Last year about this time, I wrote a post (read it here) about how I realized that I needed to make some changes in the way I mother. I noticed that my daughter was picking up on my bad habits - short temper, grumpiness etc. Haha - my true personality! As with most things these changes are not easy. But I AM determined to grow - with a constant audience of two little people. As a result, this year has been a lot different. Here is where I am now.
1. I am learning to give thanks - a lot. Here's why. A friend once told me that gratitude is one of the most powerful things we can do to bring positive energy into our day. There are a lot of times in my day when I'm pulling my 22 month old down from standing ON TOP of her play kitchen set (for the 5th time in 10 minutes - SERIOUSLY), I've cut off part of my fingernail with my potato peeler, I'm tripping over the toys that are EVERYWHERE (so I can't even reach the floor to sweep it), my oldest daughter's dropped a book on top of my bare foot and it's swollen and throbbing and both girls are shrieking at me for some reason (usually not happily). In these moments, I just want my day to be over so I can go to sleep. (btw, I don't actually give in to this fantasy...) But, so much for enjoying my kids while I'm home with them. *Wince.*
My goal: In these moments - STOP and say "Thanks" - that I have a toddler to rescue, a finger to cut, a floor to fall on, a foot to hurt and two little girls who think I can solve all their problems.
It really does work - just not always in that second. First, I have to fight the panic rising in my mind that tells me I totally STINK at doing this and sometimes, I don't FEEL the thankfulness till I'm lying in bed snuggling two little cuties to sleep. Well, what can I say - it's a work in progress!
2. I am learning to smile and say "yes" as much as possible to my babies (and - to my husband ;). If I need to finish something before I focus on them, I try to say, "That sounds great! I will be able to do that in ____ minutes." OR, "AAAAAHHHH!!!! Can you wait just ONE minute?!" (Wait, did I just type that "out loud"? Oops...) Thankfully, my oldest is getting better at waiting.
3. I am learning to forgive myself when things aren't perfect. There are just going to be times when things are to be out of place for a few hours (or a few days). I can either choose to lose my cool because I have "failed" to keep it perfect or just take a deep breath and focus on the most important thing - the PEOPLE living in the imperfect space. Some days I'm better at this than others.
4. I am learning to be IN THE MOMENT. This eliminates my inclination to beat myself up for what I didn't accomplish and keeps me from stressing about whatever I still need to do. See how perfectly that works? Theoretically.
5. I back to making time for myself on a regular basis. Every week, I get away from everyone in my house for at least a few hours. Sometimes, I need to be alone with my thoughts and other times, I hang out with girlfriends. There are still times when I find it hard to extract myself from a baby who is crying, "I want to hold you!!!!!" while tears streak down her face. But, I hug and kiss them - and then leave them in my husband's loving and capable hands. I know I need to get that time alone if I hope to implement my plant to be grateful and smile and say things like, "Yes! What a great idea!" Or - you know - just maintain my sanity.
My goal in learning these things can be summed up in one word. Happiness. I want to be in the moment I'm in and enjoy it. I wish the same for you!