A few years ago my husband was full of Halloween ideas. He wanted to carve pumpkins and even get dry ice and a cauldron. My kids were 1 and 3 at the time. Really? I asked him. Is that really necessary? The kids were too little to use a knife for carving so they'd have to watch quietly while Daddy carved and they didn't understand what Halloween even was. Plus, I knew I'd be left the one cleaning up the giant mess they made. That was the real problem. I was just so tired. Tired of cleaning, tired of the whining, tired of everything. I just wanted to make life easier. What I didn't understand at the time is that I was making life really, really boring for my husband and everyone around me.
Life went on like this for a long time. I would usually give in and just grudgingly clean up the mess until my legs ached at the end of the night and I would think how much easier life would be if we would just trying to do all this special stuff. Of course, I did do lots of fun things with the kids. I took them to the zoo, to the park, to the library, but that was the thing. I could handle the daily stuff. I just couldn't handle anything extra, like Holidays or Vacations.
Until my trip to Charleston a few years ago. My parents and I planned to visit my brother and I was taking only Munchkin Girl. As usual, I agreed to go, but my heart wasn't in it. I just wanted to stay home and do our daily life, which was manageable to me. I didn't want to get us packed, deal with airport travel, and get everything ready for the babysitter while I was gone. I wasn't looking forward to sleeping the same room as my daughter, I knew it would upset our daily routine and I was afraid she would get spoiled by having me in her room.
And then the most amazing thing happened. I had a great time. I truly enjoyed every minute with my little daughter I loved waking up and seeing her sweet smile first thing in the morning. I loved snuggling up with her and watching Sleeping Beauty on our little twin bed. And then it hit me. It's okay if she gets spoiled every once in awhile. These are the memories of her childhood. These are the moments she will remember as she gets older. And on top of that, it made me feel wonderful to give her these memories and I realized how much I was missing by being afraid. I was afraid of so much. Afraid of having to clean up a mess, afraid of spoiling someone, afraid of cavities, afraid of a hassle. That's the bottom line. I was living my life in a perpetual state of trying to avoid a hassle.
When I got home from that trip, I slowly began to change. It wasn't overnight that I became a totally fun Mom, always searching for memories. But slowly and surely, I changed my attitude. In fact, it was such a gradual change that it took me a long time to write about it and even put into words what happened. I started living, not just surviving. People say life is too short to sweat the small stuff. I don't think that's quite right. I think it's too long. Life is way too long to just survive. Life is a journey and if you look at it like that, it stops being a hassle. Now I can't wait for our trip to Colorado this summer. I'm not even dreading the 12 hour car ride or the hassle of getting beds set up in a strange place. Now I drink more water and take my vitamins so I can have the energy I need to be thrilled about life, and about our journey.
Not all of the time. Sometimes I still yell and feel tired and my house is a mess. But then I wake up the next day and drink a big glass of water and life goes on so that we can minimize life's hassles and celebrate the sunsets.
For more ideas on how to live more and stop just surviving, please check out my book, The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble, and Motivated to Learn!
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