Thursday, September 15, 2016

Learning to Never Say “I Just Can’t Wait Until…”

Being a mother is hard work. I have four children (and three of them are young!) and this season is the hardest season I have ever lived. There is no sleeping in. I can barely balance the house work, the children’s schooling, my job, being an attentive wife, and getting “me time.” There is no doubt: being a mother is not for the faint of heart! I have suffered from anxiety issues and there were times when my mothering ability was only barely a passable grade. I have made efforts, since having my third child, to slow down and enjoy my life. Now with four children and my oldest being nine already I am making heartier efforts to slow down. The best way for me to achieve peace of mind was to focus it on the positives in life.

Step one for me was to stop with the negativity. I stopped the negative self talk. I was not less of a person because there was clean laundry unfolded on the couch. I was not a bad mom because the kids were eating hot dogs for lunch for a week. I was not a bad wife because I asked my husband to vacuum the living room after he got home from a long day at work. I was not a bad worker because I had to call a day off because I was sick. These things are all a part of my life, but they did not define me. I stopped putting myself down and started to build myself up. (more on that in a minute) Step two for me was to lower expectations. I knew I couldn’t do it all. I had to ask my husband for help around the house, and I made sure that most of the house cleaning would happen on the weekends, so that the week we could be on coast-mode and maintain the house close to where we left it on the weekend.

Step three for me was to focus on my life now and enjoy it. With all the stress in our lives, it is so easy to just want to be in the next stage. I used to always say “I can’t wait until….” Fill in the blank. I can’t wait until the vacation, the kids are potty trained, I am no longer pregnant, we win a million dollars. It never ends! If you are constantly waiting for the next thing to happen, you are never living in the present. That ended with me when I decided to focus on what my favorite things in my life right now.

Tigerlilies. I love the summer. I love tigerlilies. They are the ultimate sun lover! I love lazy summer days when the kids are playing in the baby pool or the water hose. It is in these moments that I can see them make memories with each other that will last their lives. Summer days are the best!

Ballet class. Taking my son and daughter to ballet class is usually my husband’s job; but, when they come home and tell me about dance class, I make an effort to give them my full attention. Kaelyn's dance class is the highlight of her week, so I want to give her all of me when she talks to me about it. She dances for me and shows me her moves. I get to see this little girl light up and grow in her self-confidence. She teaches me so much in her actions.

Music. I teach music; but, even more so, I live music. If I am ever having a rough day I can put some music on and it will change my entire outlook on life. What is even better is that I can now share this with my children. We listen to the music together and we can dance, create art, discuss, sing, or otherwise engage in meaningful activities that focus on each other. We can connect without talking.

Crafting. My favorite time to give myself is when I craft. Whether I am cross-stitching, crocheting, drawing, coloring, painting, etc., I am giving myself time to reconnect to the person I truly am. I am a creative person in need of an outlet. When I forget to channel that creativity, I get lost and my anxiety gets worse. It is important to maintain myself by keeping my hands busy.

Reading. I love to read and share in this by reading books aloud to my children. I will never say no to a read aloud day. We like to pack our bags and spend an entire afternoon at the library some days. We come home with 15 books and we read through them together in just a day or two. I love filling their heads with stories! My older son is a sponge and remembers everything he reads. I enjoy talking to him about the books he reads and having meaningful conversations. He is growing so fast and I just want to slow it down a moment. I urge you to make a list of your favorite things. Take time to focus on one of them a day. Enjoy the season your life is in right now. Slow down, breathe, and live for today.

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