Tips and tricks. Hacks. Hints. All suggestions designed to make our lives as moms a little easier.
My most-used tip during the pandemic?
Connect with your family history. Call your grandpa and ask questions. Preserve your memories on social media. Marco Polo and share childhood memories. Write down your struggles, your triumphs, and your laughs from 2020. Read your ancestor’s stories. Do whatever connects you and brings happiness to your life. Lean into the parts of family history that you need in your life right now.
Seems cruel to add another item to our already busy lives, though, right? As moms we are homeschooling/online schooling/supporting in-person schooling, working from home, cleaning the home, gauging our family’s mental health, struggling with our own mental health, cultivating the religious atmosphere in our homes, finding time to exercise, etc, etc. – it’s A LOT!
But what if I told you that learning and sharing your family history was more than a to-do list item that will make you feel guilty if you don’t get around to it? What if I told you family history can actually be a life preserver that pulls your family through these troubled times? What if I told you that scientific research supports the idea that thinking of our ancestors can actually make us smarter and knowing/sharing our ancestors’ stories can boost our resilience and mental health?
“Normally, our ancestors managed to overcome a multitude of personal and society problems, such as severe illnesses, wars, loss of loved ones or severe economic declines,” the researchers said in this article about their 2010 study. “So, when we think about them, we are reminded that humans who are genetically similar to us can successfully overcome a multitude of problems and adversities.”
Because Nancy Maria chose to rise up when times were hard, perhaps I can, too.
Because Hannah wrote letters and poetry to express her feelings and what was going on in the world, I know I may find solace there, too.
Because Carolyn looked for the silver lining, I see it, too.
Because Ada found joy through music, I can turn to it, too.
Because Ottilie thought of those less fortunate in the midst of her own trials, I am inspired to do the same.
My ancestors’ lives are as imperfect as my own. They had successes and sorrows. But because of them – I am here! And just as important – my children are here, too. I am grateful that I can help my children be stronger, smarter, and more resilient through knowing and thinking about their ancestors. We can learn from their mistakes and be inspired by their successes.
So how can we learn these stories and reap the benefits of family history? Lean into the small and simple! My friends and I created a Family History Idea Generator that you can have fun with here: https://connections-experiment.com/ideas/. It is full of 5-minute ideas that will help you connect with family, past and present. Give them a try and see how you feel!