My Sweet R came home yesterday upset. She was having your typical elementary school frustrations with friends and disappointments. This isn’t super common, she loves school and overall has fantastic days. But yesterday was just one of those days. We all have them. On days like that, you just can’t seem to shake the frustrations. They seem to build on each other.
After cleaning up from dinner, I asked her if she’d like to join me on my nightly walk. Truthfully, it wasn’t really what I wanted to do. I look forward to my nightly walks, they bring me peace. It’s a time that I either listen to the hum of nature, my own thoughts or some podcast; whatever I’m feeling on that particular day. But I could feel that she would benefit from a nice walk where she could tell me all about her frustrations while moving her body. Literally moving the frustrations out of her little body.
And boy did she talk. I mean, if you know her, you’d already know that she’s a talker (she gets the gift of gab from her Dad). My goal of our walk was to teach her that there are healthy ways to let your frustrations out. Ways that don’t involve alcohol, drugs, social media, overeating, hiding…you pick your own destructive behavior.
My job, as a parent, is to attempt to teach my kids how to deal with their feelings. Which is hard because as an adult, I’m a work in progress at dealing with my own.
At the beginning of 2020, before the world took a turn that I never saw coming, I started a Gratitude practice. First thing in the morning, I would write down 3 things I was grateful for. It took practice to get into the routine, but I did it for 2 months (January – beginning of March). Somedays it was hard, but it became something that I looked forward to.
Then COVID hit and I lost the discipline of it. Life got hard and I stopped doing it. Honestly, I should have kept with it. It probably would have made the hard days better.
I got lost in life and so did my gratitude. Maybe, just maybe this was related.
To this day, I still haven’t picked it back up again…until today.
I had a rare 2 minutes to breathe this morning before Sweet R came down for breakfast. I quickly jotted down on a piece of paper, “Let’s Start Our Day Out Great! The 5 things I am most grateful for:” with the numbers 1-5 below it. I made one for myself as well and filled in 3 of them before she walked down, so she had an example to help her along. It was waiting for her at the breakfast table with a pen. She looked at me a little funny at first, but she humored me and filled it in. Using a pen is really cool at her age and I’m not a complete idiot in her book quite yet.
This was my attempt to start her day out better. I didn’t want her frustrations that she let go on our walk last night to creep into her day today. But truthfully, it was just as much for her as it was for me. It reminded me that it made a difference in my attitude too.
Quickly this morning I made a Weekly Gratitude Journal that we are going to start using. If you want to download it and use it yourself, it’s available below.
Have you ever tried a Gratitude practice? If you have, did you like it? If you haven’t, would you consider it? Involve your kids, it’s never too early or late to help them add positive tools to their life or your family.
Has anyone ever said that to you? Has anyone ever said those 2 words, “You’ve changed”, to you? How did it make you feel?
Personally, I have been told that in life. When it was said to me, I took it as a negative. I immediately got defensive and quickly said, “There is no way, I am the same person I’ve always been”. Recently I was listening to a podcast called ‘What’s on your plate?’, specifically an episode called ‘Codependency, Why We Need to Stop Trying to Fix People, & Falling In Love with Yourself‘. I’ve linked it here if you’d like to listen for yourself. Amongst the many things they covered on that episode, they talked about having someone tell you that you’ve changed. Their perspective made me think hard.
When someone tells you that ‘you’ve changed’, it’s a compliment. Change means growth. Isn’t the whole goal of a human being to evolve into a better one? Shouldn’t you want to grow and be different than you were before?
This was eye opening to me. Obviously the soundtrack I was playing in my head around the idea of change was a negative one. This was a game changer. A new way at looking at something that I only perceived as a negative thing.
The past 2 years have been full of change in the world and in each of our lives. Change is scary; partially because it’s the fear of the unknown or giving up whatever control we think we have. Change is necessary; because without it we just stay the same and so do our circumstances.
We don’t evolve or become who we were meant to be without change.
Has anyone ever told you that you changed? How’d that make you feel?
This month, I had the opportunity to attend & be a part of a leadership summit. I was able to catch up with old acquaintances, some of whom I looked to as my career was only just beginning. As we ate lunch together on the first day, one of them asked me “So what have you been up to?”. I got caught off guard, I froze and felt like a fish out of water. Why was I caught off guard by this question? In essence, it was a different way to ask someone how they are, without getting the same ole canned answer back. It was suppose to be an easy question.
My quick answer back was “Oh, just being a Mom’.
That answer has haunted me since it came out of my mouth. Actually, at the time if I could have pulled the words back as they were coming out, I probably would have. I quickly followed up my answer with all the things I have been working on professionally. Freelance jobs I’ve taken on in my ‘spare time’.
I’ve given quite a bit of thought as to why my answer felt like nails on a chalkboard to me and why I reacted like I did with a list of freelance work to validate myself. And here’s what I have come up with so far.
Truthfully, it doesn’t feel like enough. I still don’t feel comfortable being a ‘stay-at-home’ mom. Whatever that actually means. I have imposter syndrome, pretty bad.
Being a Mom is the hardest and most challenging job I’ve ever had in my entire life, yet I immediately felt the need to follow it up with professional jobs I’ve been working on. My answer didn’t seem to do the job justice. It’s almost like I diminished it.
But why? Why did I diminish the hardest job I’ve ever accepted in my life? Why does ‘just being a Mom’ seem so dang easy or not feel like enough? Is this my own feelings or has this been long engrained into my thoughts?
I don’t have answers to those questions.
All I know is that I didn’t choose this life, it chose me. I’m trying to just go with it. And it’s been a great lesson.