Today is a long overdue post that has been in the works for a month or so. I started it, got interrupted, lost my train of thought, shut it off, tried again, felt uninspired, turned it off, tried yet again, fought Eli over the computer, shut it off, tried to keep chubby baby hands off of the computer, failed to keep chubby baby hands off of the computer, shut it off, and well, you get the idea.
I am determined though dangit and my in-laws are here watching my kids giving me a rare moment to myself so here it goes!
It's a keepin' it real kind of post today, well this week I guess because I'm going to break up each "humbling moment" for the sake of your time and boredom. In a time where everyone is showing you their amazing highlight reel I'm rolling out the ugly and honest that will hopefully turn into encouragement for all of you--mom or not--by the end of this post. If not, then at least maybe the ugly and honest will help you feel like you're more put together than me. You're welcome for the boost of confidence.
Over the last few months, I have had many a moment where my attempt to teach my son a lesson in kindness, sharing, selflessness, self control, gentleness, patience, being slow to anger to name a few turns into a lesson for myself.
Here's today's example of that: It's Up to Me if Something Will be Fun or Not
Back in late January/early February, when we had our first big snow I got really excited to get the kids bundled up so we could take Eli out to play. Luis had just left for preseason so I was doing the single mom thing and to say we were anxious to get out of the house is an understatement. Cold weather + husband being gone + two kids = major stir craziness!
I don't know if you've ever tried to get two kids and yourself ready in snow gear and out of the door but it's a feat, let me tell you. My babies wore layer upon puffy layer and the waddle it produced on Eli had me laughing for days.
What didn't have me laughing was actually getting out to play in the snow. While the end result is an adorable and warm child, the process getting there is a major undertaking. It felt like I had spent an hour trying to get everything ready. I finally had both kids dressed and was trying to pull on my snow boots and tie them with Olivia strapped to my chest and she was screaming and Eli was pulling off the mittens I had just spent 5 minutes putting on him, making sure his thumb was in the thumb hole and they were tucked well under his sleeve so that no snow would touch his snow white skin. I was losing my patience with both of them which culminated in me yelling "This is supposed to be fun; you guys aren't making it fun!!"
They're not making this fun? They weren't really the problem actually. Olivia was screaming because she was tired and it was my fault she wasn't sleeping yet. Eli was happy until the moment of me yelling which made me realize that I was the one not making it fun. In my desire to have my kids experience the joys of playing in the snow I was actually ruining the whole thing for them by setting expectations and getting disappointed when those expectations weren't met. I allowed my frustration over mittens and tying boots with a baby on my chest and annoyance that Olivia wouldn't just go to sleep steal the joy of the moment. And why really?? We had no schedule to stick to and no one waiting on us and Lord knows the snow wasn't going anywhere!
I needed to enjoy all of the aspects that come with playing in the snow--including the getting ready process--and I needed to not become angry when things weren't moving as quickly or as smoothly as I wanted.
If I want my kids to learn to be joyful in all circumstances I need to be joyful in all circumstances. If I want my kids to learn to be slow to anger than I need to be slow to anger myself. And if I want my kids to have fun doing something, I need to have fun myself!
Isn't that true for all of us in some way or another? Whether you're a parent or a friend or a spouse or a co-worker or a boss, there is something to be learned from this. Our attitudes our POWERFUL. We have the ability to affect people and they're experiences in a major way simply by how we approach a situation. While we can't control other people's happiness or level of fun, we can influence them because attitudes are contagious.
Whatever your experiences and whoever you come in contact with today may your attitude be one that people want to catch. Maybe you don't need the reminder, in which case, you're awesome, keep up the good work. I want to be more like you! For the rest of us though, let's work to find at least one moment that we can choose to influence the people around us by finding the joy in all circumstances, even if that circumstance isn't what we hoped or expected. How's that for a midweek goal??