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As a child, I loved playing with little Matchbox cars. Our family was really close to neighbors that lived across the street, and when my dad was late coming home from work, my sister and I would go over and play with their son, who had a TON of Matchboxes. Settled down outside, we would make roads and villages and landscapes among the roots of a tree that were partly above-ground. It was great fun!
On rainy or cold days, however, we had to stay inside. And then we pulled out the coloring books and crayons… Gah! How I loved that, too. Such were the activities that many of my childhood memories centered around.
I don’t know what it was about coloring books. Maybe it was the total freedom we had to color people’s skin purple, or tree trunks a bold orange, or the sky a vivid green. Most of the time, however, I worked hard to stay in the lines (my decision, of course: even at a young age, I was not a fan of clutter or chaos…) and keep my color choices as realistic as possible.
As a young mom, I was thrilled when my kids became old enough to keep those waxy shading sticks out of their mouths, and more or less use them to splash color on paper, whether they had designs on them or not. I used it as an excuse to sit at their little tables and get carried away once again to my youth.
So I “get” this current trend of adult coloring books; although I do have to admit we could all use a better term. “Adult coloring books” sounds faintly off-color (so to speak), and always causes me to wonder if we’re all on the same page, so to speak, whether it’s the topic of conversation or a Google search. But take a look for "grown-up coloring books" and you'll definitely hit gold 😉
I used to have a friend who read aloud to her kids every day. I did, too, so I thought it was sweet. But what did bug me was how her kids were always doing something while listening: playing Legos, using modeling clay or drawing or coloring with crayons or markers… Many, many years later (as in a few weeks ago!), however, I was listening to the radio and heard a story relating some research to this very phenomenon… Apparently, there is good science behind “active listening” (and yes, that is a scientific term…).
How coloring helps moms
Studies show that coloring is a pretty healthy activity. It helps us to focus…which helps us to listen...which helps us to learn. More specifically:
- studies have shown that focusing on filling in shapes on a page forces the mind to pay attention to the present;
- pencils (as opposed to crayons) are more precise and encourage sharper focus;
- the act of coloring releases chemicals in your body that relieve stress and anxiety;
- it also stimulates the senses and enhances a sense of creativity;
- because it involves both vision and fine motor skills, it enhances coordination
So basically, momma, coloring is good for you, too!
As a matter of fact, it’s a great gadget to keep in your arsenal of self-care tools! In this age of minute-long attention spans, fairly constant sensory bombardment, and unheard-of stress levels pulling out the coloring book and crayons or colored pencils enables you to immediately enjoy the physical effects mentioned above.
Plus, don't you sometimes just wanna feel like a kid again?
There is a wide range of coloring books available, whether you’re looking to de-stress, relax, clear your head or be inspired.
Of course, if you’re out and about, Barnes & Nobles, Books-a-Million, and almost any bookstore have them, and if you’re an online shopper, Amazon has a slew of them, too! (Just be careful how you search - you might not want to use the term "adult coloring books"...just sayin') And, if you just want to test the waters...ColorMom offers a few free designs that you can download and try for yourself, and Dover Publication, that old favorite, also has a ton of coloring books in all different types and topics.
Whether or not this idea really floats your boat, what IS important is this: Moms, please take care of yourselves! Take time every day to do the things that will recharge and rejuvenate you…that will give you rest and keep your attitude positive…that will help you be the best wife and mom and YOU that you can be!
(And if music is more your thing, do "play through" our playlist of songs that inspire and encourage!)