my reasons and excuses, I don’t want my resting face to be a miserable one.

So over the past week I’ve been practising a little more self-awareness. I’ve been rubbing lavender oil on my jawline at night to prevent clenching in my sleep; Β I’m stopping myself mid-list and exhaling loudly (fulfilling the hippy cliche) and I’m raising and relaxing my eyebrows when I notice I’m furrowing my brow. And in true Justine Clarke style, I’m making a dancing face. Because what’s the point of yoga if it isn’t fun?

It’s time to lighten the mood.

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  • Kari
    Reply

    Thank you. I needed that.

  • Lanie L
    Reply

    my husband often comes to me and gently rubs in between my eyebrows when he notices it crinkled while i am concentrating/thinking/worrying. more than half the time i do not realise that i am even doing. and i don't want him and my children to think of me also in this state. thank you for sharing this, the pressures do find their way of creeping out of our minds and are reflected in our bodies despite our efforts to be strong, but it also gives us visual reminder (and perhaps a little warning) that we need a moment to breathe and relax and let it out before it all becomes too much to contain. thanks again for sharing your methods, i will certainly be adopting some for myself πŸ™‚

  • Lanie L
    Reply

    my husband often comes to me and gently rubs in between my eyebrows when he notices it crinkled while i am concentrating/thinking/worrying. more than half the time i do not realise that i am even doing. and i don't want him and my children to think of me also in this state. thank you for sharing this, the pressures do find their way of creeping out of our minds and are reflected in our bodies despite our efforts to be strong, but it also gives us visual reminder (and perhaps a little warning) that we need a moment to breathe and relax and let it out before it all becomes too much to contain. thanks again for sharing your methods, i will certainly be adopting some for myself πŸ™‚

  • Brandi
    Reply

    So true. My youngest daughter just asked me why I only sing to the baby now? Ouch. Perhaps I need to sing the dancing face song with her πŸ™‚

  • SimpleHappy
    Reply

    I keep a serie of memories documenting lessons learnt from my three-year-old son and your words "When your child becomes your teacher don't expect the lesson to be an easy one" are so on the spot with our recent experience… I too am trying to be resourceful in trying to clean my image πŸ™‚ A dancing face is definitely a good thing!

  • Reply

    Oh I worry I do that too – there's just so much being carried in my brain that I suspect it comes out in my face. Does the lavender oil work? I know I clench my jaw at night because I have the cracked teeth to show for it so I'm always interested in anything to relieve it πŸ™‚

  • Angela
    Reply

    A great reminder to us all. Thanks for sharing.

  • ellie
    Reply

    My 8.5yr old girl said a similar thing to me recently…. mum you've got the tired and stressed face on. Oh golly that stopped me in my tracks. Cause, while I know there's a lot of tired going on… I didn't realise I was showing the stress every day. Maybe we need more mirrors in our homes – though of course our children are our best mirrors aren't they!
    Dancing face – YAY!

  • Reply

    This made me catch my breath today, I'm sure that the stress of everyday lie often shows on my face. Thank you for a timely remainder Jodi xx

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