Like many of you, before becoming a mom I was a part of corporate America. A place where nearly everything you do is scrutinized. Every “I” is dotted and every “T” is crossed. It is expected that you meet deadlines, increase productivity, and prove your worth to the company you work for by going above and beyond your job description. You’re expected to look put together, keep a pleasant attitude, and take every task that is handed to you very seriously.
And then I made the decision to stay at home with our babies, and in the blink of an eye, was thrust into a very different world entirely. In this magical world where I get to spend every day raising my kids and watching them grow, there are no dotted “I”s and crossed “T”s. And the two little people who mess up so many of my well thought-out plans have also taught me… to STOP taking myself so seriously.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
1. I WILL ALWAYS BE 15 MINUTES LATE.
I will basically be 15 minutes late to nearly everything I commit to. And you know what? It’s OK. In those crazy moments rushing around getting our ENTIRE LIFE packed into the car for just one play date, instead of freaking out and screaming at my kids to “HURRY UP! GET IN THE CAR!” I decide that ultimately, this is not a big deal. My friends are nice people, who won’t disown us for not being on time. It’s not worth yelling at my kids and making them upset…just to be prompt.
2. MAKE A JOKE AFTER DISCIPLINE.
After I carry out any necessary discipline with my kids, I try to quickly move on, crack a joke, or make them laugh. I know all too well what it’s like to have a parent stay angry for long periods of time after bad behavior, and believe that it can cause deep shame and resentment. So instead of acting like it’s the end of the world when they mess up (because it’s NOT), I want them to know that they are deeply loved and accepted, regardless of what they do.
3. MY HOUSE MAY NEVER BE CLEAN AGAIN.
Except for the 30 minutes after I’ve finished cleaning, that is. This seriously used to drive me so crazy. But then I bought these dish towels that say ‘Please excuse the mess, the children are making memories.’ And every time I read them, I breathe a little easier, knowing that one day when my kids are older, we can keep things tidier. For now, it’s not worth being miserable day in and day out.
4. FOOD JUST ISN’T A BIG DEAL.
I’ve seen parents have long arguments with their children about food. Although there are times I desperately try to convince my kids to eat what’s on their plate, I decided early on that I wouldn’t let food be a big deal in our home. You know why? Because there are so many other issues that actually ARE a big deal. Instead, I think mealtime should be a happy experience. If they don’t try something? Bummer for them – they are missing out!
5. DANCE PARTIES MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER.
Now this one I have to credit to my hubby, but one day a few weeks ago, he started turning on music about once a day, and we have a family dance party! It is SO AWESOME! We laugh, jump around, get some endorphins going, and just have fun with each other. I mean, life is meant to be enjoyed, isn’t it?
So what about you, fellow momma? What ways can you start looking at life a little less seriously; choosing to see the things that cause you stress and anxiety in a different light? I hope in the process you find what I did…some more JOY, some more laughs, and a FULL HEART as you focus on the amazing gifts we’ve been blessed with, and shrug off the rest.